Containment of the Sequoia Complex consisting of the Castle Fire and the Shotgun Fire in the Golden Trout Wilderness is now up to 33 percent. That's an increase of 15 percent in one day.
The fires have burned 141,600 acres as of Tuesday morning. The Castle Fire has burned 140,766 acres and the Shotgun Fire has burned 834 acres.
As of Tuesday morning there have been 184 structures destroyed by the fires. There are 3,183 structures that remained threatened by the fires.
There have been 3,491 people evacuated due to the fires. As of Tuesday morning cost to battle the fires was $44.1 million.
There have been 15 injuries as a result of battling the fires. There are 19 hand crews, 36 water-tenders, 34 dozers, nine helicopters, 96 engines and 1,422 personnel battling the fires.
The Northern Rockies Incident Management Team 1 transferred command of the East Castle Zone and Shotgun Fire to California Team 2 at 7 a.m. Tuesday. Mike Minton is the incident commander.
“The incoming incident commander, Mike Minton, is familiar with the Sequoia National Forest, and knows some of the local agency administrators,” said Mike Goicoechea, U.S. Forest Service Northern Region Type-1 incident commander. “I am confident that this transfer will in no way have a negative effect on the ground firefighting efforts. I have full confidence that the new team will continue to protect communities and add additional containment lines to the fire.”
The Sequoia Complex is under unified command between the U.S. Forest Service, Sequoia National Park, Northern Rockies Incident Management Team 1, and CAL FIRE Team 6. CAL FIRE Team 6 is in command of the West Castle Zone.
As far as the Castle Fire for more than a week all efforts of firefighters have been focused on structure protection. On Monday, crews were able to focus efforts on containment and line construction near the fire’s perimeter.
On Tuesday work continued near Ponderosa with the construction and improvement of line to buffer the community from threat of a fire. Efforts to protect Camp Nelson and the Tule Indian Reservation continued as well.
“Indirect line construction will continue south of Pierpoint towards a rocky outcrop that will serve as anchor,” the forest service stated. “In Camp Nelson, firefighters will hotspot to eliminate threats from latent heat sources. Around the Tule Indian Reservation, crews will look to widen and improve the line along the ridge.
“Where the fire front has already passed, crews will continue their patrol of Alpine Village, Sequoia Crest, Cedar Slope, and points in-between as residual heat sources remain a threat.”
On the northeast point, the fire continues backing to the west and is now one mile from Sequoia National Park.
“Air resources have played an integral part of daily firefighting operations on the Sequoia Complex,” the forest service stated.
Since September 3 there have been 1,670 hours of flying time as of Tuesday morning battling the fire. During that time, 1.4 million gallons of water and 1.5 million gallons of retardant have been dropped on the fire. Eighty-eight thousand pounds of cargo has also been hauled to support fire operations.
An interactive map showing damaged structures is now available at https://tularecounty.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=f452093b7c6c439e8844093804c0c347
Tulare County Health and Human Services has set up a hotline for affected citizens at (559) 802-9790.
The Red Cross has an evacuation center at Porterville College. For more information call the Red Cross at 1-800-RED-CROSS or https://tinyurl.com/yafetgkj
Road closures due to the SQF Complex may be found at http://www.arcgis.com/home/webmap/viewer.html?url=https://services2.arcgis.com/bYBANhmQGwSSLC0l/ArcGIS/rest/services/SQF_Road_Closures_Public_View/FeatureServer&source=sd
The Temporary Flight Restriction may be found at https://tfr.faa.gov/save_pages/detail_0_6785.html Drones over the fire area are prohibited.
Priorities of protection include: Communities with evacuation orders and warnings, Casa Vieja, Blackrock Ranger Station, Rogers Camp, Beach Meadows, Monache Meadows, structures along the Lloyd Meadows Road, Freeman Grove, the President George H.W. Bush Tree, Camp Whitsett, archeological values, Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog and Little Kern Golden Trout Critical Habitats, Pacific Fisher habitats, OSA, Beach, and Beck Meadows, trailheads and facilities.
Agencies cooperating on the fire are:Tulare County Fire Department, Tulare County Sheriff’s Department, California Highway Patrol, Tule River Tribe, California Rehabilitation Center Fire Department, California Conservation Corps, California Office of Emergency Services, and Bureau of Land Management.