The Windy Fire continues to grow and continues to threaten valued Sequoia groves and historic sites.
As of Wednesday morning the fire burning on the Tule River Indian Reservation and into the Sequoia National Forest had burned 2,202 acres. As of Tuesday night the fire burning in steep, inaccessible terrain was still at zero percent contained.
There were 526 personnel working on the fire as of Wednesday morning. Sequoia National Forest estimated containment of the fire to be reached by September 30. The fire was among eight that was started by lightning in the Sequoia National Forest during last Thursday's storm.
Despite the difficult terrain and limited resources the strategy is full suppression of the fire rather than just letting it burn. Officials have stated it will take several days before a preliminary assessment can be done on what effect the fire could have on Sequoia groves.
But on Wednesday morning the forest servie stated the fire will threaten the South Peyrone Sequoia Grove. The forest service stated the fire will continue to spread north into Windy Creek and up the Crawford drainage, east through the Peyrone Grove and to the Summit Trail at Onion Meadow Peak and toward Windy Gap and south to Cedar Creek and toward Mule Peak Lookout.
On Wednesday morning the forest service also stated Mule Peak Lookout has a high likelihood of being impacted in the next 36 hours. Firefighting personnel have already taken measures to protect Mule Peak Lookout.
“As the incident continues to grow due to dry fuels and lack of resources more communities are being threatened by the fire spread,” the forest service stated.
The fire is burning six miles south of Camp Nelson. The forest service stated communities that could be impacted include Camp Nelson, Ponderosa to the northeast and Johnsondale to the southeast. Residents in those communities and on the Tule River Reservation have been encouraged to monitor the progress of the fire.
The forest service also stated two high value Giant Sequoia Groves, Peyrone Grove and South Peyrone Grove are being impacted by the fire along with numerous other groves, including Red Hill Grove, Long Meadow Grove, Parker Peak Grove, North Cold Springs Grove and the Trail of 100 Giants, which the forest service stated all remained threatened.
The forest service added major historical sites that are threatened include the scatted logging camps and mill sites and the Redwood Corral and associated structures.
A closure of the Sequoia National Forest is in effect through Friday, September 17. With the Windy Fire burning it's likely the closure of the forest will continue after September 17.
This fire also ignited by lightning during last Thursday's storm had reached 7,039 acres by Wednesday morning. That fire was also at zero percent containment.
The strategy for that fire is also full suppression. That fire is threatening Sequoias in the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.
Sequoia Park has been closed while Kings Canyon Park remains open.All Sequoia National Park employees have been evacuated.
The complex is comprised of the Paradise and Colony Fires. The Paradies Fire has grown to 5,914 acres and the Colony Fire is at 1,125 acres.
A mandatory evacuation order is in place for Three Rivers. The area of Three Rivers under mandatory evacuation is the Mineral King Road in its entirety, areas along Sierra King Drive, Crest Lane, Hammond Drive, and Oak Grove Drive, and areas along Highway 198 from the intersection with Mineral King Road to the Sequoia National Park entrance station. The remainder of Three Rivers is under evacuation warning.
Air quality is seriously affected in Three Rivers where particulate matter readings have been in the “hazardous” range.