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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

09/26/2020 SQF Complex Update for 9/26
Current Situation: Yesterday, smoke and slightly higher RH moderated fire behavior and reduced fire intensity. Spotting is still occurring and there is short range, minimal forward fire...
News - 09/26/2020
Sequioa Complex Progression Map 9.26Image options: [ Full Size ]


California recently experienced 12,000 lightning strikes, resulting in 560 new fires.  
The Sequoia Complex (#SQFComplex), is made up of the Castle and Shotgun fires. The fires were reported on August 19, 2020. Initial attack of these fires was a top priority.

Both fires are in the Sequoia National Forest. The majority of the Castle Fire is in the Sequoia National Forest, but it is also burning in the Inyo National Forest. A large portion of the Castle Fire is burning in the Golden Trout Wilderness Area. The several hundred acre Shotgun Fire is approximately 5 miles northwest of the Castle Fire. On Monday, September 14, the Castle Fire reached the southern boundary of Sequoia National Park. The Shotgun Fire is still approximately 1 mile south of the Sequoia National Park boundary.

Dry conditions, high temperatures and low relative humidity have combined to allow for active fire behavior. Forest fuel located within the fire area varies with elevation and some areas have limited fire history. These include stands of dense mixed conifer with heavy brush. The McNally burn scar (2002) and Schaefer burn scar (2017) contain a mixture of grass, brush and dead trees and are supporting fire spread. Terrain is steep and rugged with frequent falling rocks and other debris.

Hand crews, heavy equipment, engines and aircraft are all being used to attack the fire. Firefighters are aggressively fighting the fire and implementing point protection to protect critical values at risk.

The Tulare County Sheriff has issued evacuation orders and road closures are also in place. Refer to the Sequoia Complex Daily Update and the closure and announcement areas of this Inciweb page for information on changing conditions.

Firefighter and public safety are the number one priority as we continue to battle this blaze. On September 14, Northern Rockies Team 1 joined forces with CAL FIRE Team 6 in Unified Command. September 15, Sequoia National Park also became an integral part of the Unified Command structure. Although the fire perimeter has been divided into a West Zone and an East Zone we come together as ONE Team to share resources and implement strategies to protect life safety and values at risk.  CAL FIRE Team 6 is in  command of the West Zone of the Castle Fire and the California Interagency Incident Management Team 2 is in command of the East Zone.

East Castle Zone

Fire Information: 559-697-5148, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. 
Facebook: and   
Twitter: @sequoiaforest and @Inyo_NF 

West Castle Zone

West Castle Zone Information Line: (916) 618-3195 West Castle Zone Media Line: (559) 635-8206 (staffed 24 hours)
West Castle Zone Website:
West Castle Zone Email Updates (sign up):  
Evacuation Info:
Facebook: @CALFIRE_TUU


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 Personnel2,058
Size149,888 Acres
Percent of Perimeter Contained44%
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


Short-range Spotting


Group Torching

West Castle Zone: Fire continues to actively burn in the understory of the dense brush and overstory canopy. Interior islands continue to have minor flare ups. Rollout of hot material and full length logs continues in the steep drainages and canyons, increasing fire spread and allowing for small uphill runs. Higher temperatures and lower humidity is allowing smoldering material to become more active producing heavy smoke in some areas. Good humidity recovery is expected this evening, along with moderate downslope downcanyon winds.


Planned Actions


Branch I - Crews are focused on point protection for structures. Resources will continue to monitor, and hold completed lines and continue point protection to back country structures. Implement defensive firing in Ponderosa. Watch for and quickly attack any spot fires on the east side of the Kern River Canyon. Structure protection is ongoing at the Kern Canyon Ranger Station. Crews are working to secure fire line from Lion Meadows north to Little Horse Meadows. Resource shortage is limiting containment effort while point protection remains the highest priority.


In Branch 21 crew are continuing to build and improve on contingency line in coordination with our partners from the East Castle Zone. In Branch 29 Crews continue to improve contingency line, and build indirect hand lines, to protect values threatened. Crews in other divisions will continue with mop up / patrol, and are starting suppression repair identification and activities.

Projected Incident Activity

East Castle Zone:

Forecasted weather with a smoke inversion has moderated fire behavior. This will include surface fire activity with moderate rates of spread, single tree and group tree torching with spotting up to 1/2 mile. Fires greatest activity will be on the southern end from camp Nelson to Coy Flats in DIV Y. Residual heat from the initial fire front continues to impact the communities of Cedar Slope, Alpine Village, Jordan Peak, and Sequoia Crest. Threats to structures/infrastructure include Peppermint Work Center, Camp Nelson, Pierpoint, Ponderosa, Rogers Camp, Mountain Aire, and the Tule Indian Reservation. Due to suppression efforts, the threat has been minimized but still has potential for spotting over the Kern River. The east side of the fire will continue to threaten infrastructure and physical assets at Osa, Beach, Casa Vieja and Beck Meadows as well as the USGS seismic station, The Blackrock RS, and other infrastructure in the area. The cultural resources on Monache Mountain and in Monache Meadows will also be threatened. The fire in the Kern River Canyon on the north side will continue to threaten the Kern Canyon Ranger Station, private in-holdings and the Sequoia National Park. Overall fire growth is predicted to be the similar as the last 12 hours

West Castle Zone:

Fire growth to the east of 1000 feet/day. Transition with winds beginning to shift to an easterly flow at ridgetops. Most of the fire area will not be affected by the wind shift, with diurnal winds predominant. Mop up operations along recently burned control lines. Line construction continues north of the fire well into Sequoia NP. Open active fire threaten communities near Camp Nelson, Tule River Tribal lands, Balch Park, Dennison Mountain, Doyle Springs, South Fork of the Kaweah River, Milo, Silver City, Mineral King, and infrastructure at Case Mountain and Sequoia NP.

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.

Current Weather

Weather Concerns

East Castle Zone:

Stable conditions Saturday continued to favor high concentrations of smoke and poor visibility. Winds remained light and terrain driven with speeds generally less than 10 mph. Temperatures were near the seasonal norm with highs in the 70s and humidity minimums near 25%. Concerns Sunday and into the upcoming week is the return of above normal temperatures and low humidity. Beginning Sunday, wind flow is expected to shift and come from an easterly direction. This favors much warmer and drier weather with temperatures forecast to rise 5 to 10 degrees above normal and humidity minimums dipping into the lower teens and possibly single digits. The visibility is also expected to improve slightly during the afternoons due to deeper mixing, but any smoke is expected to settle back into the valleys and canyons at night due to the forecast weak transport winds.

West Castle Zone:

Stable air remained in place over the fire today keeping smoke trapped in the lower valleys. A few high clouds streamed by as well to add to the shading the smoke provided. Temperatures were 1-3 degrees higher today and RHs 3-5 percent lower. Winds continued to remain terrain driven at less than 10 mph.

Smoky conditions will remain through the night with low temperatures in the 50s and RHs maxing out between 50-60%. Drainage winds less than 5 mph will be seen through the night.

The weather pattern will start to change on Sunday as the lower atmosphere becomes more unstable allowing more smoke dispersion. With less smoke visibility will increase but so will high temperatures. High temperatures will be 5-7 degrees warmer and RHs 8-10% lower. This will be the start of a warming trend that will last into at least the middle of the week.