Lines holding around George Fire in Sequoia National Forest
As helicopters dropped water on hot spots, some crews that battled the George Fire in the Giant Sequoia National Monument in Sequoia National Forest were released on Wednesday.
The cold and damp weather that arrived Monday greatly assisted firefighters who now appear to have a handle on the blaze that at one time threatened the Freeman Sequoia Grove that contains the George Bush Sequoia Tree.
The fired burned 1,800 acres, but only about 100 acres since Monday. It is 55 percent contained and officials said it could be fully contained by Sunday.
Fire engineer Anthony Romero said some personnel were released Wednesday and more will be sent to other fires as the George Fire becomes fully contained.
The fire broke out about 4 p.m. June 1 and quickly grew to more than 1,500 acres. While the cold front that moved in Monday dropped temperatures into the 30s, low elevation clouds helped to douse the flames.
“It’s looking good,” said Romero, agreeing the weather was a big help. He said had the 100 degree weather continued, it might be different.
He said if it was later in the summer with drier conditions and warmer temperatures, “you bet, we’d probably be here a little longer.”
He said the only structures threatened were outbuildings at Pyles Boys Camp near the Needles. No boys are at the camp and staff was not evacuated.
“There is no threat now,” said Romero.
Fire crews Wednesday continued to construct a fire line on the eastern side of the fire and hold that line.
Crews also started assessing the fire for any forest restoration that will be needed.
Officials also cautioned that visitors to Sequoia National Forest and mountain residents may be impacted by smoke. Smoke impacts will be greater in the morning and evening hours, said forest officials.
They urged people to follow simple guidelines to reduce their exposure on smoky days:
- Stay indoors as much as possible, especially seniors and children.
- Close windows, doors, and outside vents when it is smoky to prevent accumulations indoors.
- Drink lots of water, eat a balanced diet, and get adequate rest. A healthy immune system is the best protection against the effects of smoke.
- Don’t bother wearing paper masks which are designed to trap large dust particles. These masks generally will not protect your lungs from wildland fire smoke.
The cause of the blaze is still under investigation.