Pier Fire 70% contained
Returning residents advised to use caution
Although 70 percent of the Pier Fire is contained, officials encourage residents returning to their homes to use extreme caution as the remainder of the 31,454-acre fire is uncontained and active, the U.S. Forest Service reported.
Although 70 percent of the Pier Fire is contained, officials encourage residents returning to their homes to use extreme caution as the remainder of the 31,454acre fire is uncontained and active, the U.S. Forest Service reported.
As of 6 p.m. Thursday, there are no mandatory evacuations. Residents may return to communities under voluntary evacuation, said Denise Alonzo, the public affairs officer for the U.S. Forest Service.
Alonzo said only property owners and residents are permitted to return at this time. She said returning residents must show proof of residency to posted law enforcement to gain access. Examples of accepted documentation, Alonzo said, include driver’s license with residency address, utility bill with name and residency address, or PO Box documentation from the U.S. Post Office.
Alonzo said communities under a voluntary evacuation include Alpine Village, Camp Nelson, Cedar Slope, Doyle Springs, Mountain Aire, Rogers Camp, Pierpoint Springs, Sequoia Crest, and Wishon.
“Returning residents to their property is a priority,” Alonzo said.
As residents return to their homes, Alonzo said they should note that although Highway 190 is a vital thoroughfare to locals, it is also a steep and treacherous mid-slope road.
She added that the Pier Fire is currently burning above the road, causing burning debris to frequently roll onto and across the roadway with the potential of igniting unburned vegetation below, making many portions unsafe for travel.
Alonzo said dead trees that recently lined the roadside are now dead and burned. She said there are a significant number of those trees that need to be cut down to prevent injury or death.
Alonzo said many Sequoia National Forest roads and trails remain closed for the reasons mentioned above. Upon returning home, she said residents may find conditions slightly different than when they left. She said firefighters may have “prepped” homes, removing ignition sources from the immediate proximity of them.
She added that residents may notice fire hose and other equipment in their neighborhoods. She encourages all residents to leave them in place. She noted that they will be removed when there is no chance of them being used.
Alonzo said active fire and smoke may be visible from houses. She said firefighters are aware of the fire’s current location and behavior, and noted that they will continue to monitor the fire near residential areas.
Even though power is restored to most communities — some through temporary generators — Alonzo said many power lines have been destroyed in the fire. She said returning residents may experience temporary road closures and delays through Oct. 1 while Southern California Edison (SCE) replaces and restrings damaged power lines.
Alonzo said all returning residents should be aware that there are still active portions of the Pier Fire. She said fire crews are using all roads in and around the fire as well as roads between base camp and various drop points. She said residents should be patient and drive with caution.
Alonzo said fire engines and dozers are large and slow and often stop in locations unusual to normal traffic flow.
“Although many of you are returning home, be sensitive to your neighbors on the southern part of the fire who are geographically still affected by the active fire,” Alonzo said.
In terms of road closures, Alonzo said Highway 190 is closed to all public between County Road 208 and Pierpoint Springs. She said Highway 190 between Upper Rio Vista Road and County Road 208 is a hard closure for nonresidents, and a soft closure for residents with photo ID and proof of residency.
Alonzo said Highway 190 between Pierpoint Springs and Ponderosa is a hard closure for nonresidents and a soft closure for residents with photo ID and proof of residency.
A total 1,493 personnel, 29 crews, eight helicopters, 94 engines, 11 dozers and 13 water tenders are working to contain the fire fully, which is estimated to occur at approximately midnight on Wednesday, Sept. 20.