The Windy Fire, burning on the Tule River Indian Reservation and in Giant Sequoia National Monument, Sequoia National Forest grew to 3,924 acres wand was still zero percent contained as of Thursday afternoon. “The Windy Fire experienced significant fire growth overnight and has burned towards the Western Divide Highway, M107 in the Nobe Young Meadow area,” Sequoia National Forest stated.
The strategy continues to be full suppression of the fire. “On the ground, firefighters are constructing containment lines along the perimeter of the fire,” the forest service stated. “Air operations are continuously monitoring fire conditions and weather, looking for opportunities to fly and support firefighters on the ground with water dropping capabilities.”
Firefighters have established a fire perimeter line around a nearby fire, the Crawford Fire. The forest service stated fire crews were being inserted into the Crawford Fire on Thursday to strengthen the containment perimeter to contain it.
As of Thursday there were 529 personnel working on the Windy Fire with more resources expected. Both the Crawford Fire and Windy Fire were started by lightning.
Smoke will continue to impact the region, the forest service stated. Visit airnow.gov for the most up to date air quality conditions.
The fire has burned into a portion of the Peyrone Sequoia Grove while other groves are threatenedm the forest service stated. Due to inaccessible terrain, a preliminary assessment of the fire’s effects on Giant Sequoia trees within the Peyrone grove will be difficult and may take days to complete.
Tule River Indian Reservation residents and those in Camp Nelson and Ponderosa are asked to continue monitoring the progress of the fire. Tulare County residents can receive county emergency notifications by registering at AlertTC.com.
The USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region has announced a lifting of the closure of 18 National Forests, including Sequoia National Forest. But the Windy Fire area closure remains in effect and will be in effect through December 31.
On Thursday morning Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux issued an evacuation warning for Johnsondale and nearby Camp Whitsett. Just a couple hours later early Thursday afternoon that evacuation warning was upgraded to an evacuation order, meaning the evacuation was mandatory.
The evacuation order includes from M107 at Dome Rock, east to Lloyd Meadow at Lower Peppermint Road, (M22S82), south to M99 at Sherman Pass Road, west to M107 and M50. An evacuation order means there's an immediate threat to life, safety and property and all residents and visitors should leave immediately for the fire reaches the community.
Those who are unable to evacuate or need assistance should call 9-1-1. The temporary evacuation point where one may find information and assistance with sheltering is at Porterville College. Individuals who may need assistance evacuating may call 2-1-1.
Those who are able to should evacuate their pets and all small and large animals. Those who are unable to do so and are under an evacuation order need to call Tulare County Animal Shelter Manager Cassandra Heffington, 559-679-6222.