Rough Fire crews work to protect trees, cabins, and historic monuments

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The Rough Fire remains at 25-percent containment Thursday morning, as firefighters work hard to stop it from growing. (KFSN)

The Rough Fire remains at 25-percent containment Thursday morning, as firefighters work hard to stop it from growing.

The wildfire is burning just two miles away from the Cedar Grove community, and it has scorched over 80-thousand acres so far.

Containing wildfire that's larger than Fresno is now a race against time. "We got evacuated from the Montecito Sequoia Resort. It was very smokey. Eyes stinging hard to breathe. We were thinking we should probably leave," said Nancy perman, Massachusetts.

The plumes of smoke are traveling for miles, and for Perman, it meant having to change her plans on Tuesday at the very last minute. "We said really is the resort really closed and they said yea you gotta be out by eleven. It was 10:15."

Perman was evacuated from an area below Hume Lake. But the unhealthy smoke is not the only concern on the south side of the fire. Firefighters are working to protect three main areas: Converse Basin, the Buck Rock area, and Cedar Grove.

The last line of defense for firefighters is a reflective wrapping material that's made of fiberglass. It serves to protect what's important.

At Converse Basin, firefighters are protecting the Boole Tree, Chicago Stump, and cabins. At the Buck Rock area they've already wrapped the historic lookout point. And the community of Cedar Grove is also covered in the protective wrap now that the fire is just two miles away.

"We've cleaned a lot of the vegetation around there to keep the fire out of the crowns of the trees and we've done a lot of preparation work in the event of a fire in and around those structures," said Mike Lindbery, information officer.

Lindbery says firefighters are also getting exhausted from the long summer. It's his hope they can fortify the containment lines around the fire in the next two weeks and get the crews back home.

Rough Fire Overview

The Rough Fire has grown to 81,549 acres and is currently the largest active fire in California. There are 1,901 personnel currently assigned to the Rough Fire. Containment remains at 25%. There are no evacuations or evacuation warnings in effect. Rough Fire Information: (559) 332-2028. The information line is located at the Incident Command Post in Squaw Valley on Highway 180.

Unhealthy air conditions are expected in low lying areas as smoke is expected to remain in drainages until early afternoon. Smoke is expected to again settle into Kings Canyon, and low lying areas near the fire such as Hume Lake and Cedar Grove this evening.

Today's Air Quality Report (PDF)

It is important to remember that public and firefighter safety is the first priority. Please drive with extreme caution as there is a significant amount of large, heavy equipment moving around the area. Drive with your lights on to make yourself more visible, especially in the morning and evening hours. Remember to wear your seatbelts at all times. Do not drive while talking or texting on your cell phone. Distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents.

Various types of aircraft are used in support of firefighting efforts. There has been a combination of both fixed wing aircraft and helicopters used during the suppression efforts on the Rough Fire. THe aircraft is managed by an Air Operations Branch Director.

All campgrounds in Kings Canyon National Park are now closed until further notice. - The Kings Canyon Visitor Center will be open with modified hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. - The General Grant Tree, Panoramic Point, park trails, John Muir Lodge, Grant Grove Cabins, restaurant, market, and gift shop are open.

Recreation opportunities on the Hume Lake Ranger District have been impacted by the Rough Fire. Stony Creek Village Resort will be open for day use through the Labor Day weekend. Montecito Lake Resort is closed.

Fire crews are coordinating closely with agency resource advisors to protect natural and cultural resources at risk in Converse Basin. Approximately 12,000 feet of hose has been placed to protect the Boole Tree, Chicago Stump and sensitive wildlife habitats in that area. Relics of both prehistoric and historic use remain in the grove, but remember; all these items are protected by law and must remain in the woods. The oldest verified sequoia stump is in Converse Basin Grove and is just over 3,200 years old.

Giant Sequoias are different from most trees in that they need periodic wildfire to clear soil and vegetation in order for them to reproduce.

The Chicago Stump was originally known as the General Noble Tree. In 1897, it was cut down into sections and reassembled at the Chicago World's Fair. This magnificent display was referred to as the "California Hoax," because of widespread skepticism that a species as big as the giant sequoia ever existed.

The Boole Tree is a giant sequoia in Converse Basin grove in Sequoia National Forest, in the edge of Kings Canyon, 5 miles (8 km) from Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park in the Sierra Nevada in eastern California. Converse Basin used to be a large grove, but was logged of most of its giant sequoias between 1892 and 1918.

Due to current fire conditions, fire closures and/or restrictions on public lands are expected for the 2015 hunting season. If you plan to hunt on U. S. Forest Service lands this year, it is important to monitor the individual forest's websites for updates on forest closures and contact the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

High Sierra Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Program called in to support firefighters. With modified Jeeps and ATV's this crew helps bring equipment and people to the North Zone of the fire.

United States Forest Service mules and pack strings from the Sierra National Forest are currently assigned to the north side of the Rough Fire. For over 150 years packers and their stock have worked for the forest service. The USFS has utilized pack stock since their inception over 100 years ago. Today USFS pack strings are still working in our public lands to support fire crews, trail crews and other resource related entities that perform their duties within Roadless areas.

The suppression strategy for the Rough Fire will utilize a combination of direct, indirect and point protection. A key element of the plan is flexibility and the ability to apply the right resource, to the right task, at the right time, for the right duration. It is understood fireline will be constructed only where it is feasible and safe to do so. It is the responsibility of the Incident Commander and their staff to work with the Agency Administrators to ensure the plan is regularly reviewed and updated.

Basic Information

Size: 81,549 Acres

Containment: 25 percent

Total Personnel: 1,901
Related Topics:
wildfirefireforest firefresno countyKings Canyon National ParkSequoia National ParkHume Lake
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