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Rough Fire nears 56,000 Acres, Smoke Still Impacts Mountain Area

SIERRA NATIONAL FOREST – The Rough Fire has now grown to 55,989 acres with 25 percent containment, and continues to blanket the Central Sierra with smoke, especially in the morning hours.

With slight changes in weather patterns, expect to see heavy concentrations of smoke in the western foothills and areas within the Kings River Canyon until mid-afternoon. This evening, smoke will once again settle into the Kings River Valley, bringing smoke into the western foothills and the San Joaquin Valley overnight.

Difficult Terrain on Rough Fire 8-27-15 - photo SNFApproximately 320 citizens attended the community meeting last night at the Dunlap School regarding the Rough Fire, hosted by California Interagency Incident Management Team 3.

Incident Commander Mark von Tillow discussed the current fire situation and the operational plan, and there were remarks by representatives of local fire and law enforcement authorities, Sierra and Sequoia National Forests, Giant Sequoia National Monument and Sequoia Kings Canyon National Parks.

The fire remained active overnight along the fire fronts, especially in the canyon areas. Additional resources are being assigned to the night shift by reallocating day
operation crews in an effort to combat these conditions.

There are currently 2,051 personnel assigned to the incident, including 36 crews, 127 engines and 12 helicopters.

With the increased number of emergency equipment in the Squaw Valley Area combined with normal visitor travel, it is extremely important for everyone to have a heightened level of awareness behind the wheel, and be extremely careful while driving.

Boole Tree - photo SNFFire crews are coordinating closely with agency resource advisors to protect natural and cultural resources at risk in Converse Basin. Approximately 12,000 feet of hose has been placed to protect the Boole Tree, Chicago Stump and sensitive wildlife habitats in that area.

Relics of both prehistoric and historic use remain in the grove, and all these items are protected by law and must remain in the woods. The oldest verified sequoia stump is in Converse Basin Grove and is just over 3,200 years old.

A Fire Behavior Assessment Team has installed analyzing equipment, which are unique fire modules that measure pre-fire fuels/vegetation, active fire behavior (with sensors in the fire itself), and post-fire fuels/vegetation conditions. This equipment is used during both wildfires and prescribed fires.

PG&E and fire officials are evaluating the Balch Camp area for the possible return of the employees and families.

Incident Commander David Cooper met with Sierra National Forest employees at the High Sierra Ranger District Office and provided current information regarding suppression efforts for the North Zone. PG&E employees at the Wishon power facility were provided a fire update, including current efforts to protect their infrastructure and residences.

The North Zone is utilizing three wildland fire modules consisting of 10 persons each. These specialized modules are designed for remote work and those assigned to the modules will hike in to the John Muir Wilderness. Their priority is to stem the spread of the fire to the east using existing trails and natural barriers within the Congressionally designated

Closures & Advisories:

  • Sierra National Forest issued a closure order for the Rough Fire area.
  • The Hume Lake Ranger District, Jenny Lakes Wilderness and Monarch Wilderness, including Forest Road 12S01, 12S01E, and 12S19 in the Sequoia Highlands area of the Sequoia National Forest remain closed.
  • McKinley Grove Rd. (11S40) is closed at Wishon Dam, including the 11S07.
  • 10S24 is closed from the intersection of 11S91 to where it meets 11S40 at Buck Meadow.
  • 11S12 Rd. (Salt Flat Rd.) is closed at McKinley Grove Rd.
  • Trimmer Springs Road at Kirch Flat.

All campgrounds in Kings Canyon National Park are now closed until further notice.

The Kings Canyon Visitor Center will be open with modified hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Parts of the Grant Grove and Wilsonia areas of Kings Canyon National Park are now open. The General Grant Tree, Panoramic Point, John Muir Lodge, Grant Grove Cabins, Visitor Center, park trails, restaurant, market and gift shop are now open to residents and visitors.

The lightning-caused Rough Fire started on July 31, and is burning in the Kings River Drainage, 5 miles North of Hume Lake and 2.5 miles southwest of Spanish Mountain.

The fire is being managed on the Sierra National Forest, Sequoia National Forest, and Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks.

Fire Restrictions: are in place for the Sierra National Forest. Campfires are only allowed in designated developed recreation sites. No campfires are allowed within the Sequoia National Monument.

Rough Fire progression map 8-27-15 (4)Rough Fire progression map 8-27-15 (1)

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