Wildfires approach more giant sequoias as smoke spreads

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twin flames continued to threaten California’s towering redwood trees are creating new misery for nearby residents, spitting smoke and worsening air quality in central California on Wednesday.

From Fresno to Tulare the air was hazy and full of ash from the Windy and KNP Complex fires. Officials in the San Joaquin Valley and Bay Area released air quality alerts He warned citizens to take precautions.

Officials said the two fires burned almost 60,000 acres and barely surrounded them.

Day-long efforts to defend Sequoia National Park most famous trees The 28,241-acre KNP Complex has proven mostly successful so far, with teams proactive firefighting and a prescription burn history To prevent serious damage to the Giant Forest, including the General Sherman tree and the Four Guardian trees.

But Wednesday’s fire was moving northwest into smaller Lost Grove and Muir Grove, home to hundreds of giant sequoias, according to KNP incident spokesman Mark Garrett.

“These do not have projected fire history “It’s like the Giant Forest, so we’re working there to protect most of that area in case the fire gets there,” he said.

Crews were also watching the southeastern edge of the fire, where the flames threatened dozens of historic cabins in Mineral King, Cabin Cove and Silver City. Firefighters wrapped some of the structures in protective foil and wetted the area with sprinklers.

Jon Wallace, division chief of operations at KNP Complex, said in a morning update that a rocky circle known as Paradise Ridge helped keep the fire out of the cabins, but century-old homes remained “a real high priority” on Wednesday.

“We’re going to continue to build on that today,” he said. “We would love to be able to tell people in the Mineral King area that they were not harmed by this wildfire.”

Mineral King District Assn. Chief executive John Crowe said most of the cabins were made of wood and were “highly flammable”. Some cabins date back to the 1870s, and many have been in the same family for generations.

“It’s a historic place that we want to preserve for the public, not just for ourselves, but for future generations,” he said.

The fire also broke out additional closing orders In Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks, authorities have added Cedar Grove and Grant Grove to their list of closed areas to the public.

On Wednesday, the KNP Complex went unchecked.

Further south, the 31,388-acre Windswept fire burning at the Tule River Preserve and Giant Sequoia National Monument has been contained by 7%, officials said.

Similar firefighting efforts kept flames away from most trees in Long Meadow Grove, home to 100 Giant Road, but a giant sequoia known as the Bench Tree was burned.

Attempts to assess the damage in other more remote areas, such as Peyrone Grove and Red Hill Grove, are underway, with officials noting that the groves were “totally surrounded” by wildfire earlier this week.

Windy fire event spokesman Steve Rasmussen said the flames were mostly contained within the existing environment, allowing crews to make some gains.

“Obviously there is an opportunity to do active runs, but I think right now we have our best shot at really keeping that fire going,” he said.

The top priority on Wednesday will be the southwestern edge of the fire, where some spot fires have bypassed containment lines. Crews are working to keep spots where they could threaten critical infrastructure away from the Tule River Reserve and divert them back to the main body of the fire, he said.

Smoke remains a threat, even if the crew handles the fires lightly. The National Weather Service said air quality will be affected in the coming days. at least eight counties Wednesday: San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Tulare, Kings, and the valley portion of Kern County.

Residents of all affected areas are advised to: take precautions, because exposure to smoke particles can exacerbate lung problems and increase the risk of respiratory infections. People with respiratory conditions are advised to stay indoors.

“Yesterday was really bad,” meteorologist Colin McKellar of the National Weather Service in Hanford said Wednesday morning. “It smelled like smoke all day and was very thick on the surface. It was a place where you could never see the sun.”

McKellar said winds could push the smog briefly eastward on Wednesday, making it return to the Central Valley in a reverse flow.

“Here in the valley the smoke is a bit difficult to find because we don’t get a lot of wind,” he added. “It’s still pretty hazy in here.”

The air quality warning will remain in effect until Thursday, when a gutter is expected to pass through the area and help disperse some of the smoke.

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