Sequoia National Park is implementing a full park closure at 6 am on September 15 in response to the Castle Fire on the SQF Complex. Many park staff have been evacuated from the area and for visitor and resource protection, park managers have decided to close all entrances to Sequoia National Park.
- Related: Record-Breaking California Wildfire Season | Over 3-Million-Acres Burned and 6 of Top 20 Largest Fires in History
During this unprecedented fire year, park managers have had to evaluate how to best balance the responsibilities to the public as well as the mental welfare and physical safety of the staff.
“With Three Rivers and the park headquarters under an evacuation notice, staff is focused on preparing to evacuate. To ensure any pending evacuation goes as smoothly as possible we are closing the park to visitors.”
– Acting Superintendent Lee Taylor
Park managers send their sincere thanks and gratitude for the support received during this incident.
Kings Canyon National Park remains open at this time. Visitors will not be able to access Sequoia National Park from Highway 198 or Highway 180 out of Fresno. The Giant Forest and sequoia trees will be inaccessible to visitors. All park campgrounds will be closed with reservations canceled and refunded. Mineral King Road remains closed at this time.
The Sequoia Complex (#SQFComplex), is made up of the Castle and Shotgun fires. The fires were reported on August 24, 2020. Initial attack of these fires was a top priority.
Both fires are in the Sequoia National Forest. The majority of the Castle Fire is in the Sequoia National Forest, but it is also burning in the Inyo National Forest. A large portion of the Castle Fire is burning in the Golden Trout Wilderness Area. The several hundred-acre Shotgun Fire is approximately 5 miles northwest of the Castle Fire. As of Monday, September 14, the Castle Fire has reached the southern boundary of Sequoia National Park. The Shotgun Fire is still approximately 1 mile south of the Sequoia National Park boundary.
Dry conditions, high temperatures, and low relative humidity have combined to allow for active fire behavior. Forest fuel located within the fire area varies with elevation and some areas have limited fire history. These include stands of dense mixed conifer with heavy brush. The McNally burn scar (2002) and Schaefer burn scar (2017) contain a mixture of grass, brush, and dead trees and are supporting fire spread. The terrain is steep and rugged with frequent falling rocks and other debris.
Hand crews, heavy equipment, engines, and aircraft are all being used to attack the fire. Firefighters are aggressively fighting the fire and implementing point protection to protect critical values at risk.
The Tulare County Sheriff has issued evacuation orders and road closures are also in place. Refer to the Sequoia Complex Daily Update and the closure and announcement areas of this Inciweb page for information on changing conditions.
For more information on the SQF Complex, please visit inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7048
For information on air quality, please visit fire.airnow.gov
About Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks’ Fire Management Program
For over fifty years, our mission has been to use the full range of options and strategies available to manage fire in the parks. This includes protecting park resources, employees, and the public from unwanted fire; building and maintaining fire resilient ecosystems; reducing the threat to local communities from wildfires emanating from the parks or adjacent lands; and recruiting, training, and retaining a professional fire management workforce.