Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Today's Rough Fire Update

Click on the following link to see a map and commentary regarding the current location of the fire, safety news, and ongoing efforts efforts to control the fire.

Current Rough Fire News

Rough Fire Update - Sunday August 23rd

Here is some news shared with me via Cindy Lindstrom:

From: Melinda Lee
Sent: Sunday, August 23, 2015 7:39 PM
Subject: Rough Fire Update - Interagency Fire Briefing

Dave and I attended the interagency fire briefing at Wishon today.  The room was packed with folks from the US Forest Service, CalFire, National Park Service, Fresno County Sheriffs (including THE elected sheriff), Fresno County Board of Commissioners elected representative for this mountain area (Poochigian), someone from Senator Diane Feinstein's office (who has been attending all of the briefings), California Highway Patrol, and PG&E people.  Channel 30 and Channel 24 were there.  The locals attending were PG&E people who live at Wishon, cabin owners from Courtright, cabin owners from down toward Sawmill Flat, Clyde Pack Station (Deborah Clyde), Wishon Resort, PG&E folks from Blackrock Reservoir facility (the fire has burned right up to it), a couple of women from Mile High, and Steve Haze (executive director of Yosemite/Sequoia Resource Conservation & Development Council - lives at Auberry).  I wore my Camp El-O-Win teeshirt and hat.  That did not go unnoticed.

Outside, the air was thick with smoke.  The smell of smoke carried some of the low country smell of grass and brush.  We drove over to the dam for the view of the smoke.  Even though we were right by the dam, we could scarcely see it.

The incident commander, Dave Cooper, gave the briefing.  Their communications person was there and helped moderate the session.  After the briefing, attendees were allowed to ask questions.  

Most people were concerned about Wishon and if the fire was going to burn to there.  Right now there is no way to know for sure what will happen.  But they are working to stop it from jumping across the North Fork of the Kings River.  Down at Balch Camp the fire has burned almost all the way to the little town.  They have been back burning slowly from the town to the north down to the active fire line to the south (at that point).  They are working slowly and using air support to keep the back burns cool enough so they don't create too much heat and thereby burn across the river or into Balch Camp.  

The fire has burned down to the edge of Blackrock Reservoir.  They said the fire backed down on its own very nicely.  There is concern that the fire might burn over the top from Spanish and go around Blackrock and jump the river.  There is a lot of ground between Balch and Blackrock and there is too much distance between the fire and the river to do back burning at this time.  The columns we have been seeing the last couple of days have come from back burns.  They are preparing to put in fire line along the Crown Valley trail to Rancheria Creek.  The purpose of this would be to keep the fire from burning right on into Wishon.

Of interest to us at Dinkey Creek is whether or not the fire will jump the river.  It could jump down near Balch in which case it could burn up the Dinkey drainage.  They would look to Fence Meadow ridge as the next fire line in that event.  If it crosses over up by Blackrock, then Patterson Mountain is the line.  They are building lines ahead just in case.  

If the fire does jump the river and threatens the McKinley Grove Road, they will evacuate Wishon and Courtright because McKinley Grove Road is now the only way out since Blackrock Road is closed due to the fire.  

The danger to Dinkey Creek comes if the fire jumps the river and burns over this direction, either up the canyon or over by way of Fence Meadow to Dinkey Mountain.  This has been a slowly developing fire.  If it continues to move slowly, there is a chance a change in the weather could change the situation for the better in a hurry.  But if the wind picks up, if the fire hits a really flammable area, if if if...then we may be looking at evacuating here.

It was recommended that when you evacuate, do not turn off utilities, DO turn off propane tanks, leave both gates unlocked.  You have to have some sort of identification that shows you are the rightful owner of the property in order to return after the evacuation.  Otherwise they will not let you return to your property.  Also, they said if you have stored water (water tank), you can leave a sign or note at the gate that says so.

Dave and I figure the next two or three days will reveal a lot.  If they can hold the fire to the east side of the North Fork canyon, we will be okay.  If the fire jumps, we need to pay attention very closely.  We will be monitoring and will provide updates as the situation develops.