Windy Fire leads to more evacuations

The KNP Complex Fire and Windy Fire burns a collective 132,359 acres in the national forest, both fires in single digits for containment

TULARE COUNTY – Over 100,000 acres of forest are being laid to waste by the destructive Windy and KNP Complex Fires. To make matters even worse the containment on both are in the single digits. In the case of the Windy Fire, containment is dropping.

As of Monday, Sept. 27 the KNP Complex Fire northeast of Three Rivers has grown to 46,976 acres, and is 8% contained. One week prior the fire was half that size, but was 0% contained. While a steady flow of evacuation orders and warnings were coming out of the sheriff’s office for residents in the path of the Windy Fire, there was only one warning for those in the KNP Complex Fire area.

The Sheriff noted last Wednesday, Sept. 22 that he was issuing an evacuation warning for the communities of Eshom and Heartland Camp, including Eshom Valley Drive from the Fresno County Line south to Tarbell Pocket, and North Mountain Road, 468 North to the county line.

The warning includes all structures, side roads, associated roads, and forest service roads.

The Windy Fire which started on the Tule River Reservation from a Sept. 9 lightning storm, has grown well into the Sequoia National Forest burning through 85,383 acres as of Monday, Sept. 27. The fire was just over a quarter of that size last Monday at 23,801 acres. It was also more maintained at 4%, but as of this week that number has come down to 2%.

Along with it has been a slew of evacuation warnings and orders. As recently as Monday Sheriff Mike Boudreaux issued an evacuation warning for both sides of the Kern River from the Gold Ledge Campground south to River Kern, Tulare County, at the Tulare / Kern border. The warning includes all private properties, businesses, residences, structures, campsites, campgrounds, Forest Service roads, access roads, attached roads and trails.

The temporary evacuation point, where residents can find information and assistance, is at Porterville College, 100 E. College Ave. Individuals who may need assistance evacuating may call 2-1-1. Older individuals who are 60 years of age or older who need assistance with evacuation or information may call the senior hotline at 1-800-321-2462.

The Sheriff’s office states that when preparing to evacuate, please consider bringing important documents, necessary medication, changes of clothing and hygiene items. If you are able to evacuate your domestic animals, remember to pack food, leashes and other items. If you are not able to plan to evacuate your domestic animals or livestock, please make arrangements with Tulare County Animal Services prior to transporting your animals to an available shelter location by completing the Fire Assistance Evacuation Form located on the Tulare County Animal Services web site at tcanimalservices.org/animalservices/resources/animal-evacuation-form.

Evacuation orders were issued throughout all last week for the Windy Fire. Last Friday an order was issued for the communities of Sugar Loaf, Sugarloaf Mountain Park, Sugarloaf Village, Saw Mill, McClenney Tract, Sawmill, White River, Idlewild, Posey, Panorama Heights, Poso Park, Balance Rock and Spear Creek.

Earlier that day there was another order issued for the communities of California Hot Springs and Pine Flat areas. The evacuation order included M-504 at Tyler Creek, Southeast to Pine Flat, West to M-56 and Fire Control Road, North up Tyler Creek Road. The day before, Thursday, Sept. 23, an evacuation order was issued for Sherman Pass Rd to Corral Creek. That order included all structures, Forest Roads, dirt roads, access road, attached roads and campgrounds.

The day before that on Wednesday, Sept. 22 an evacuation order was issued for the communities of Camp Nelson, Pierpoint, Coy Flat, Mountain Aire, Cedar Slope, Alpine Village, Rogers Camp and Sequoia Crest.

Tulare County Animal Services is sheltering animals and maintaining the health and safety of the animals in their care and custody during the KNP Complex and Windy wildfires. The Friends of Tulare County is accepting donations to support the Tulare County Animal Services general fund during local and wide-scale emergencies. Donors can designate their check or electronic donation as September Lightning Fires.

For more information on how to donate visit www.friendsoftularecounty.org or www.FriendsTC.org Friends of Tulare County is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the safety, health, and well-being of all residents of Tulare County.

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