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SQF Complex

Unit Information

Sequoia National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
1839 S. Newcomb St
Porterville, CA 93257

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Incident Contacts

East Castle Zone
Phone: 559-697-5148
Hours: Daily 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.

West Castle Zone (General)
Phone: 916-618-3195
Hours: staffed 24 hours

West Castle Zone (Media)
Phone: 559-635-8206
Hours: staffed 24 hours

Alicia Embrey
Phone: 559-339-4063
Hours: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Highlighted Activity

10/01/2020 SQF Complex Daily Update, Oct. 1
Current Situation:At 7:00 AM this morning, California Interagency Incident Management Team 2 transitioned into command of the entire SQF Complex Fire. Thank you, Incident Commander Jeff Veik, and all.
News - 10/01/2020
Looking at fire column from a distrant ridgeImage options: [ Full Size ]

October 1, 2020:      |     Maps     |     Update     |     Video     |      Photos     |      Facebook       |     Twitter    |     

Current Situation:

At 7:00 AM this morning, California Interagency Incident Management Team 2 transitioned into command of the entire SQF Complex Fire. Thank you, Incident Commander Jeff Veik, and all of CAL FIRE Team 6 for the leadership they provided on this incident.

Firefighters had another productive day on the SQF Complex yesterday. In the northwest section of the fire, there was a half-acre spot fire that was spotted in a large timber pile and worked with helicopters. Weather will be a factor in the fight today. Winds will be primarily terrain driven and vary in direction for the rest of the week. Lower relative humidity and temperatures are forecasted to be ten degrees above normal. Containment increased in the southern portion with the fire showing little activity and movement yesterday and overnight.

The primary objective continues to be full perimeter control, and under a full suppression strategy.

Today, mule trains will be traveling from Blackrock to Beach Meadows and Casa Vieja, with assistance from CONAFOR Team 3, to begin removing the structure protection wrap from the cabins in the area. Some of these cabins are over one hundred years old. We are sad to report that although wrapped and prepped, the Jiffy Pop cabin in Grey Meadows was destroyed.

Crews will continue to focus on the area between Coy Flat and the Kern River drainage, securing existing fireline. Shifting winds will have some impact on this portion of the fire. The Northwest perimeter of the fire will be patrolled, and any spot fires will be worked with aircraft. Crews will continue to work on falling many hazard trees and snags that pose a threat to containment and human safety. Areas of containment will continue to be monitored with hazards being identified and removed. This process will help repopulation efforts and lead into suppression repair, removing and identifying hazard trees and minimizing negative fire effects in the area. Large amounts of smoke from interior burning is expected, due to heavy downed fuels that continue to burn slowly inside the fire's perimeter.

The process of backhaul, breaking down and removing equipment and supplies no longer needed in the fire area, remains on the east portion of the fire and around several communities.


  • Evacuation Orders, Map and Warnings forTulare County.

  • Areas Downgraded to an Evacuation Warning:

    • Mineral King

    • Silver City

    • The remainder of South Fork Drive.

    • Residences on Blue Ridge Drive

  • Areas removed from Evacuation Warning List:

    • Three Rivers area, including but not limited to, areas of Three Rivers, South Fork Drive (below Conley Bridge), south of Heidi Drive and Cherokee Oaks

    • Balch Park, including Bear Creek to Rancheria Fire Road and Balch Park Road to Blue Ridge Drive

·       All remaining Evacuation Orders and Evacuation Warnings remain in place

  • Tulare County has a structure assessment form for evacuees affected by the fire to provide contact information for County officials as the damage assessment continues.

  • An interactive map showing damaged structures is available.

  • Tulare County Health & Human Services Agency hotline for affected citizens - (559) 802-9790

  • The Red Cross has evacuation centers at Porterville Community College and the North Exeter Community Building. Also, call the Red Cross at 1-800-RED-CROSS or


  • Sequoia and Inyo National Forests closure is extended due to fire weather severity and resource availability: Regional Order No. 20-19

  • Regional Emergency Fire Restrictions are in place: Regional Order No. 20-18

  • The Bureau of Land Management Bakersfield Office has issued a temporary emergency closure.

  • Road closures due to the SQF Complex may be found by clicking here.

  • The Temporary Flight Restriction (9/19/20) may be found here. Drones over the fire area are prohibited.

  • Sequoia National Park has reopened to the public.

Smoke: Current air quality may be found at

Alert: To receive emergency notifications regarding evacuations and critical events sign up at

Cooperating and Assisting Organizations: Tulare County Fire Department, Tulare County Sheriff's Department, California Highway Patrol, Tule River Tribe, California Rehabilitation Center Fire Department, California Conservation Corps, California Office of Emergency Services, and Bureau of Land Management.

