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Latest: KNP Complex, Windy Fire Suppression Efforts Total 2,700 Personnel

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A firefighter hoses down hot spots in the Trail of 100 Giants as the Windy Fire burns on Monday, Sept. 20, 2021. (AP/Noah Berger)
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The effort to bring the KNP Complex Fire in Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park under control now involves more than 1,400 personnel, officials said Wednesday.

And, crews are working around the clock to contain the Windy Fire, which is also burning in Tulare County.

Together, the fires had expanded to nearly 60,000 acres as of Wednesday morning.

KNP Complex Community Meeting Moves Back to Three Rivers

Officials managing the KNP Complex suppression effort say that 1,412 personnel — including 42 crews, 55 engines, 20 water tenders, and 8 helicopters are battling the wildfire.

Incident commander Mark Morales said in a news release that the “highest priority for operations is the protection of life and infrastructure of the park, the Sequoia National Forest, and the surrounding communities including Three Rivers.”

Fire managers said there will be a community meeting at 7 o’clock Wednesday night at the Three Rivers Memorial Building, 43490 Sierra Drive.

The meeting will be live-streamed on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SequoiaKingsNPS.

KNP Fire Grows to 28,328 Acres

The fire has grown by 1,399 acres in the past 24 hours. It now totals 28,328 acres, with no containment.

Preparation to protect the giant Sequoias in Lost Grove and Muir Grove continue, officials said.

Meanwhile, the ancient massive trees of Giant Forest remained unscathed Tuesday.

“As of right now we don’t have any damage to any of our trees,” said fire information officer Mark Garrett.

In addition, four crews totaling 80 members of the California Army National Guard are helping with mop-up to ensure there is no further threat to the lodges and infrastructure in the Wuksachi Village area.

Fire behavior and intensity have been reduced in the Giant Forest area, where prescribed fire treatments were previously completed. Cal Fire has also been working on direct and indirect fire line (with aircraft reinforcement) along Paradise Ridge to keep the fire in check near Ash Mountain, officials said.

Sequoia National Park is closed to the public and large portions of Kings Canyon National Park are closed, as well.

Watch: KNP Tuesday Briefing

Windy Fire: 31,388 Acres, 7% Contained

Firefighters are working “around the clock” to protecting structures in this Tulare County wildfire, officials said.

The Windy Fire is burning on the Tule River Indian Reservation and in the Giant Sequoia National Monument and Sequoia National Forest.

When possible, firefighting resources go directly to the fire’s perimeter, strengthening bulldozer lines and improving roads to create an opportunity to hold fire, officials said.

Nearly 1,300 firefighters were assigned to the blaze.

“The fire’s active, but we’ve got a good number of staff out there,” information officer Kate Kramer said.

On the Trail of 100 Giants, one tree known as the “natural bench” sequoia because of the shape of its base was confirmed to have sustained some burning.

Several sequoia groves have been impacted by the Windy Fire but it’s not clear whether any other sequoia trees have been burned.

The Windy Fire burns along a ridge in Sequoia National Forest on Monday, Sept. 20, 2021. (AP/Noah Berger)

Road Closures  

  • Western Divide Highway (M107) is closed at North Road (21S50) intersection near Quaking Aspen Campground to M50 above California Hot Springs.
  • M99 is closed above Kernville at Sherman Pass (22S05) intersection.
  • M99 is closed north of McNally’s Fairview Lodge at 7300 Kern River Highway going north towards Sherman Pass.

Evacuations Warnings

The Tulare County Sheriff’s Office has issued an evacuation warning for:

  • Camp Nelson and surrounding communities

Evacuation Orders

  • Johnsondale and Camp Whitsett, including M107 at Dome Rock, east to Lloyd Meadow Road (22S82), south to M99 at Sherman Pass Road, west to M107 and M50.
  • Ponderosa and Quaking Aspen. The area of warning includes M107 at Dome Rock, north to Highway 190/M90 at North Road (21S50), east to Route 21S05, at Needles Trail, south to Lloyd Meadow at Lower Peppermint Road (22S82). Avoid all road closures and use Highway 190 to Porterville.

How to Get Help

The temporary evacuation point, where you may find information and assistance, is at Porterville College, 100 E. College Ave.

Individuals needing assistance are asked to call 2-1-1. Older individuals (60+) who need assistance with evacuation or information may call the senior hotline at 1-800-321-2462.

Large animals can be sheltered at the International Agri-Center located at 4500 S. Laspina Street, Tulare, CA 93274.

Tulare County residents can sign up to receive county emergency notifications by registering at AlertTC.com.

Air Quality Alert

The Windy Fire and KNP Complex are causing cause smoke impacts throughout the San Joaquin Valley.

On Tuesday the Valley Air District and National Weather Service issued an Air Quality Alert that will continue until at least Thursday morning.

Residents impacted by smoke should remain indoors to reduce their exposure to particulate matter emissions.

Officials advise that cloth and paper masks used as protection from COVID-19 may provide insufficient safeguards from wildfire smoke inhalation.

You can access RAAN to check air quality at any Valley location at myRAAN.com.

No Drone Zone

Fire managers remind the public that when a drone is spotted near a wildfire, all aircraft must return to the ground.

They ask drone owners to check this link before launching.

(Associated Press contributed to this story.)

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