Fire could be contained by Nov. 1

By D. Beasley

The Castle Fire in Sequoia National Forest is now 65% contained and authorities believe it could be completely under control by Nov. 1.

The smaller Shotgun Fire has been fully contained, the multi-agency National Wildfire Coordinating Group has reported.

So far, the Sequoia fire has burned 158,945 acres since it started in August, the coordinating group said. Authorities believe lightning started the fires.

Much of the firefighting activity is focused on the northern section of the fire; Robert Chase, a spokesman for the Coordinating Group, told the Kern Valley Sun on Tuesday.

“There hasn’t been any real movement other than the little flare-up on the northern end,” he said. “A lot of that area is really rough terrain.”

He added that most of the south end of the fire is “really buttoned up.”

On Monday night, the fire was active near Mountain Home southwest of Dennison Mountain, the coordinating group said.

“Firefighters engaged the fire directly and will be mopping the area up today,” the group said. “The fire was also active in the area of South Fork Campground where it has crossed the South Fork of the South Fork Kaweah River and is burning toward Homers Nose in heavy dead and downed fuels.”

The weather is expected to be clear on Tuesday.

“This will allow aircraft to fly over the area to get a good look at the current position of the fire,” the coordinating group stated. “The clearing skies will also bring more active fire behavior.”

The Nov. 1 containment date is a projected date that could change based on the weather and other factors, Chase said.

Complete containment means that the fire won’t be spreading any further.

“When that happens, there are still crews in there working, putting out hot spots, doing the mop-up work,” he said. “But there would be no large flames that they are seeing, no forward progress of the fire.”

Tulare and Kings counties have established a phone line for residents who are returning to their homes but also may be experiencing anxiety or other emotional problems, Tulare County’s Facebook page said.

“The Warm Line is a number you can call when you need to talk to someone about your anxieties or concerns. 1-877-306-2413,” the Facebook post said.

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