Safety Message: This will be a long duration event. Residents in the affected areas are encouraged to continue to prepare for the possibility of fire in their area in advance. Go to to learn how to prepare.

Basic Information

Current as of
Incident TypeWildfire
Date of OriginWednesday August 19th, 2020 approx. 07:15 AM
Location25 miles north of Kernville, CA
Incident CommanderMike Minton, California Interagency Incident Management Team 2 Jeff Veik, Cal Fire IMT 6
Incident DescriptionWildfire Complex
Coordinates36.255 latitude, -118.497 longitude

Current Situation

Total Personnel1,440
Size151,436 Acres
Percent of Perimeter Contained61%
Estimated Containment DateSaturday October 10th, 2020 approx. 12:00 AM
Fuels Involved

Timber (Litter and Understory)

Chaparral (6 feet)

Timber (Grass and Understory)

Fuel models located within the fire area vary with elevation and some have limited fire history. These include stands of dense mixed conifer with heavy brush below timber lines. The McNally burn scar (2002),Pier burn scar (2017), and Schaefer burn scar(2017) contain a mixture of grass, brush and snags which are all supporting fire spread. Fire is burning within areas of significant tree mortality contributing to significant fire resistance to control efforts.

Significant Events


West Castle Zone: Minimal overnight humidity recovery as well as warm and dry conditions, allowed fire activity to continue to smolder heavily above in in the thermal belt located at 3,500 elevation. Humidity recover was poor in the upper elevations. Below 3,500 elevation, minor humidity recovery occurred, but hot material continued to smolder. Heat from the heavy dead down logs and fire weakened timber continues to produce an abundance of smoke, adding to the already thick inversion layer found in the canyons and valleys.


Planned Actions


Branch I - Resources will continue to monitor, and hold completed lines. Watch for and quickly attack any spot fires on the east side of the Kern River Canyon. Resource shortage is limiting containment effort. We will be completing some suppression repair and mitigating hazards affected repopulation.


Crews in all divisions will continue with patrol, and suppression repair identification and activities.

Projected Incident Activity

East Zone:

Almost all threats from fire have been abated. Threats from secondary fire effects such as hazard trees and soil erosion remain across the entire fire.

West Castle Zone: Minimal fire growth is expected overnight. Fire located within and above the thermal belt at 3,500 elevation will be the most active areas

Shotgun Fire:

Minimal fire growth is expected.


Castle Fire started on 8/19. Shotgun Fire started on 8/18. Both fires were started by lightning and were made into a complex on 8/24.

decrease in Acres due to improved fire perimeter mapping

Block #42 Projected Final Size and #43 Anticipated Containment Date are dependent on resource availability of which we are currently limited with several unstaffed divisions due to fire requiring a shift in tactics from building containment line to point protection. Critical needs for resources continue and if received a sooner containment date and projected final size could be estimated.

CAL FIRE IMT 6 in Command of West Castle Zone, and will transition command to California IMT 2 on 10/01/2020 at 0700 PST

California IMT 2 in Command of East Castle Zone

Current Weather

Weather Concerns

East Castle Zone:

High pressure over the area provided another unseasonably warm day. Light transport winds resulted in high concentrations of smoke, so in spite of the warm temperatures, greater shading muted the both the temperature and Rh. Highs ranged from the lower 70s to the upper 80s, down 3 degrees from yesterday. Rh minimums ranged from 16 to 19%, up 3% from yesterday. Winds were terrain driven 5 to 15 mph. Concerns the next several days will be focused around poor visibility due to higher smoke concentrations. High pressure over the area is resulting in very light transport winds. Deeper mixing and instability may allow for somewhat better ventilation during the afternoon, but smoke will settle to near ground level at night.

West Castle Zone:

Thermal belts overnight were deep as inversions were fairly shallow. Low temperatures on the midslopes of the fire didn't recover better than a 20 percent RH and temperatures stayed in the mid 70s. The amount of smoke over the fire continued to decrease as the atmosphere became a little more unstable allowing better dispersion. High temperatures were again 5 to 10 degrees above average with highs near 90 in the lower elevations and near 80 in the upper elevations. RHs bottomed out in the teens in the afternoon as well.

Thermal belts will again develop tonight with lows very similar to previous nights and RHs not recovering above 20 percent in some locations along the thermal belt. Low level inversions will be fairly shallow.

Terrain driven winds will continue with high pressure remaining in control of the region through Saturday. Temperatures will stay 5 to 10 degrees above average through the week with highs near 90 in the lower elevations and near 80 in the upper elevations. Both locations can expect RHs to dip into the teens during the afternoon.