During the busy Easter weekend, when campgrounds were full and a flurry of park visitors were picnicking and enjoying the mild weather in the foothills of Sequoia National Park, a wildfire was reported east of Potwisha Campground and between the Kaweah River and the Generals Highway in Sequoia National Park. The Saturday, April 4, fire was reported about 1:30 p.m. and within 45 minutes grew to over seven acres in size.
The fire was located about 3.5 miles from the Ash Mountain entrance station at 2,000 feet elevation. National Park Service firefighters were on scene immediately. Cal Fire crews first arrived about 2:30 p.m. and the air support soon followed. Tulare County Fire Department, although manning a station in Three Rivers, did not respond.
The Buckeye Flat and Potwisha campgrounds were evacuated as were the day-use areas, including the Hospital Rock picnic area.
The Generals Highway was shut down between the Foothills Visitor Center in Ash Mountain and the Giant Forest area. Trails in the area were also closed.
As of 6 p.m., the fire had grown to about 20 acres and was 40 percent contained and firefighters battled to keep the blaze from jumping over the highway and continuing its uphill course. At 9 p.m., the wildland fire was declared 100 percent contained.
The Potwisha Fire has been determined to be human-caused and began in the vicinity of the river. The precise cause is still under investigation.
The Generals Highway reopened by Sunday morning, as did all campgrounds, day-use areas, and trails.
To see an additional article about the Potwisha Fire: http://www.kaweahcommonwealth.com/news/breaking-news-april-4-update-april-5