California fire command hands over containment efforts after reaching 75%
SEQUOIA AND KINGS CANYON NATIONAL FOREST – The KNP Complex Fire has hit a milestone toward closing out the major operations of fire containment. On Tuesday, Nov. 2, command of the fire will move from the California Interagency Incident Management Team to the “host units.”
After hitting 75% containment and stalling within 88,000 acres consumed, the fire will be managed based on land jurisdiction between the National Park Service and US Forest Service. However, both agencies will work together to utilize resources where it makes the most operational sense to successfully meet objectives and keep crews safe.
As of Monday, Nov. 1 there were 371 personnel on the ground including, six crews, seven engines, two water tenders, one dozer, 18 excavators and three helicopters. All personnel from the incoming teams will be integrated into the current operations to get a clear picture of actions being taken on the ground and ask clarifying questions. This process is extremely important to a successful transition where firefighters continue to meet objectives safely.
No growth occurred on the fire as of Monday and crews were continuing with suppression repair operations. Heavy equipment such as a dozer, excavators, and skids are working to repair contingency lines on Logger Point to level out the landscape and pile debris removed during suppression activities. Firefighters are patrolling the perimeter where it is accessible and safe to do so. Aviation resources are available to assist crews on the ground and perform reconnaissance flights as weather conditions allow.
There are still extensive closures affecting the park from the fire, though. According to the park many roads, campgrounds, lodging, and services are closed in both parks. While some areas have reopened in Kings Canyon, it is not possible to drive into Sequoia National Park, with the exception of South Fork Road. Use the Big Stump entrance to Kings Canyon National Park at Highway 180. The Sequoia National Park entrance at Highway 198 and all roads in Sequoia National Park are closed.
Last week had a banner day for rainfall that help quell the flames of the KNP Complex Fire. The statewide storm soaked the valley floor and boosted containment with snowfall. Firefighters had already fought back the wildfire raging through the Sequoia National Park and Sequoia National Forest and countless groves of giant sequoias, among the oldest living things on earth. More than 500 personnel, seven fire crews, 15 engines, four water tenders, seven helicopters and two dozers worked tirelessly over the last 47 days to contain the fire.
Even before the rains arrived, the fire was at 63% containment and fire crews were already transitioning to suppression repair work in areas of the fire that were not contained but had not shown any movement, according to the California incident management team. As of Oct. 25, the KNP Complex Fire had burned 88,307 acres since it was ignited by lightning on Sept. 10.