Pier Fire in Tulare County explodes in size over weekend, burning over 17,000 acres

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The Forest Service says smaller communities like Sequoia Crest and Alpine Village, which have been evacuated, are still threatened. (KFSN)

Over the weekend the Pier Fire in Tulare County exploded. It's scorched well over 17,000 acres and has put people in Springville on edge.

Firefighters fought back and pushed the fire into a canyon but containment still stands at 10 percent. Dianne Shew had her bags packed, and she was ready to run Saturday night as the Pier Fire closed in on her home literally just up the street.

"In my mind, the clock was ticking on how long there was until the sun came up and the winds changed," she said.

She watched from her driveway near the road block on the highway while firefighters pushed in and air tankers dropped retardant from above."

"These guys overhead here making all the difference," Shew said.

Cooler temperatures and rain also helped. By Monday morning, their horizon had changed and the fire backed off into the canyon.

"It's burning on the walls on both sides of the canyon," Denise Alonzo with the U.S. Forest Service said.

Alonzo says smaller communities like Sequoia Crest and Alpine Village, which have been evacuated, are still threatened. Deeper in the Sequoia National Forest, 100-year-old tall brush, steep terrain, and the amount of fires burning in California, she says, are some of the things making this fire difficult to put out.

"When the fire started, we ordered a whole lot of people that we didn't get," she said.

At this point, Highway 190 remains closed. The fire has also forced Shew and her husband to shut down a station they own.

"We were looking at making about $15,000 this month, that would have helped pay all the bills and now gone," she said.

She says it's a waiting game now. She's hoping the weather will keep helping firefighters gain control.

Related Topics:
wildfiretulare countyTulare County
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