Castle Fire, renamed the SQF Complex grows to 14,750 acres
Castle Fire: The Castle Fire burning on the Western Divide Ranger District, northeast of the mountain community of Ponderosa, has grown to approximately 14,750 acres with 0% containment. Today, the Castle Fire and Shotgun Fire will become the Sequoia Complex.
This is an ongoing incident and visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7048/ for full information.
These lighting caused fires started after a series of strong thunderstorms moved through the area, August 19, 2020. The fire continues to move further into the Golden Trout Wilderness on the Sequoia National Forest and is advancing towards the Inyo National Forest.
A full suppression to contain and confine operation is in place with firefighters working on the ground and supported by aircraft. A point protection strategy has been put in place to stop the fire from advancing into the Freeman Grove of Giant Sequoia’s and the community of Ponderosa.
Shotgun Fire: The Shotgun Fire, located where Pistol Creek and Shotgun Creek converge in the Golden Trout Wilderness, has grown to approximately 250 acres with 0% containment. At this time the Shotgun Fire is being monitored by air and is burning in rough rocky terrain.
Current Situation: The cabins in the Trout Meadow area remain threatened. The community of Ponderosa and Cedar Slope was notified by the Tulare County Sheriffs office of an evacuation advisory. There remains a life-threatening and these advisory precautions were delivered to homeowners in preparation if the need were to arise. Monday morning, 12 hikers were safely evacuated from the fire zone after being spotted by a passing helicopter, with two more individuals still at Little Kern Lake in the wilderness. Fire may move towards the area, so efforts are underway to locate, notify and evacuate those hikers. Little Kern Lake is still north of the fire; efforts are precautionary.
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. Additional lightning and thunderstorms are predicted this week, and in response, the Forest is using a combination of fire lookouts, patrols, and aerial detection to search for new fire starts. Visitors are urged to be vigilant about wildfire prevention as hot and dry weather conditions remain throughout the week. Visitors to the Forest will continue to see smoke, active fire, and firefighters during the next few days. Please drive slowly and carefully. For information about air quality, smoke conditions, and health effects, visit www.valleyair.org or visit www.airnow.gov.
Community meeting: Tuesday August 25, at 6 pm, Forest Service and CAIIMT – 12 will host a Virtual Community Meeting to provide updated information on the Sequoia Complex. The meeting will be live-streamed on the Sequoia National Forest Facebook and Tulare County Fire Department Facebook pages. Please send your questions in advance and during the meeting to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will try to answer all the questions during the event or by email if we run out of time.
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.
For More Information:
Fire Info Line: 661-432-2230
Hours of Operation: 7a.m.-9p.m.