Ash falling in Exeter and Visalia from wildfire miles away

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Ashes have been falling from the sky in the South Valley. Cell phones captured pictures and video of it in Exeter and Visalia. (KFSN)

Ashes have been falling from the sky in Tulare County. Cell phones captured pictures and video of it in Exeter and Visalia. The ash drifted dozens of miles away from a wildfire near Springville, called the Cabin Fire.

The Cabin Fire has been burning for 12 days, out of sight for the most part. It started with a lightning strike and slowly consumed 2,619 acres. People in Springville didn't notice it until Thursday.

"It was just blowing up and the winds came and it got really gnarly," a woman named Jill said, who lives nearby.

Kenneth Kelley is with the U.S. Forest Service. He says a storm moved in, it dropped rain on the flames and created a lot of smoke.

"Thunder storm, it actually pushed a lot of smoke and ash in certain directions," Kelley said.

The ash traveled 40 miles -- all the way to Visalia and Exeter. Cell phones captured video and pictures of it falling on cars. The smoke also drifted across the Valley but it was thick in Springville.

Jocelyn Whiteman, who lives in Springville said, "We could smell the smoke pretty bad, our house was filled with it."

The smoke cleared up, Friday morning but there's still trouble in the mountains. Most of the Golden Trout Wilderness is closed along with several popular trails.

"We contacted a lot of people who had reservations in the area," Kelley said, "they either cancelled or they're not going to the area."

He says a handful of hikers were escorted out and anyone with plans to go in, will have to find a different trail.

Firefighters say the storm helped suppress the fire and there are no homes or structures threatened.


Fire information:

The Cabin Fire, located in the Golden Trout Wilderness on the Western Divide Ranger District in Sequoia National Forest, has spread to 2,619 acres. Rain allowed firefighters to begin line construction in an effort to get ahead of anticipated growth.

Fire officials plan to stop the spread of the fire to the north by utilizing the area where the Lion Fire burned in 2011, along Pecks Canyon as a holding line. To the south, the area burned by the Soda Fire in 2014, should slow it down along Mountaineer Creek.

Crews were able to use chainsaws along the Summit Trail to the west and Mountaineer Trail to the south of the fire to improve trail conditions to use as holding lines if needed. A secondary line is being constructed along the Summit Trail.

Over 200 firefighters are on scene trying to stop the spread of the Cabin Fire. Additional crews and resources have been ordered. An incident management team will be assuming command of the fire at 6 a.m. Saturday August 1.

Portions of the Golden Trout Wilderness are closed; a map of the closure area and additional fire information can be found on this website under the maps tab. If you are planning a backcountry trip into the Golden Trout Wilderness please call for trail status before you leave home. Please call (559) 462-0088 Monday through Sunday 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. for latest fire and weather updates.

Size: 2,619 Acres
Total Personnel: 295
Location: 8 miles northeast of Camp Nelson, CA in the Golden Trout Wilderness, Sequoia National Forest
Cause: Lightning
Related Topics:
wildfirefiretulare countyVisaliaExeter
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