Those clouds this past week brought some scattered rainfall and were a welcome relief from an otherwise extremely dry summer. But they also brought dozens of lightning strikes, several of which caused fires that have continued to burn.
The latest spate of fires are burning in elevations above 6,000 feet and currently do not pose any threat to life or property. The first two fires were reported on Thursday, July 24, burning in remote areas of Kings Canyon National Park.
The Center Peak Fire is located 1.5 miles north of Forester Pass at 11,170 feet in elevation. There are flames and smoke in a stand of white fir. It’s doubtful that the fire will spread beyond its initially reported size of less than an acre.
The Triple Falls Fire was reported the same day. It is burning in scattered red fir trees west-northwest of the Simpson Meadow Patrol Cabin at an elevation of 8,975 feet.
This fire was estimated initially at three acres and burning in rugged terrain. It has a moderate potential to spread.
On Friday, July 25, two more fires were reported near Alta Peak in Sequoia National Park. Smoke and flames from these lightning strikes have been visible intermittently from locales in Three Rivers.
The Rock Fire was reported burning at 10,240 feet in a small stand of foxtail pines surrounded by rock approximately one-half mile west of Alta Peak. At this location, in steep terrain above tree line, there is low potential for spread.
A separate flare-up, named the Heather Fire, is reportedly burning three-quarters of a mile west of Alta Peak. It is also burning in a stand of foxtail pines, and due to sparse fuels nearby, it also has a low spread potential.
Another lightning-caused fire was reported to have started on Wednesday, July 30, in the Kaweah’s North Fork drainage at 5,800 feet in elevation. The location of the Springs Fire is one-half mile northwest of Hidden Springs and in the vicinity of the Pine Ridge giant sequoia grove.
According to Linda Mutch, acting fire education specialist, this fire had a greater potential for spread so a park helicopter began making aerial water drops shortly after the blaze was reported. Since then, a park fire crew completed a hand-line around the fire and will continue to secure the perimeter.
National Park Service officials also issued a press release dated July 29 stating that the heavy smoke experienced in the Kaweah canyon this past week was the product of two active Yosemite area wildfires. According to the National Weather Service in Hanford, the smoke in Three Rivers is coming from the French Fire, northeast of Fresno.
Want more information on park fires? Log onto www.nps.gov/seki and click on Fire in the Parks under Quicklinks.