Cedar Fire continues to grow as crews work to contain blaze

PORTERVILLE, Calif. (KFSN) -- The cedar fire in Tulare and Kern Counties continues to grow and threaten homes and cabins. Tuesday morning, Tulare County Supervisors agreed to request that the Governor's Office proclaim a state of emergency due to the fire.

The fire started a week ago, and has burned more than 21,000 acres and is just five-percent contained. Officials estimate the fire will continue to grow and won't be contained until mid-September.

"I would say this next week, with the decreased relative humidity and the increased temperatures, will give us a sign of where this incident is going," said Charlie Norman, Tulare County Fire Chief.

Close to the origin of the fire, crews cleared brush along Highway 155. While farther off, some others hiked down a slope and laid hose line to protect some homes.

So far, several structures in the Spear Creek area have been damaged by the fire. But crews have not been able to go in and assess the damage yet. Evacuation orders remain in place for about a dozen Tulare County communities near the fire.

"And our personnel are doing everything they can to keep those structures intact. So we want people to return to a standing structure because these are some great mountain communities, and a lot of people call this home," said Norman.

The Cedar fire is still the number one ranked fire in the nation, because of the value of property and infrastructure at risk, the rough terrain, and the potential for the fire to grow.
"So we need that aircraft, we need those large tankers," said Annaleasa Winter, Fire Information Officer.

Winter said they are getting the resources they need, including heavy equipment like the super scooper. One of the fastest ways to get water on the fire.

"It just flies right in, it opens up the tank, scoops it up, gets a couple thousand hundred gallons-- however much it holds-- the capacity of the aircraft, and then it can fly quickly to the fire, drop it, and come around do it again."

The total cost of this fire so far is $16-million and is costing Tulare county approximately $50,000 a day.

Cedar Fire Incident Information

Last updated: August 23, 2016, 8:45 PM

The fire was moderately active for most of the day, giving the firefighters a significant window of time to make good progress today. Most of the smoke visible to communities around the fire's perimeter came from the Spear Creek area. No structures were damaged or destroyed today despite the fire being close to communities of Panorama Heights and Wofford Heights.

Tonight, night-flight helicopters are available to assist firefighters on the ground. Many personnel and equipment will be in the Panorama Heights area on the west side of the fire, with others focusing on communities on the south and southeast sides.

Forest Closure:
The Sequoia National Forest issued a closure order (No. 0513-16-18) and map, effective Saturday, August 20, for lands, roads, and trails near the fire.

Location: 5 Miles East of Glennville
Size: 21,523
Containment: 10%
Total Personnel: 2,244
Cause: Under investigation

Significant Events

Observed Fire Behavior: Active, short crown runs, group torching, short range spotting. Active fire behavior with single tree and group tree torching. Short range spotting.

Planned Actions
*Plan, prep, and provide structure defense.
*Develop plans for ignition operations to lessen fire intensity and aid in structure defense.
*Hold,improve and patrol existing containment line, establish indirect line as is safe and opportunities arise. *Assess opportunities to construct direct line where fuels change from timber to grass.
*Prep and improve those roads determined to be used as control lines.
*Construct Contingency line. *Keep fire north of Highway 155.

Weather Concerns
Smoky conditions prevailed through the morning. Gusty afternoon winds of 20 - 25 mph developed after the inversion layer lifted.

Forecasted: Gusty conditions 20 - 25 mph into the evening, diminishing after midnight. Low temperatures in the 50s to mid 60s with moderate relative humidity recovery.
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