Backcountry fire ignited by lightning


In Southern California, it’s the Santa Ana winds that can fan fire into a disaster, burning thousands of acres in a few hours. In eastern Washington, high winds are currently causing fire to leap from wooded areas and burn entire subdivisions that are so new they don’t even have mature trees or landscaping.

In Kaweah Country, lightning in tinder-dry landscape can spark a fire in an area that ordinarily would not experience fire. So far in the current season, lightning strikes have only ignited blazes in remote areas.

Big Five Fire— From the last significant buildup of thunder and lightning storms that rolled through the higher elevations of Sequoia National Park two weeks ago, a fire was reported to be burning in the wilderness near Big Five Lakes. The lightning-caused fire is growing steady in acreage and now has burned more than 49 acres. It’s located seven trail miles southeast of the Little Five Lakes Ranger Station. 

Two NPS firefighters were dispatched to the area last week to map the fire’s progress. Aircraft continually monitor the area and are also on the lookout for any new fires that might be sparked by passing lightning storms. 

The fire activity due to lightning and forest fires burning in several western states is about six weeks ahead of schedule.

Sunset Rock Prescribed Burn— Ignitions on this prescribed fire in the Giant Forest area of Sequoia National Park were completed Tuesday, June 23. The targeted burn block was 75 acres; 79 acres were treated. 

The fire will continue to smolder until there is significant rainfall in Giant Forest. Currently, there are no trail closures in effect for the Giant Forest area.       

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