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August 24, 2016: Cedar Fire grows to nearly 23k acres, $20M cost to date

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Posted at 10:24 AM, Aug 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-24 22:39:58-04
The Cedar Fire has destroyed six cabins in the Spear Creek Summer Homes area of Tulare County, KFSN-TV reported Wednesday.
 
Precautionary evacuations were issued for Kernville residents on the west side of the Kern River from Diablo Road north to the Kern-Tulare County line and on the east side of the Kern River from Camp Erwin Owen north to the Kern-Tulare County line including the Riverkern community Wednesday afternoon.
 
This news comes as the blaze, burning west of Kernville in both Kern and Tulare Counties, has grown to more than 22,000 acres with 10 percent containment.
Meanwhile, fire officials were considering that Upper Kern River campgrounds along Mountain Highway 99 be closed at night and open for day use only. If approved, the recommended changes could potentially take effect Thursday morning, but officials emphasize that no changes have been approved or finalized yet.
 
 
Fire Summary:
Last night, crews successfully used firing techniques to hold the fire at Highway 155 and 7. Below Black Mountain, they constructed handline between a dozer line to Hwy. 155. Firing operations to defend the residences in Panorama Heights were successful. Firefighters also used the tactic of firing operations in the area of Baker and Tobias Peaks, creating a buffer of burned vegetation between the main fire and dozer or hand lines. The purpose is to slow the fire’s spread to the north. Crews were worked along Snowy Creek where the fire is still approximately two miles from Kern River.
 
Yesterday, aircraft yesterday dropped retardant between Baker Peak and Chico Flats to give crews a starting point to hold the fire. In some areas around the perimeter, the fire has spread into vegetation with less beetlekilled timber, allowing firefighters direct access to the fire’s edge.
 
Fire activity is expected to increase today as the sky clears, temperature rises, and humidity drops. People can expect to see large columns of smoke develop, especially on the north side near Baker and Tobias peaks. The priority for firefighters today remains improving and holding the fireline between Black Mountain and Cane Peak above Wofford Heights. Smoky conditions and gusty winds could hamper flight operations this afternoon. Tulare County Emergency Operations Center confirmed that six cabins in Spear Creek were destroyed. 
  • Size: 22,739 acres (1,216 acre increase from last evening)
  • Fire Start: August 16, 2016
  • Percent Contained: 10 percent
  • Location: West of Kernville, Calif.
  • Total Personnel: 2,244
  • Cause: Under investigation
  • Resources: 35 hand crews, 193 engines, 15 aircraft, 25 dozers, 33 water tenders
  • Cost to Date: $20.3 million 

Weather and Fire Behavior:

Drier weather will move into the region. Temperatures will be warmer today and the relative humidity will decrease. Winds will mainly be light in the morning, becoming gusty in the afternoon with gusts up to 30 mph over ridges and through the Kern River canyon. Hot, dry conditions are expected for several days, leading to longer burn periods and increased fire activity.

National Forest Closures:

The Sequoia National Forest has issued area, road and trail closures for the area affected by the Cedar Fire (Order No. 0513-16-18). General boundaries of the closure: south of Highway 50, west of Highway 99, north of Sawmill Road, and east of the western Forest boundary. The official closure and a map are posted at inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4964.

Kern County Evacuations and Closures: The following areas remain under a recommended evacuation order. This is because the fire is an imminent threat and people are strongly advised to leave and seek shelter away from the fire area.

  • Pala Ranches
  • Homestead Tract
  • Residences north of Anchorage Road, including Earl Pascoe Road
  • Alta Sierra
  • Slick Rock
  • Shirley Meadows

The area north of Highway 155 and west of Wofford Boulevard is under a precautionary evacuation order, which means that the fire may become a threat in the near future. All residents are advised to be prepared to leave the area at a moment’s notice. No other parts of Wofford Heights, apart from those listed, are under any evacuation order. 

The following roads are closed in Kern County:

  • Highway 155 between Lakeside Drive and Miller Road.
  • Miller Road and Lakeside Drive.
  • Forest Highway 90 from Highway 155 to Portuguese Pass.
  • Old State Road in Wofford Heights at its junction with Mountain Shadow Road.

Tulare County Evacuations and Closures:

The following communities in Tulare County are under a mandatory evacuation order:

  • Posey
  • Pine Flat
  • Pine Mountain
  • Sugarloaf, including Sugarloaf Mountain Park and Sugarloaf Village
  • California Hot Springs
  • Panorama Heights
  • McClenny Tract
  • Spear Creek Mountain Homes
  • White River Summer Homes
  • Portuguese Meadow
  • Balance Rock
  • Idlewild
  • Poso Park

Tulare County has established the following road closures in response to the Cedar Fire:

  • M-56 "Hot Springs Rd." is closed at M-109 "Old Stage Rd." near Fountain Springs into the evacuated areas around California Hot Springs.
  • M-3 "White River Rd." is closed at Jack Ranch Road east into the evacuated areas around Posey and Panorama Heights.
  • M-50 "Parker Pass Rd." is closed at Johnsondale for westbound traffic.
  • M-50 "Parker Pass Rd." is closed at M-107 "Western Divide Hwy. aka Mountain Hwy. 90" into the evacuated areas around California Hot Springs.
  • M-112 "Deer Creek Rd." is closed at Rd 296 into the evacuated areas around California Hot Springs.
  • State Route 190 is open only by CHP escort between Coffee Camp and Wishon Dr. (east of Springville) due to the Tule Fire. Expect delays.