Cause of French Fire pinpointed

 

A day-long deluge of rain in the local mountains last Sunday, Aug. 3, effectively doused all the lightning-caused fires that had popped up throughout the parks. However, a suspicious fire  was detected Saturday, Aug. 2, just two or so miles from the Road’s End area in Kings Canyon National Park. 

The Lower Tent Fire was burning near the Copper Creek Trail near Lower Tent Meadow. Originally thought to be lightning-caused, ground crews later determined that the fire was most likely human-caused.

Because of its proximity to the Cedar Grove visitor facilities and campgrounds in this remote section of Kings Canyon, the fire was immediately suppressed. It has since been contained at eight acres. The Copper Creek Trail, which was closed, has since been reopened.

 

French Fire

The French Fire, which has been burning in Sierra National Forest since Monday, July 28, has been 40 percent contained. The smoke from this fire is what has been drifting into the Kaweah canyon the past two weeks.

The fire has grown in size to almost 14,000 acres. More than 1,800 fire personnel have assisted in the containment of the blaze.

Suppression efforts

Cooler weather helped suppression actions this week, allowing crews and equipment to make good progress in line construction along the northwest perimeter. Fire still remains active along the northwest perimeter. Also this week, crews continued building and reinforcing containment lines on the north and west perimeters. The east perimeter has burned down to the San Joaquin River.

 

Cause

An investigation has concluded that an abandoned campfire near Rock Creek Campground was the cause of the French Fire. The abandoned campfire was located toward the bottom of Rock Creek Road, near the San Joaquin River. Investigators are asking for the public’s help for information about anyone who was seen in the area of Rock Creek Road near the San Joaquin River during the afternoon or evening of Sunday, July 27. Anyone with information is encouraged to call (559) 877-2605.

 

Evacuations

Residents living in the community of Arnold Meadow were notified to evacuate due to increased fire activity along the northern perimeter of the fire. Several summer homes in the Hogue Apple Ranch and Wagner’s Resort were evacuated earlier in the week.

 

El Portal Fire

The El Portal Fire is 100 percent contained. The fire ultimately grew to 4,689 acres with 220 fire personnel contributing to the suppression effort. The cause is under investigation.

The fire was first reported Saturday, July 26. Affected by the fire were the communities of El Portal; Foresta in Yosemite National Park; and areas in Stanislaus National Forest.

Demobilization will continue will continue throughout the week, which will make fire equipment and crews available for other fires. A Burned Area Emergency Rehabilitation (BAER) team arrived this week to establish a plan for Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite National Park. 

Thse BAER team’s primary function is to evaluate the burn area for short-term emergency rehabilitation needs. Areas that were damaged in the suppression effort are being repaired to help reduce soil erosion and visual impacts. These efforts include building water bars, chipping large concentrations of slash from dozer line construction, pulling berms, and obscuring turnouts that were created by large equipment. Excess equipment, supplies, flagging, and garbage are also being removed.

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The largest fires currently burning in California are in the northern part of the state in Lassen National Forest, just north of Lassen Volcanic National Park. The Bald Fire has burned 40,000 acres while the Eiler Fire has consumed 30,000 acres.

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