SIERRA NATIONAL FOREST – The Rough Fire is now estimated at 141,491 acres, up only slightly from yesterday’s estimate of 141,201 acres. Containment remains at 68 percent.
There have been 4 structures lost in the fire, and 7 firefighters have been injured. Details of those injuries are not available.
Firefighter fatigue is continually being monitored due to the lengthy effects of an active fire season, as they face the dangers of heavy materials and snags falling and rolling in the burn area.
With a collaborative effort between Incident Management Teams and firefighters, the threat to the State Responsibility Area has been mitigated, say fire officials.
Hotter and drier conditions have resulted in increased fire activity, as interior islands continue to be consumed by fire, burning through the surface litter at moderate rates of spread. Single tree torching in and around the unburned islands is occurring well interior from control lines. Active fire behavior being held in check by aerial suppression.
Accompanying a high-pressure system is a normal weak inversion which may hold smoke within lower drainages surrounding the fire. Smoke will be visible over the fire area in the next few days, especially along the western perimeter where strategic firing operations are planned and in Kings Canyon as smoke settles into the valley each evening.
A Pacific high pressure system will remain over the region throughout the weekend resulting in warmer and drier conditions. The fire is likely to become more active, especially in unburned or lightly burned areas within perimeter fire lines.
As road closures are lifted and roads opened, the public is reminded to be cautious of fire equipment still working in the area.
Hazard trees and snags within the Highway 180 corridor and near the park entrance are continually being assessed.
Sequoia National Park remains open and visitors can still use the Ash Mountain Entrance Station. Vehicles longer than 22 feet (including trailers) are not advised between Potwisha and Giant Forest Museum.
Forest officials have been forced to close the Hume Lake Ranger District. This includes Forest Service managed land from the southeast side of Pine Flat Reservoir to the boundaries of Kings Canyon National Park, and the Eshom area north of Badger. A closure map can be found on the Sequoia National Forest website www.fs.usda.gov/sequoia/ This closure is expected to continue until the Rough Fire has been contained.
There are currently 1,493 personnel assigned to the incident, including 24 crews, 90 engines, 13 helicopters, 13 bulldozers and 25 water tenders.
Breakdown of Acreage by Ownership:
- Kings Canyon National Park: 8,536 acres
- State Lands: 6 acres
- Sequoia National Forest: 80,440 acres
- Private Lands: 999 acres
- Sierra National Forest: 51,510 acres
The Rough Fire is now split into two zones. California Interagency Incident Management Team 4 has command of the South while the South Central Sierra Interagency Incident Management Team 2 has command of the North Zone.
For the past three days cooler temperatures and higher humidity allowed firefighters to prepare containment lines along the western perimeter of the fire on the north end of McKenzie Ridge. Today, if weather conditions allow, hand crews and helicopters will conduct a firing operation to burn out the area between the active fire edge and the containment lines. In other areas of the fire, crews continue to mop up and strengthen containment lines. Warmer and dryer weather over the weekend will aid mop up efforts by exposing hot spots along fire lines, allowing firefighters to focus efforts in those areas. In many of these areas, firefighters are also conducting suppression repair work to restore areas affected by fire suppression efforts.
Crews and engines will be staged though out the area of Balch Camp and Kirch Flat available to respond, if needed, during the burnout operations along White Deer Saddle and McKenzie Ridge.
David Cooper, Incident Commander of the South Central Sierra Interagency Incident Management Team, along with Ray Porter, District Ranger of the High Sierra District, met with members of the Cold Springs Rancheria near Burrough Valley last evening. Chairperson Carol Bill and other tribal members were provided an update of the current fire situation and suppression progress of the Rough Fire.
Other information shared included evacuation notification procedures, defensible space considerations, and how families can prepare in advance of wildfire through Ready-Set-Go.
Reminder: Rifle hunting season for deer and bear begins today. Portions of the Sierra National Forest remain closed to hunting. Please check current closure maps before venturing out and use extra caution on the roads as firefighting equipment and personnel are moving about the area.
UPDATED CLOSURES: The Sequoia National Forest, pursuant to 16 USC 551 and 36 CFR 261.50(a) and (b), implemented a closure within the Rough Fire area on the Hume Lake Ranger District. The purpose of the closure is to provide safety for the public and for firefighters who are engaged in fire suppression activities. The closure will remain in effect until firefighting activities .