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Windy Fire

Unit Information

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

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Windy Fire Update, September 20, 2021

Windy Fire Wildfire
News – 9/20/2021

VIRTUAL PUBLIC MEETING Coming Soon!
Please watch for details on this update for tomorrow, Inciweb, the Sequoia National Forest Webpage, Facebook and Twitter.

The Windy Fire is 25,191 acres with 4% containment. The fire is burning on the Tule River Indian Reservation and in the Sequoia National Forest, including the Giant Sequoia National Monument. On Sunday afternoon, a passing cold front brought gusty northwestern winds as firefighters worked to contain the fire’s spread. Minimal fire spread last night will enable firefighters to engage the fire today as the strong winds subside.

The Western Divide Highway (M107) is being impacted by the fire, as are the communities of Peppermint, Quaking Aspen, Camp Whitsitt, and Johnsondale. Firefighters have successfully defended structures in these areas and are also assessing and protecting homes in the Ponderosa area.

The fire has reached the 2020 Castle Fire burn scar on the northern flank, moderating fire growth. Flames are slowly backing down rock escarpments two miles south of Camp Nelson. On the northeast flank, the fire remains two miles south of Ponderosa. Heavy water-dropping helicopters and fire crews are working to contain a two-acre spotfire about a mile south of Johnsondale on the fire’s southeast flank. Steep terrain and limited visibility from smoke prevented the use of fixed-wing air tankers yesterday. On the western flank, crews and bulldozers are completing indirect control lines to stop the fire’s spread in preparation for burning operations.On the eastern flank, the fire is burning in lighter fuels (grass and brush) as flames move within a mile of the Kern River.

Excellent humidity recovery last night and calmer winds predicted for today will give firefighters opportunities to engage the fire where they were previously unable to do so safely.

The Windy Fire has burned through the Peyrone and Red Hill groves, and a portion of the Long Meadow Grove along the Trail of 100 Giants. Fire crews with hoses and water-dropping helicopters are working to limit damage to the Giant Sequoias. Smaller, standing dead trees and heavy ground fuels are burning in that area.

The walking trail remains unaffected and firefighters have wrapped bridges along the trail with fire-resistant wrap. A full damage assessment will be done in these groves when it is safe to do so.

Road Closures

• Western Divide Highway (M107) is closed at North Road (21S50) intersection near Quaking Aspen Campground to M50 above California Hot Springs.

• M99 is closed above Kernville at Sherman Pass (22S05) intersection.

• M99 is closed north of McNally’s Fairview Lodge at 7300 Kern River Highway going north towards Sherman Pass.

Evacuations Warnings:

Tulare County Sheriff has issued an evacuation warning for:

• Camp Nelson and surrounding communities

Evacuation ORDERS:

• Johnsondale and Camp Whitsett, including M107 at Dome Rock, east to Lloyd Meadow Road (22S82), south to M99 at Sherman Pass Road, west to M107 and M50.

• Ponderosa and Quaking Aspen. The area of warning includes M107 at Dome Rock, north to HWY 190/M90 at North Road (21S50), east to Route 21S05, at Needles Trail, south to Lloyd Meadow at Lower Peppermint Road (22S82). Should you choose to evacuate now, avoid all road closures and use HWY 190 to Porterville.

A temporary evacuation center is in place at Porterville College on 100 E. College Ave. Individuals needing assistance with evacuating may call 2-1-1. Older individuals (60+) who need assistance with evacuation or information may call the senior hotline at 1-800-321-2462. Visit https://tularecounty.ca.gov/emergencies/ or call 2-1-1 for more information. Large animals can be sheltered at the International Agri-Center, located at 4500 S. Laspina St., Tulare, CA.

Forest Closure:

Sequoia National Forest officials have expanded the Forest Closure area due to the fire burning across the Western Divide Highway north of Johnsondale. The west side is closed on M50 where it reaches the Forest boundary near California Hot Springs. The southern edge ties in with the northern perimeter of the French Fire closure area near White River. The northern edge ties in with the Castle Fire closure area near Ponderosa. M99, coming from Kernville is closed near Johnsondale Bridge. Please refer to https://www.fs.usda.gov/sequoia for more information and a map of the closed areas.

Emergency Notification Alerts: Tulare County residents can sign up to receive county emergency notifications by registering at AlertTC.com.

Smoke Advisory: For information on smoke in the fire area please visit AirNow.gov.

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