Smoke from Rough Fire covers mountains, settles in Valley

FRIANT, Calif. (KFSN) -- The smoke from the Rough Fire closed Kings Canyon National Park and many surrounding camping areas. However, it still had an impact on places that were open and full of visitors.

After a smoky holiday weekend in the mountains, Labor Day travelers had a smoky ride home.

"It's pretty bad, pretty thick. It looks like it's snowing with the ashes coming down," said Nick Soria.

Smoke from the 95,000-acre blaze is covering the mountains and filling the Central Valley.

"The smoke is the worst it's been today in the foothills and camps since I've been here for two weeks," said Josh Hall, a climate analyst with the U.S. Forest Service.

Hall says the plume from the fire is spreading as far north as Sacramento. He said, "Each evening we're expecting smoke to drain into the Valley at night and lift as the Valley heats, and air quality should improve each afternoon."

But that doesn't mean the air is going to be good. "Unfortunately, for the near-term anywhere near this fire, the air quality is going to be unhealthy," said Hall.

While most folks were heading out of the mountains this Monday, that didn't stop others from heading for the hills and trying to make the most of it.

"It doesn't seem to be bothering us; we're just enjoying the day," said Felicia Quintero.

But it's certainly not healthy in the mountains or the Valley. You can't see how bad it is when you are right in it. But in the Valley, you can't see the mountains, and from the Sierra, you can't see the Valley.

Rough Fire - Basic Information

Size: 95,183 acres

Containment: 31 percent

Total personnel: 1,940


The Rough Fire has grown to 95,183 acres and is currently the largest active fire in California. There are 1,940 personnel currently assigned to the Rough Fire. Containment increased to 31%. Rough Fire Information: (559) 332-2028.

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. Light and variable transport winds are expected primarily from the south, with increased impacts expected in San Joaquin Valley foothills northwest of the fires. Residual smoke that has not cleared the area, will add to impacts from new smoke being produced. Unhealthy to Hazardous conditions are expected in communities near the fire.

Air Quality Tomorrow: Similar conditions are expected tomorrow, with increased impacts expected in the Owens Valley.


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. Ranger programs and hikes have been cancelled due to poor air quality however they may occur if the air quality improves.

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.
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