Smoky skies due to Sequoia wilderness fire

Forest officials are managing the Lion Fire in the Golden Trout Wilderness on the Sequoia National Forest. This lightning-caused fire was found July 8 at 1:30 p.m., one half mile to the west of Lion Meadow and east of the Little Kern River. Since then it has grown to approximately 200 acres. There are currently no threats to life or property. The Sequoia National Forest is in command of the fire.

The fire is burning in shrubs, needle cast, and dead and down materials. The fire is moving slowly downhill towards the Little Kern River, but most of the activity is on the east flank, as the fire moves primarily to the north and east. Moisture and weather conditions are ideal for the fire to consume ground fuels with very little torching into the trees.

“This fire is going to have very beneficial effects” District Ranger Priscilla Summers stated. “Restoring the natural role of fire will increase the health and resilience of the forest.”

Anyone hiking trails into, and along the Little Kern River should anticipate smoke settling into the valleys in the late evening and early morning hours. This is based upon inversion patterns that hold smoke in low lying areas. Additionally, down canyon winds in the evenings push the smoke down the drainage. As the day warms and the inversion breaks, smoke should lift out of the Little Kern Drainage and push it to the northeast.

Trails to the north and south of Lion Meadows will be closed while the fire front passes this area, which is expected to begin Wednesday July 15, 2011. Please call the Western Divide Ranger District for current trail conditions (559-539-2607).

Strategies for managing the fire are taking into consideration firefighter and public safety, protection of property, cost management and ecological restoration benefits for the Sierra Nevada.

For more information regarding the fire, contact Public Information Officer Georgia Dempsey at 559-782-3120 ext. 790.