It’s eerily quiet for firefighters up and down drought-plagued California. Here in Kaweah Country, firefighters can count on keeping active working the recurring human-caused spot fires that hopefully don’t turn into full-fledged conflagrations.
There were two more human-caused fires during the past week.
Fire no. 1— The first one occurred at the Cobble Knoll Recreation Area on Saturday, July 11. Cal Fire and Tulare County Fire Department units responded at 8 p.m.
Firefighters hiked into the river area to find a small blaze burning along the riverbank just east of where Kaweah River and Lake Kaweah meet. Flames were quickly doused in the one-acre blaze.
A hand crew from Miramonte assisted local firefighters using backpack water units as they dug line around the perimeter to ensure the fire was extinguished.
The cause was written up as “suspicious” on the incident report. The so-called Holiday Fire is the second blaze in a month at the Cobble Knoll recreation area.
“We’re working with Lake Kaweah park rangers to make those ‘No Fires’ signs more prominent out there,” said Tulare Unit Chief Paul Marquez. “There’s only one sign out there now, and it’s difficult to see.”
Fires are often sparked when river-goers improperly dispose of the hot coals from portable barbecues. Chief Marquez said the tinder-dry conditions make any fire extremely risky.
Fire no. 2— Cal Fire and Tulare County firefighters also worked together to douse a half-acre blaze burning along the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River behind the rental cabins just west of the North Fork bridge. That fire was sparked at 1:20 p.m. on Wednesday, July 15, and was extinguished at one-tenth of an acre before it had a chance to go anywhere.
According to Chief Marquez, that fire was equipment-caused. A witness told investigators that a worker had been weedeating in the area just before the flames were spotted.
“We expect the local fire activity to accelerate this weekend because there is lightning in the weather forecast,” Marquez said.