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Rattlesnake Fire

Unit Information

Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks
National Park Service
47050 Generals Highway
Three Rivers, CA 93271

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This incident is no longer being updated.

A small area of light white smoke is on the left and a deep forested canyon is on the right. Blue sky is visible in the distance.Image options: [ Full Size ]

The Rattlesnake Fire was discovered on August 16 after substantial lightning occurred over the area. It started within the Sequoia and Kings Canyon Wilderness in the Kern River drainage and is now only actively burning just into the Inyo National Forest, east of the Kern River Ranger Station. The fire is burning in steep inaccessible terrain with sparse ground fuels and pockets of dead and down trees. While the size of the fire has increased, there are no current threats to life or property.

In coordination, Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks and Inyo National Forest, are using a confine and contain full-suppression strategy utilizing natural rock features, existing trails, and other natural barriers as containment lines. Not only does this limit exposure to firefighters and minimizes impacts in the wilderness, it allows firefighting resources to be available to battle other wildfires across the area and state that have a greater threat to life and property.

Following the first major snowstorm of this autumn November 7 -8, fire managers continue to conduct helicopter recon missions over the fire. There was noticeable snow melt off by mid-week following the storm system and at this time, there appears to be no snow remaining.

The fire continues to back toward the Golden Trout Creek on the Inyo National Forest from the top of the ridge that separates the national forest from Sequoia National Park. Fire crews from Inyo National Forest and San Bernardino National Forest flew into the Little Whitney Cabin area on November 21 to install structure protection wrap for the cabins and buildings in the area. While fire is not threating these assets at this time, fire managers want to be prepared, as the meadow and surrounding fuels are extremely dry for this time of year. 

On December 2, fire managers conducted a helicopter flight over the area with the objective of mapping and observing fire behavior. Based on the minimal activity observed and concurrence by the unified commanders, crews will not be inserted for now.
Another overflight was done on December 5. The Rattlesnake Fire is still active above the Golden Trout Creek but is surrounded by an old burn area. There is no visible flame or smoke along the actual Golden Trout Creek at this time.  
As fire activity has greatly reduced, a fire crew was sent to the Little Whitney Cabins on December 9 to remove the structure wrap from associated structures. Precipitation in the form of snow and rain is expected over the area during the middle of the December. 

National Park Service (NPS) Closures:

Due to the Rattlesnake Fire and SQF Complex, the NPS has a closure for lands within Sequoia National Park in the Kern River drainage within the following boundary. To read the closure order, please look at the Closures tab on this page. A map of this information can be found under the Maps tab.

USDA Forest Service (USFS) Closures:

The Inyo National Forest Closure Order for the Castle Fire still applies to this area. To read the closure order, please look at the Closures tab on this page.

For questions about access to Inyo National Forest lands and the eastern Sierra Nevada, please contact the Eastern Sierra Visitor Center via phone, 760-876-6200,  Monday- Friday, 8:00 am -4:30 pm, closed federal holidays. Please note that the Visitor Center in Lone Pine is closed for in-person visits.


Smoke may be visible from Kennedy Meadows / Horseshoe Meadows depending on weather and topography. Smoke will be visible near and from high-country vistas especially if there are no clouds. Fire managers are working with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.

Associated Websites:

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Current Conditions Webpage

Inyo National Forest Webpage

Air Quality Information from San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District

Current Air Quality from AirNow.Gov

Basic Information

Current as of
Incident TypeWildfire
Date of OriginSunday August 16th, 2020 approx. 10:15 AM
LocationThe Rattlesnake Fire is burning in Sequoia National Park and Inyo National Forest. See the Maps tab for specific location information.
Incident CommanderSequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks (Lopez) and Inyo National Forest (McDivitt)
Coordinates36.42 latitude, -118.448 longitude

Current Situation

Total Personnel7
Size8,419 Acres
Percent of Perimeter Contained100%
Fuels Involved

High elevation conifers, forest litter, dead and down woody debris, standing dead trees, and understory vegetation.


Planned Actions

Continue to monitor by air with possible crew insertion as necessary.

Current Weather

Weather Concerns