Chimney Fire grows to 1,826 acres, Pacific Crest Trail closed

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The first big wildfire in California this year is straddling the Tulare and Kern County line and firefighters are working hard in hot weather to contain it. (KFSN)

The fire is burning in the southeast corner of Tulare County in the Chimney Peak and Owens Peak wilderness areas. The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is closed between Highway 178 and Kennedy Meadows.

The first big wildfire in California this year is straddling the Tulare and Kern County line and firefighters are working hard in hot weather to contain it.

The fire is in a very remote region, practically on the other side of the Sierra, in an area controlled by the Bureau of Land Management.

Residents are currently allowed in their homes, but everyone else is being asked to stay away from this fire.

"You know that first big fire, people start to go, here we go, and it's probably the kickoff to region five fire season," said Abby Bolt, U.S. Forest Service .

Bolt is with the US Forest Service on the Kern River Ranger District. She said the wildfire broke out at Chimney Campground near Kennedy Meadows Wednesday afternoon.

"The reason the fire was larger when we got there for the initial attack is it's way up there in the wilderness, it's not that easy to get to," said Bolt.

Bolt said crews made good progress overnight, and as of Thursday, the fire had burned approximately 1,000 acres and was ten percent contained. As of Friday morning, the fire grew to 1,826 acres, but contianment grew to 33 percent.

Currently, 518 firefighters are battling the flames. They're using chainsaws, helicopters are dropping retardant, and a bulldozer is on scene if structures should become threatened.

No structures or private property has been destroyed. But there is concern about archeological sites and for any hikers on the pacific crest trail.

The PCT is closed between Highway 178 and Kennedy Meadows Campground.

"Got into Isabella, and as soon as I was in there, met up with a couple hikers that had seen the fire out on trail had to turn around. All the trails and roads got closed, so kinda just stuck here," said Erik Arntson, PCT Hiker.

"And we just ask that people please yield to the closures, because we don't know where you are out there, and if it turns out that you're out there missing, that could put our firefighters in danger by trying to help you," said Bolt.

The chimney fire is large, but Bolt doesn't think it will get as big, or burn as long, as something like last year's Rough Fire.

Looking ahead to this weekend, officials are concerned with even hotter temperatures.

Firefighters are working hard to control this fire, so things like heat exhaustion and dehydration can always happen.



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Incident Overview
he Chimney Fire was reported to the Bureau of Land Management at approximately 3:30pm on June 1st in the area of Chimney Peak campground. Minimal fire behavior was experienced through the night with no projected movement expected today.
The fire held overnight at 1,826 acres and is burning primarily in the Chimney Peak and Owens Peak wilderness areas. Chimney Peak/Canebreak Road is closed to all traffic. Nine Mile Rd is open only to local residents and fire vehicles only.
Firefighters worked throughout the evening and were able to maintain and improve containment lines, while minimizing impacts to the wilderness. Firefighters will continue direct line construction, and begin mop-up where safe to do so. Crews will be assessing opportunities to implement fireline suppression repair.

The SCSIIMT will assess the area closure of the Pacific Crest Trail today.

Closures
The fire is burning in an area adjacent to the Pacific Crest Trail, and the trail is closed between Highway 178 and Kennedy Meadows. For further information in regards to the trail closure on BLM land, contact: Gabriel Garcia, Field Office Manager, Bakersfield Field Office, 3801 Pegasus Dr. Bakersfield CA 93308, (661) 391-6139 www.pcta.org/discover-the-trail/trail-condition/chimney-fire/ Chimney Peak/Canebreak Road is closed to all traffic.

Related Topics:
newsfirewildfireforest firetulare countycaliforniaSierra - Foothills
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