FIRE SEASON 2020: The less-noticed fires in Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks

Sherman Prescribed Burn
Sherman Prescribed Burn from July 12, 2019: Clearing and regenerating the forest.

Let’s take a look at a couple other fires that are appearing on the maps. This will be a nice distraction from the SQF Complex that has all Three Rivers riveted to every new wisp of smoke and change in wind direction 
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks continue to have two active fires burning in designated wilderness with no threats to people or property. The Rattlesnake and Moraine fires were both caused by lightning and continue to show slow and minor fire growth. The Rattlesnake Fire is 2,078 acres and the Moraine Fire is 575 acres.
Here is what humans need to begin to realize
about managing California forest lands:
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are in a highly fire-adapted ecosystem. This means that fire has shaped this landscape for thousands of years and the plants and animals have evolved to live with fire.
The main example within the parks are the sequoia trees themselves. Not only does the giant sequoia have thick bark to provide protection from high heat sources, the cones have also developed to open only during periods of high temperatures to release seeds, generating new trees. This type of cone is referred to as serotinous. Giant sequoias would not exist today if there was not fire to support them.
In addition to the full park closures of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, park managers have implemented a designated wilderness closure in response to the Rattlesnake Fire. Don’t worry about these directions unless planning a fall backcountry adventure but here is what is closed out there:
Beginning at the south boundary of Sequoia National Park with the intersection of the Great Western Divide, north along the Great Western Divide to Kaweah Gap, southeast to Chagoopa Plateau along the base of the Kaweah Peaks to the Kern Canyon, north to Junction Meadow and the Colby Pass Trail (not included), east along the High Sierra Trail (not included) to the John Muir Trail/PCT (not included), south along the PCT (not included) to the park boundary, and west along the park boundary back to the point of origin.
Smoke remains prevalent in the park and air quality is unhealthy for all people. To learn more, visit
To stay up to date with the Rattlesnake (Sequoia) and Moraine (Kings Canyon) fires, search for them on

2 thoughts on “FIRE SEASON 2020: The less-noticed fires in Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks

  • September 20, 2020 at 12:19 pm

    Thank you for all your reporting. As yet I’ve been unable to find out if the SCICON property and structures have been damaged. Please report any news.

    • September 20, 2020 at 12:28 pm

      The last I heard when that question was addressed at Friday’s briefing is that SCICON was untouched and extra precautions to ensure its survival were being taken.


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