Residents in the Independence, Lone Pine and Olancha/Cartago area have been noticing smoke and ash for a few days now. The reason is, according to a press release today from the PIO Officer, Debra Schweizer, for the Inyo National Forest Service is that there is a fire to the west of these communities that is growing and is now encroaching into Inyo County.
Two wildfires burning in Tulare County have merged together forming the new SQF Complex Fire, which has grown to 18,180 acres overnight with 0% containment.
The SQF Complex remains active and has consumed acres
Castle Fire: Yesterday, saw moderate fire behavior on the SQF Complex which is now combined total of 18,180 acres and remains at 0% containment, the Castle Fire has burned 17,998 acres.
A full engagement to suppress, contain and confine the fire is being used with firefighters and equipment working on the ground, and aircraft support. Hand crews and bulldozers are constructing a primary line from Forks of the Kern Trailhead to Summit Trailhead, to stop the fire from advancing to the south and southwest.
Crews were able to make good progress due to yesterday’s fire behavior with this operation. A strategy used when limited resources are available and designed to protect structures and isolated areas of values at risk adjacent to the fire perimeter.
Shotgun Fire: The Shotgun Fire, located where Pistol Creek and Shotgun Creek converge in the Golden Trout Wilderness, went down in acres burned to 182 acres after an afternoon reconnaissance flight providing more accurate mapping, with 0%
containment. The Shotgun Fire has been monitored by air and is burning in rough rocky terrain.
Current Situation: The Sequoia National Forest has issued Order No. 0513-20-31 SQF Complex Fire Area Road and Trails Closure, for the protection of the public and firefighters suppressing the fire. The cabins in Trout Meadow and Soda Flat are still intact but, remain threatened. The community of Ponderosa and Cedar Slope are still under an evacuation advisory, this advisory is a precautionary measure to homeowners to be prepared in the event an evacuation is ordered.
Weather: Unstable weather conditions are predicted for today, with higher humidity levels. The potential for thunderstorms with
lightning in the afternoon is likely and is forecast to continue over the next 72hrs, accompanied by hot temperatures.
Smoke Impact: Smoke and widespread air quality impacts from the California wildfires remain the primary weather concern.
Exposure to smoke can be reduced by following a few simple rules. Close windows, doors, and outside vents when it is smoky to prevent accumulations indoors. In you have an air conditioner, run it. 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. Visitors to the Forest will continue to see smoke, active fire, and firefighters during the next few weeks. Please drive slowly and carefully. For information about air quality, smoke conditions, and health effects, visit https://wildlandfiresmoke.net/outlooks/SouthernSierraSequoia, www.valleyair.org or visit www.airnow.gov.
Special notes: Fire managers will employ tactics that safely engage fire while prioritizing firefighter and public safety and protecting values at risk. Life safety will always remain the number one priority. COVID-19 mitigations are being taken to limit exposure risks to firefighters and the public, per CDC guidelines.