CASTLE FIRE: Updates and comparisons for September 25 and 26, 2020

There have been some changes in the Castle Fire that are worthy of note. (Last report by 3R News was September 23.) Here are the numbers for September 25 and 26 (Friday and Saturday) for side-by-side comparison. Updates and comparisons
SOUTH FORK RESIDENTS UNDER MANDATORY EVACUATION: 3R News is closely monitoring the evacuation order. Most likely, residents will know when we know that the orders are lifted, but we will report it and email any news on this as soon as it is announced.
Location: 12 air miles east of the town center of Three Rivers; 10 air miles west of Mineral King (Golden Trout Wilderness in Sequoia and Inyo national forests; Tulare County); consists of the Castle Fire and Shotgun Fire. Updates and comparisons
Acreage: September 25— 144,777 || September 26: 148,850 Updates and comparisons
Containment of Castle Fire: September 25— 36% || September 26— 39% (Containment is mostly on the East Castle Fire side with about half of that segment contained; however, progress was made the past week on the west side– (1) In the vicinity of SCICON; and (2) Along the Grouse Valley Fire Control Road, 6 miles up South Fork Drive in Three Rivers).
Expected Full Containment: Date has been adjusted to October 10, 2020, three weeks earlier than the previous date of October 31.
Structures Threatened: None! (This is a major change; on September 23, structures threatened were 3,143)
Structures Destroyed: September 25— 161 || September 26— 173 (all in the cabin communities off Highway 190 east of Springville) Updates and comparisons
Personnel (and +/- difference since last report): September 251,763 total (+255) | 27 hand crews (+2), 37 water tenders (+2), 9 helicopters (same), 110 engines (+7), 53 dozers (+18). || September 261,998 total | 36 hand crews, 40 water tenders, 18 helicopters, 159 engines, 31 dozers (Friday, Sept. 26, saw a substantial increase in personnel and equipment provided to this firefighting effort)
From CALFIRE’s morning report of September 26 in relation to the Dennison Ridge section of the fire: West flank firelines are holding [South Fork’s Grouse Valley area]. East side of the fire continues to be held in check with bucket work at the Garfield Creek drainage. Fire progression slow to the east. Updates and comparisons
Analysis: The portion of the Castle Fire continuing to be the most active is in Sequoia National Park north of Dennison Ridge. This fire has now met the back-burned area to the northwest in the Grouse Valley/Creek/Peak area that is intended to stop its growth into the upper South Fork canyon. The portion of fire in Garfield Grove is about 1 mile from the South Fork river. Another section of the blaze is 2 miles away from South Fork Campground. BUT NOTE: Growth has remained slow for the past few days. There is a weather change looming, which typically means wind gusts. The increase in temperatures over the next week will bring with it the associated challenges when attempting to stop a fire in the wildland. Updates and comparisons

Updates and comparisons
Map showing the location of two landmarks in the backcountry of Sequoia National Park that are being encroached upon by fire.

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2 thoughts on “CASTLE FIRE: Updates and comparisons for September 25 and 26, 2020

  • September 25, 2020 at 5:11 pm

    Sounds like good news and is encouraging. Maybe I’ve missed it, but no one makes any mention that the South Fork River is dry. Only the 2nd time I have seen it dry in my 16 years up here.
    Anyone else have a history on the dry river? It makes me so sad!

    • September 26, 2020 at 5:54 am

      The South Fork is still flowing (as of yesterday) above the steel bridge, but there isn’t much there, there.
      I’ve noticed natural springs going dry in the high country that took a number of years of drought to get it to that state last decade, and it isn’t just California, the last couple monsoon seasons in Arizona have been busts.


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