Rough Fire grows to 84,070 acres, 25 percent contained

Watch the video for extended coverage from Action News reporter Brian Johnson.
DUNLAP, Calif. (KFSN) -- The largest wildfire in California is creating problems this Labor Day weekend. Communities and campgrounds near the Rough Fire are dealing with extremely poor air quality. The fire has burned more than 83,000 acres and is still just 25 percent contained.

All campgrounds in Kings Canyon are temporarily closed until further notice because of the smoke impacts. Today, areas like Wishon Reservoir, Cedar Grove and Hume Lake are seeing unhealthy levels, according to the air quality index.

About a week after permanent residents of Hume Lake were allowed to go back to their homes, most staff of Hume Lake Christian Camps are once again leaving the area because of the smoke. Executive director Dathan Brown says the decision was made after listening to recommendations from health officials.

Hume Lake Christian Camps is also canceling all on campus activities, including retreats, through Oct. 4. Brown says the camp still has to clean up the significant smoke damage to some of their buildings.

Rough Fire - Basic Information

Size: 84,070 acres

Containment: 25 percent

Total personnel: 2,038


There are no evacuations or evacuation warnings in effect, this includes the Hume Lake Area.

The Rough Fire has grown to 84,070 acres and is currently the largest active fire in California. There are 2,038 personnel currently assigned to the Rough Fire. Containment remains at 25%. Rough Fire Information: (559) 332-2028. The information line is located at the Incident Command Post in Squaw Valley on Highway 180.

Tonight's community meeting regarding the Rough Fire was broadcast live on USTREAM. The meeting was held at Dunlap School in Dunlap, CA. Please log on to join California Interagency Incident Management Team 3 Incident Commander Mark von Tillow as he discussed the current fire situation. Air resource advisor Josh Hall spoke regarding local air quality. Incident Commander von Tillow introducing Todd Pechota, Incident Commander of the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team. The Northern Rockies Team will be taking command of the south zone of the fire tomorrow at 0600.

Air Quality Today: Heavy concentrations of smoke are expected near the fire today. Smoke will be slow to lift and transport will primarily terrain and diurnally driven. Smoke that does rise out of Kings Canyon, will be slowly transported to the northeast, with potential impacts in the Owens Valley. Residual smoke that has not cleared the area, will add to impacts from new smoke being produced. Unhealthy to Very Unhealthy conditions are expected in communities near the fire.

Air Quality Tomorrow: Similar conditions are expected tomorrow.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The importance of communication on large scale incidents can be summed up with a single word, Safety. With effective communication, fire personnel as well as the civilian population can be better protected from the dangers of fire and firefighting activities. For a video of Communications Unit Leader

The Rough Fire began July 31, 2015. On Tuesday, August 18, the Rough Fire spotted across the South Fork of the Kings River and crossed Highway 180 in the area of Horseshoe Bend and became established in the Lockwood Creek Drainage. As a result of the fire crossing the river, the pre-planned evacuation of the Hume Lake area was implemented. Over 2,500 campers, hikers, employees, and residents were notified and safely evacuated from Hume Lake Christian Camp, private cabins, campgrounds, and the surrounding area in just over 2 1/2 hours. null
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