‘Tis the season for fires


Tule Fire— It first showed up as a “warm spot” on satellite weather imagery in the Tule River watershed above Springville in Tulare County. But the suspicions of a fire came true, and the Tule Fire became the most recent battle for firefighters who have been running here and there across the state and the western U.S. while trying to keep fires in check.

The Tule Fire threatened the cluster of communities in and around the Camp Nelson area. Residents were warned to be on standby for evacuation. 

The Tule Fire was most likely caused by a lightning strike on Monday night, Aug. 22, of which there were at least six strikes that sparked fires and had to be suppressed. As of August 24, the fire was being held at about 400 acres and was 70 percent contained.

Wilsonia structure fire— On Friday, Aug. 19, early in the evening, a fire erupted in the historic district of Wilsonia in the Grant Grove area of Kings Canyon National Park. The fire began in a cabin, one of two on a lot owned by the National Park Service.

The fire was contained to the structure, which as been closed and unoccupied for several years, and one outbuilding. Both were a complete loss.

A total of six engines responded with many members of the Wilsonia cabin community assisting in containing the fire. There were no injuries reported and the cause of the blaze is under investigation.

Cedar Fire— The Cedar Fire in southern Tulare County, which started west of Kernville in Kern County on Tuesday, Aug. 16, has been the greatest source of smoke that has wafted its way into the Kaweah canyon the past couple of weeks.

California Hot Springs is under mandatory evacuation as are a dozen other small communities in the path of the blaze. The Tulare County community of Johnsondale has been put on notice to either voluntarily evacuate or be ready for mandatory evacuation at a moment’s notice. 

There are several county road closures in the area, and Sequoia National Forest’s Great Western Divide ranger district has closed roads, trails, and campgrounds in the vicinity as well, so be sure to check statuses before traveling to the area.

As of Thursday, Aug. 25, the fire was approaching 27,000 acres and is just 15 percent contained, most on the fire’s south end in Kern County. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

For evacuation information and updates, call the Tulare County Emergency Operations Center at (559) 623-0200 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.

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