Sheriff, Fire departments downgrade evacuation orders for SQF Fire

Several communities remain under an evacuation order while others fall under a warning

TULARE COUNTY – Smoke still blankets parts of the Valley but the nearest fire to residents in Tulare County is seeming to relent. As of press time the SQF Complex Fire has burned 158,945 acres and destroyed 228 structures, but is 65% contained.

Over the weekend Tulare County Sheriff and Fire Departments downgraded parts of their previously issued evacuation orders. Residents who live in the area of Bear Creek Road from the Rancheria Fire Control Road to and including the residence at 44583 Bear Creek Road had their order downgraded to a warning.

The departments noted communities still under an evacuation order include: Alpine Village, Cedar Slope, Pyles Boys Camp, Redwood Drive, Sequoia Crest, as well as Mountain Aire and Points Between in the Upper Tulare River Corridor; east of the Sequoia National Forest boundary, from the intersection of Hwy 190 and Balch Park; Balch Park Road and Blue ridge Road; Bear Creek Road and Rancheria Fire Road. (Excluding parts of Bear Creek homes under a warning)

The departments also noted the communities under an evacuation warning for residents only are: Camp Nelson, Pier Point, Ponderosa, Doyle Springs, South Fork Drive past Conley Bridge (south of Heidi Drive, Silver City, and Mineral King).

Residents who live on Blue Ridge Drive between Balch Park Road and the Gate at Grouse Valley

Residents who live on Bear Creek Road from Rancheria Fire Control Road to the address of 44853 Bear Creek Road.

According to the Forest Service the fire remains active on the northwest corner, crews are working on building and improving containment lines for perimeter control across the north end of the fire. The portion of the fire that has crossed the South Fork of the Kaweah River is backing, meaning slowing moving down a hill and is burning in light fuels. It is currently being held by rivers, creeks, and trails. Fire crews will work on finishing a contingency line using bulldozers, from the South Fork of the Kaweah River to Mineral King Road to create an added protection for the community of Three Rivers.

Temperatures are expected to drop over the next three to five days when the high-pressure system in the area begins to weaken. Despite the cooling temperatures, it is expected to remain dry with very low humidity levels. With such low humidity, all vegetation is highly susceptible to fire. A more significant change in the weather is expected later this week and may bring stronger winds to the area which may bring the potential to increase fire activity.

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