SIERRA NATIONAL FOREST – New evacuations and warnings for the Rough Fire were issued at 6 a.m. this morning, as the fire continues to threaten homes and communities near Hume Lake, Calif., and heavy smoke has become a daily challenge across central California.
The Rough Fire has now grown to 119,069 acres with 29 percent containment.
Heavy concentrations of smoke are expected near the fire today, and in the foothills to the west. Smoke will be slow to lift and limited ventilation is forecast for today with continued increased impacts expected in the San Joaquin Valley west, southwest, and north of fire. Residual smoke that has not cleared the area will add to impacts from new smoke being produced. Unhealthy to Hazardous conditions are expected in communities near the fire. Improving conditions are forecast for the Owens Valley.
Firefighters were successful yesterday in conducting burnout operations along Highway 180 through Cherry Gap into the northern section of Grants Grove. Containment lines reached 400 to 500 feet wide in some places.
Burnout operations will continue from the northwest portion of Grants Grove west towards McKenzie Ridge. These actions will help reduce the risk of fire spread towards Highway 180 to the south.
Crews are also constructing containment lines north of Grants Grove continuing west and tying into existing lines at McKenzie Ridge.
Air resources will continue to drop retardant on the western edge of Verplank Ridge and provide support where needed. Smoke may limit air support.
Fire spread will continue west down Kings River and south/southwest up the Mill Creek drainage towards Sampson Flats. Dry fuels, beetle killed trees, high temperatures, and low relative humidity are contributing to active fire behavior. These conditions exist in steep inaccessible terrain with numerous snags that are making suppression efforts challenging while causing safety concerns for firefighters.
Fire behavior has moderated in the southeast portion of the fire, allowing available resources to be reassigned to more active areas on the fire.
North Zone fire crews are reopening and adding contingency lines north of the Kings River. A hand crew opened up a contingency line just north of Kirch Flat along the 12S002 Road. A dozer crew is starting to build contingency line on a ridge just south of Fence Meadow lookout that will connect with 11S002A Road below Balch Camp. A third contingency line is being scouted between Fence Meadow lookout and Indian Rock.
The North Zone Incident Commander and Sierra National Forest officials are considering additional forest closure orders on the west side of the fire.
A night shift will be added tonight for fire crews working along the Kings River. Two engine strike teams (5 engines each) and a 40-person hand crew are some of the resources being added to this division.
Click the following link to USTREAM for the public meeting held on Wednesday, Sept. 9. http://www.ustream.tv/channel/tn5rvyzr9cw. Fire officials say they are working on answering the questions that were asked via the chat during the live streaming of the meeting Wednesday night, and will get them posted as soon as they have all of the answers.
A video on the Rocky Mountain Type1 IMT’s Facebook page shows Todd Pechota, Incident Commander, talking to the firefighter on the Rough Fire at morning briefing on Sept. 7. The first objective that he is talking about is firefighter and public safety.
The lightning-caused Rough Fire was reported on July 31.
For a map of the current evacuations, click here.