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KNP Complex Brings Unhealthy Smoky Air, Fresno County Evacuation Warning

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Cones block the entrance to Sequoia National Park. (AP File)
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Valley residents likely will endure a weekend of unhealthy air caused by the Tulare County wildfires, the Valley Air District said.

“Smoke infiltration from the Windy and KNP Complex fires in Tulare County combined with high pressure and poor dispersion have prompted air quality officials in the San Joaquin Valley to issue an air quality alert,” the district said in a news release.

“Smoke is expected to continue to impact the San Joaquin Valley through Monday, October 4, when a low-pressure system moving over the Valley is forecast to improve dispersion.”

Anyone experiencing poor air quality due to wildfire smoke should move to a filtered, air-conditioned environment with windows closed, air district officials advised.

Evacuation Orders

On Friday, officials issued new evacuation orders for residents in the path of the growing KNP Complex:

  • The Tulare County Sheriff’s Office said that all residents in Big Meadows, Weston Meadows, and Quail Flat in the Giant Sequoia National Monument must leave.
  • The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office issued an evacuation warning for Miramonte and Pinehurst area residents in zone K159.
  • And, the National Park Service ordered all residents and employees to exit Grant Grove, Wilsonia, and Cedar Grove in Kings Canyon National Park.

The Tulare County Sheriff’s Office also downgraded an evacuation order to a warning. The downgrade covers residences along Sierra Drive (Highway 198) from Mineral King Road, north to the entrance to Sequoia National Park, including residences on Sycamore Drive. Only residents and business owners are permitted to return.

People must show proof of residence — driver’s license, utility bill, or address documentation from the U.S. Post Office — to return home.

On Thursday, the sheriff’s office downgraded an evacuation order to a warning for Alpine Village, Camp Nelson, Cedar Slope, Coy Flat, Pierpoint, Quaking Aspen, Ponderosa, and Sequoia Crest.

KNP Complex, Windy Fire Updates

The KNP Complex, which was started by lightning on Sept. 10, had grown to 51,596 acres, as of 3:30 p.m. Friday. The blaze is 20% contained.

Watch: Friday’s KNP Complex Briefing

As of 10 a.m., Friday, nearly 2,500 firefighters were making headway against the Windy Fire burning on the Tule River Indian Reservation and in the Sequoia National Forest, including the Giant Sequoia National Monument.

The blaze covers 89,804 acres and is 40% contained.

Fourteen Residences, 12 outbuildings, and two non-commercial buildings have been destroyed.

KNP Fire Map

The KNP wildfire map on Oct. 1, 2021. (U.S. Forest Service)

 

Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email

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