SIERRA NATIONAL FOREST – The French Fire grew overnight to 7,024 acres and crews have achieved 10% containment of the blaze, burning on the Bass lake Ranger District near Rock Creek Campground along Forest Service Road 4S81.
There are currently 1,074 personnel assigned to the incident, along with air resources that include a DC10 retardant plane (VLAT).
Crews are planning a burning operation on the southern end of the fire today to reinforce the hand lines and dozer lines, which were constructed from the San Joaquin River up to Forest Road 4S81.
Light rain yesterday morning and continuous cloud cover suppressed fire activity most of the morning. Fire activity increased in the Rock Creek drainage on the north end of the fire as fuels began to dry out.
A combination of hand lines and dozer lines were constructed from the San Joaquin River up to Forest Road 4S81 on the south end of the fire. This anchor point will support the operations of structure defense in the Hogue Ranch and Kinsman Flat area, which is currently the highest priority of the French Fire.
Fire crews made good progress yesterday, constructing direct fire-lines from Forest Road 4S81 to the west and turned the corner heading north to approximately 2 miles north of Forest Road 7S07.
Heavy smoke continues to provide challenges for air resources. Aircraft were able to fly yesterday after the inversion lifted mid-afternoon.
The French Fire continues to produce large amounts of smoke, which has impacted local communities. Smoke is typically greater in the morning and evening hours. Plan outdoor activities for times and places with low smoke levels. Up-slope breezes occur during the day, which will often take smoke into higher elevations. In the evening, these winds change direction and bring smoke down slope to lower elevations. For more information about smoke impacts, please visit the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Districts website at: http://www.valleyair.org/wildfires.htm
Several Forest Service and private campgrounds have been evacuated for public safety concerns. Several summer homes in the Hogue Apple Ranch and Wagner’s Resort were also evacuated. The impacted residences were able to make arrangements to stay elsewhere and there was not a need to open any shelters. Structure defense in the Hogue Ranch and Kinsman Flat area will continue to be the primary objective.
A Forest Service Area Road and Trail Closure, Forest Order # 15-14-07, has been issued for the French Fire area. More information about the Forest Closure can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/o44cvyu. Road closures are noted in the map below.
Temperatures are expected to be above normal throughout the week. Erratic winds associated with the outgoing monsoonal moisture are a safety concern.
The cause of the fire, which was reported just before 6 a.m. on Monday, July 28, is under investigation. One injury has been reported; a sprained ankle.
(Click map to enlarge. Click here for full area map.)