More smoke likely with new fire on Westside of Sierra,
Fire sending smoke directly to Eastern Sierra
After an entire summer of enviably clear skies compared to the rest of the state, a new fire burning to the southwest of the Eastern Sierra could change that.
The new fire, or a group of fires called the KNP Complex because it is burning in Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park, grew to 7,000 acres as of press time Wednesday and was still zero percent contained.
The fire does not pose a threat to Eastern Sierra property or life, but it could be a serious smoke producer.
The location of the fire is what makes it potentially troublesome in terms of smoke for the Eastern Sierra if it continues to grow because it is centered in a location east of Fresno, near Three Forks.
This puts it southwest of Mammoth and much of the Eastside. The Eastern Sierra is prone to southwest winds, which means fires
to the southwest tend to be the most impactful to the Eastern Sierra, smoke wise.
It is important to note there have been no significant fires this summer to the southwest, partly because the huge fire scar left over from the Creek Fire, which stretches almost 40 miles long and is dozens of miles wide, is southwest of the Eastside. That huge swath of burned area just over the Sierra Crest has acted like a kind of giant firebreak and kept large fires from burning in that area - there is simply very little fuel left in that scar to burn).
Here is the most updated information from the park, released at press time Wednesday:
“The KNP Complex, ignited by lightning on the night of September 9... is comprised of the Paradise Fire and the Colony Fire. Sequoia National Park is closed to the public, and employees that reside inside the park have been evacuated. Kings Canyon National Park remains open, but serious air quality impacts are possible.
“The Paradise Fire has a new acreage of 5,914 acres, and the Colony Fire has a new acreage of 1,125 acres, for a combined total for the KNP Complex of 7,039, with 0 percent containment. These acreages may be updated throughout the day and will be posted on Inciweb.
The parks’ fire management operation will transition with a Southernarea Blue Type 1 National Incident Management Team tomorrow (Sept. 16). Type 1 teams are equipped to handle the largest and highest-complexity emergency situations.
The KNP Complex has been a full suppression incident since the discovery of the smokes the morning following the lightning storm. In the case of the Paradise Fire, extremely steep topography and a total lack of access has prevented any ground crew operations, and in the case of the Colony Fire, only a limited amount of ground crew access has been possible. Both fires are utilizing extensive aerial resources performing water and retardant drops.
IF YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE
• Track your local air quality at www.fire.airnow.gov.
• For updates on the KNP Complex, follow https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7838/.