As of April 20, 2015, Cal Fire has suspended permits for all outdoor open residential burning within the State Responsibility Area of Tulare County that includes Three Rivers and the surrounding foothills. Included in the ban is all debris like branches and leaves to bring a property into compliance with fire-safe regulations.
“Recent vegetation fires in Tulare County are glaring reminders of the importance of defensible space,” said Paul Marquez, Cal Fire Tulare Unit Chief. “Please clear and maintain your property by creating and maintaining a minimum of 100 feet defensible space.”
Marquez said there have been 18 recent calls in Tulare County for potentially serious vegetation fires. The number of fires and the potential risk for a disaster is likely to increase as the current drought deepens.
Both Chief Marquez and Chief Joe Garcia, Tulare County Fire Department, will attend Monday night’s (May 4) Town Hall meeting in Three Rivers to assess risk factors and discuss prevention measures.
Marquez said now it’s critical to clear space and find alternatives to dispose of yard debris and cut trees. Campfires are allowed only in designated campgrounds.
Dunlap lightning fire
On April 20, in the aftermath of a series of thunderstorms, the Kennedy Fire was discovered in a tree with a small ground fire burning below in manzanita and timber litter. The fire was discovered by a reconnaissance flight searching for lightning-caused fires after the weekend thunderstorms.
It was called the Kennedy Fire as it was located near the Kennedy Meadow trailhead 15 miles east of Dunlap. That early lightning-caused fire is especially worrisome as the Hume Lake Ranger District in Giant Sequoia National Monument is plagued by thousands of dead and dying trees.
U.S. Forest Service firefighters were dispatched to the locale to keep the fire from spreading. Updated information on the Kennedy Fire may be found at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4181/, an incident-information website.