Park personnel are concerned about threats the fires pose to groves of giant sequoia trees
10: 56 a.m. PDT Sept. 14, 2021
Two lightning-caused wildfires in Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park that started September 9 in southern California were very active Monday, more than doubling in size. The KNP Complex is comprised of two fires that were previously separated by the Generals Highway, 198, and the Middle Fork Kaweah River. The Paradise Fire can be found on the south, while the Colony Fire can be found on Colony Peak to the north of the highway and river.
Firefighters reported Monday night, that the Paradise Fire, which had been moving north, was now visible across the river at the point where the highway crosses the river. It heads uphill towards the north. At 3: 41 a.m. Tuesday sensors on satellites detected significant heat north of the river.
Tuesday morning the Incident Management Team said the two fires had been mapped at a total of 3,024 acres.
. There is concern that the fires could spread closer to the Giant Forest, and the giant sequoia trees. These trees are resistant to fires and rely on them to open cones to disperse seedlings. This is because they may be further damaged by the intense fires that have been started during drought conditions.
“The last few years fires have been burning so intense, especially in California, that these fires are getting into sequoia groves and doing major damage as they did last year,” said Fire Information Officer Mark Ruggiero.
. Late Monday night, fires were visible from satellite sensing that was less than two miles away from some of these groves. Satellite fire detections cannot accurately assess the spread of a large, intense fire.
The fires are in steep, densely-forested terrain. According to the Type 2 Incident Management Team, (IMT), Rocky Mountain Team Black under Incident Commander Leif Matthewieson, the Paradise Fire is not accessible from the ground.
. In an attempt to slow down the spread of the Paradise Fire, aircraft have been active spraying water and retardant drops onto the Paradise Fire.
. Ground crews were able to reach the Colony Fire but the area is severely affected by tree mortality and standing dead trees pose a serious safety risk. This fire has also seen a lot of activity from the air resources.
. The IMT stated that full suppression is the strategy for both fires.
Author: Bill Gabbert
After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. View all posts by Bill Gabbert
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