Additional evacuations ordered in Castle Fire

Hot dry weather is hampering efforts to contain the Castle Fire in Sequoia National Forest.

BY David Beasley

The Castle fire in Sequoia National Forest prompted authorities to order additional mandatory evacuations Sunday afternoon.

Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux on Sunday ordered the evacuation of Camp Nelson, Coy Flat, Mountain Aire, and Pier Point and areas in between, according to the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG).

A mandatory evacuation order “means there is an immediate threat to life and/or property. Those who live in these areas must leave now,” NWCG said.

Alpine Village, Sequoia Crest, Redwood Drive, Ponderosa, Cedar Slopes, and Pyles Boys Camp are already under evacuation orders. Doyle Springs remains under an evacuation warning, authorities said.

The fire has encroached the Freeman Grove area and is “experiencing dynamic fire activity,” NWCG said.

As of Monday morning, the Castle and Shotgun fires had burned 55,961 acres and were 7% contained, according to NWCG. The Castle fire has burned 62,887 acres compared to 498 acres for the Shotgun fire, Tim Love, spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service, told the Kern Valley Sun.

The fires started Aug. 19 from lightning strikes, Love said.
Smoke is expected to “hamper air operations” on Monday, the spokesman said.

“Dry conditions, high temperatures and low relative humidity have combined to allow for active fire behavior,” NWCG said.

“Going forward, weather will be a major factor in how quickly the fires can be contained,” Love said.

The weather so far has been hot and dry.
“That’s what’s in the forecast,” Love said. “And that’s what needs to change. We look for what we call a ‘season-ending’ event – significant moisture.”

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