The Pier Fire in Tulare County grew to more than 10,000 acres and was zero percent contained as of Saturday afternoon, spurring mandatory evacuations and road closures for nearby communities, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for homes on Balch Park Road from Highway 190 through Bear Creek Road. The SCICON School Campsite, Mountain Home Conservation Camp, upper Rio Vista, Cow Mountain in the Springville area, Sequoia Crest, Mountain Aire at Rogers Camp, Pierpoint Springs, Cedar Slope, Camp Nelson, Doyle Springs, Alpine and Wishon are also under mandatory evacuation. It is recommended that Bear Creek and SCICON residents evacuate using Balch Park Road north through Yokhol Valley Road, the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office said.
Springville and Ponderosa were under voluntary evacuation as of Saturday.
Mountain Home State Forest is closed to visitors, as is Balch Park.
Highway 190 east of Springville is closed to eastbound traffic at Balch Park Road, and Mountain Road 107 is closed to westbound traffic at Fox Road in Ponderosa. Bear Creek Road where it meets Balch Park Road is also closed. Only residents with an ID are being allowed through Balch Park Road where it meets Yokohl Valley Road.
An evacuation center is at the Porterville College Student Center at 100 E. College Ave.
Like the Railroad Fire burning to the north in the Sierra, the Pier Fire also began Tuesday. It originated at Highway 190, just seven miles east of Springville, the forest service said. The fire was started by a human, but the exact cause is still under investigation, the forest service said. Over 1,200 firefighters are working to contain the fire.
On its south side, the fire burned its way into the Tule River Indian Reservation on Saturday, said the forest service, and on its northeast side, fire crews are working west of the Sequoia Crest to keep it away from homes.