The Sequoia Complex Fire which began in the Golden Trout Wilderness was 75 percent contained as of Thursday morning. The fire has burned 168,973 acres.
“Fire will continue to be managed for full suppression,” fire officials stated. “As containment of the fire increases, you can still expect to see smoke rising from within the fire perimeter.
“The warm and dry weather combined with unusually dry, living and dead,vegetation creates the perfect ingredients for rekindling. This is a common occurrence on large fires.”
The lightning-caused Castle and Shotgun Fires made up the Sequoia Complex. The Castle Fire burned on portions of the Sequoia National Forest and Giant Sequoia National Monument for a total of 129,000 acres, Inyo National Forest (12,290 acres), Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks (16,289 acres), lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (728 acres), state (4037 acres), county, and private lands and threatened the Tule River Indian Reservation. On October 6, the Shotgun Fire was fully contained and remains at 841 acres.
Over the course of the Sequoia Complex Fire, four separate Incident Management Teams will have worked with the U.S. Forest Service and Cal Fire in a unified command. The California Interagency Incident Management Team 13 will transfer command to the Eastern Area Gold Team today.
Michael Wakoski, Incident Commander of California Interagency Incident Management Team 13 stated he would like to "thank all the local communities for their patience and understanding over the past few weeks as we managed the SQF Complex Fire. It has been an honor and privilege to help bring this fire closer to full containment."
There are 741 personnel working the fire.
The South Fork area is now open to residents. Mandatory evacuation orders have been lifted. Warnings are still in place for several areas. See www.facebook.com/Tulare-County-Recovers-SQF-Complex-Fire-118633719998389/ for more information.
Tulare County has been officially added to the Federal Major Disaster Declaration for Wildfires in California, providing individual assistance programs and resources to those impacted by the Sequoia Complex Fire. For more information visit https://tularecounty.ca.gov/county/
Southern California Edison (SCE) is working to safely and quickly restore power. Call 1 800 250-7339 or check www.sce.com/safety/assistance-center.
Crews and aircraft will continue to monitor areas without power. There are 382 customers without power. Power has been restored to most of the Camp Nelson area and a generator has been installed to provide power for the Ponderosa area.
However Sequoia Crest, Alpine Village and Cedar Slope will continue to be without power for several weeks, given the extensive damage to SCE facilities there. More than 500 poles and more than 22 miles of wires will need to be replaced all across the entire Castle (SQF Complex) fire area. All of the new poles and wires will be fire resistant.
“We have brought in crews from around the country to help us complete our work, however poor air quality from the ongoing fires has reduced our crews’ ability to be out in the field over the past few weeks,” SCE stated. “We are forecasting better air quality in the next few weeks, which will allow us to pick up our pace of restoration.”
The Regional Emergency Fire Restrictions remained in place through Thursday.
Tulare County has a Local Assistance Center at the Government Plaza, 1055 West Henderson Avenue, Porterville. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. A satellite assistance center is open in Camp Nelson on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Officials stated they appreciate the outpouring of gratitude from the public and community organizations for firefighters, including CONAFOR Fire Crews from Mexico and the United States.
Those who would like to express their appreciation can go to the Sequoia National Forest Facebook page or send cards to: Sequoia National Forest Headquarters, attention: SQF Complex Firefighters, 1839 South Newcomb Street, Porterville 93257. Only cares are being accepted at this time.
Information on closures and restrictions are as follows:
The Sequoia National Forest - www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd825787.pdf
Forest Service Regional Emergency Fire restrictions -www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd827759.pdf
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park - https://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/conditions.htm
The Bureau of Land Management Bakersfield Office has issued a temporary emergency closure. www.blm.gov/press-release/bureau-land-management-temporarily-closes-case-mountain-recreation-area#:~:text=BAKERSFIELD%2C%20Calif.,Complex%20Fire%20(SQF%20Complex).
Cal Fire has stated Mountain Home State Forest and Balch Park will remain closed through May 22 due to dangerous trees in the area. For more information on Mountain Home State Forest visit https://www.fire.ca.gov/programs/resource-management/resource-protection-improvement/demonstration-state-forests/mountain-home/
Tulare County Castle fire impacted property owner information can be found at tularecounty.ca.gov/Recovers/ or on the Tulare County Recovers – SQF Complex Facebook page.
The Tulare County Local Assistance Center Hotline for affected citizens is 559-802-9790.
Evacuation information can be found at www.facebook.com/TulareSheriff/photos/pcb.4467454503325547/4467453416658989/
Cooperating and Assisting Organizations include Southern California Edison, Tulare County Fire, Tulare County Sheriff, Tulare County OES, Tulare County Roads, California Highway Patrol, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, California Conservation Corps, California Office of Emergency Services, AT&T, Verizon, California Department of Transportation, California Air National Guard, and California National Guard. CONAFOR, Mexico.
Current air quality may be found at https://fire.airnow.gov/ .
To receive emergency notifications regarding evacuations and critical events sign up at alerttc.com