Sheep Fire in Kings Canyon National Park Spreads Beyond 1,800 Acres

A fire sparked by lightning in mid-July has grown to more than 1,800 acres in Kings Canyon National Park. And while it's not threatening visitors or property, the blaze is pumping out smoke across the Cedar Grove area, according to park officials.

Additionally, the "Sheep Fire" has spread onto the Sequoia National Forest on the western flank.

Firefighters have used back-burns to reduce fuels near the Cedar Grove Valley, according to fire bosses, and a "holding line has also been constructed along the ridge to Lookout Peak in an effort to mitigate smoke impacts in the Kings River drainage."

This fire is located in the southern cliffs above Cedar Grove. The fire has backed down to the Cedar Grove Valley and is active on the south and west flanks, according to park officials. Fire behavior includes "backing fire with some isolated active pockets and occasional torching," they said.

Visitors to the Cedar Grove area have been told to anticipate smoke settling into the valley in the late evening and early morning hours. This is based upon inversion patterns that hold the smoke in the valley. As the day warms and the inversion breaks, smoke should lift out of the valley, park officials said.

Only one trail -- the Don Cecil Trail, from its trailhead at Cedar Grove to the park boundary -- has been closed due to the fire.

Comments

We left Kings Canyon on the 23rd and the smoke has cleared out for the time being.

The parks did an awesome job of keeping visitors updated on the fire by placing signboards at several turnouts along the road, and two Fire Information rangers to handle questions.

Although the smoke did make the canyon less scenic, it is our opinion that forest health is a more important issue, and that the wetter conditions this year should be taken advantage of in reaching the goal of getting the forest back to its original fire frequency.

The thing that surprised me the most was that in the areas that were already burned there was still a large number of dead limbs attached to the lower part of the tree trunks (six inches off the ground)...I always assumed these were one of the first things to go...maybe this is what happens during a relatively 'cool' fire.

My impression from the park personnel was that they are fully on board with the concept that 'fire is good for the forest' which was refreshing to see.

Was also suprised the role that the Board of Air Quality plays in managing these fires, not just for in the park, but air quality impacts on cities, i.e. Fresno, sixty miles away.

we went to camp in cedar grove this week-end and this is the worst trip I made (and decision in my life) the stress to breath this carbon filled smoke made us seek shealter to Hum lake above kings canyon, at night we where going back down our campsite to breath that crap all night and in the morning.....I feel that the forest service where letting people come in the canyon because it was labor day and that they had to but by Monday morning the smoke was crazy as the fire burnt closer to the river making the air unbreathable, good thing we packed and run out of the canyon, there was smoke all the way to grant grove way up there....worst trip I had with my friends, couldn't hike couldn't do nothing.....I think that is irresponsible for the forest service to allow kids to breath that....

Your decision to travel to and to stay in the area was your fault. There was no requirement that you be there. YOU are the ones that subjected your children to the bad air, not the forest service! I feel bad for the rangers and other forest service personnel and firefighters who don't have a choice.

I'm so sorry you had such a bad experience..I just want to let you know that you were not in the forest service area..I live up there..Where you were staying is a National Park..We try our best to protect and preserve the National Park..The fire was started by lighting..Nature..The forest service is way different from the National Parks..We do hope you come again..It's been a strange summer up there..I live in the smoke..but the hotshots and firefighters are doing the very best they can..I will pass this on to the ones who are fighting this fire..God Bless them..and you~