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3 fires burning in Nat’l Park, Forest

3 fires burning in Nat’l Park, Forest

The Fish Fire was discovered on August 23rd burning in the Golden Trout Wilderness on the Sequoia National Forest.

The cause of the fire is lightning from the storms on Aug. 18-19. Currently the fire is nearly 2,000 acres and only 7% contained.  An Interagency Incident Management Team out of Northern Arizona has taken over management of the Fish Fire as Monday.  Please call fire information (559) 539-2607 ext. -0- or on the website http://inciweb.org/incident/3701/ for latest fire information.

With the likelihood of the Fish Fire spreading towards the Kern River in the Golden Trout Wilderness, to provide for public safety, Forest officials have decided to enact an area closure for the Fish Fire. A general description of the closure area includes all backcountry trails north of Trout Meadow, west to Lion Meadow, north to the Kern Canyon Ranger Station, east to the Kern River.

Visitors will find a more specific map of trail closures in the Golden Trout Wilderness online at http://inciweb.org/incident/article/3701/20854/. Anyone planning to travel into the Wilderness is asked to contact the Western Divide Ranger District at 559-539-2607 to obtain your permit for overnight stay in areas outside the closure area. This closure is effective immediately and is in effect until further notice.

Only those visitors going into the backcountry are affected by this closure, all front country roads and campgrounds are currently open, however smoke may be dense in the morning hours due to it drifting down into the canyons at night. A reminder, there are no campfires allowed anywhere in Sequoia National Forest or Giant Sequoia National Monument.

Smoke may be visible from the surrounding communities throughout the day and is likely to settle into the valleys overnight and in the morning hours. Information on air quality and measures you can take at home to reduce your exposure to smoke can be found on http://www.valleyair.org/Home.htm for the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District or http://www.gbuapcd.org/ for the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District.

Fire personnel currently assigned to the Fish Fire include two helicopters, three hand crews, one air attack and four air tankers.  Additional resources are on order; however there is a shortage of firefighters and equipment due to the numerous fires throughout the western United States.  Fire resources are dispatched to fires where lives and structures are most threatened.  Firefighter and public safety are the highest priority.

Residents of the Kern River Valley are being affected by smoke from the Fish Fire; smoke typically flows down the Kern River Canyon from fires in the Wilderness.  Smoke concentrations can be avoided by following a few simple rules. Close windows, doors, and outside vents when it is smoky to prevent accumulations indoors. Run your air conditioner, if you have one. Keep the fresh air intake closed and keep the filter clean. Ventilate your home and work place during periods of little smoke. Avoid physical activities while smoke is dense.

The Windy Peak Fire in Kings Canyon National Park was also discovered on Aug.23.This lightning-caused fire is north of the Middle Fork of the Kings River near Simpson Meadow and Windy Peak has grown to an estimated 200 acres. Fire crews are working to hold this fire north of the Kings River. The fire is burning in brush and mixed conifer at 7,000 feet in elevation and has moderate to high potential for growth. There are currently no threats to life or property.

The Chagoopa Fire, near the Chagoopa Plateau in Sequoia National Park, is estimated to be 15 acres. This fire is in the wilderness and there are no threats to life or property. Firefighters are working to hold the fire’s growth along the Kern River. The fire has crossed a segment of the High Sierra Trail. While the trail is not closed, hikers should plan to be escorted through the fire area. These escorts will likely be in the morning or when fire behavior allows.

The parks are attempting to suppress fires because of fire danger, drought conditions, and the need for crews on fires elsewhere. However, the response strategy is limited by the number of firefighters in the parks. Demand for firefighting resources is high because of a number of large fires throughout the state and nation.

The Hotel Creek Fire has been contained at 30 acres.

The Hockett Fire has been contained at 41 acres. The trail leading from the Hockett Meadow Ranger Station to Evelyn Lake and Cahoon Rock is closed for firefighter and public safety.

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