Two Sierra wildfires sparked by lightning continued to spread Thursday in Fresno and Tulare counties, pushing smoke into the Valley and sparking air advisories.
The Rough fire in the Sierra National Forest, which has burned 9,948 acres in Fresno County and is zero percent contained, crossed the Middle Fork of the King’s River on Thursday, said spokeswoman Iveth Hernandez.
The Sierra National Forest said the fire has been upgraded to Type 2, meaning additional help is needed from firefighters outside of the local area. A Type 2 Interagency Management Team is expected to take over command of the fire at 6 a.m. Friday.
The fire is being handled by helicopters using water from Hume Lake, because the area is not accessible to firefighters on the ground.
Currently there are no closures on the Sierra National Forest, Hernandez said.
The Cabin fire, burning in the Golden Trout Wilderness in the Sequoia National Forest, spread to 6,417 acres Thursday.
The fire is expected to spread further into the burn scar of the 2011 Lion Fire, but it should slow down as it reaches areas of sparse vegetation and rocky outcroppings, the U.S. Forest Service said.
Smoke will continue to be produced from interior fuels being consumed as well as fire growth to the north, but it’s expected to diminish over the next few weeks.
Areas within the fire perimeter will continue to smolder until winter rainfall extinguishes the fire completely, the forest service said.
Nearly 500 firefighters spent the past two weeks confining the Cabin Fire to an area north of Mountaineer Creek, and east of Maggie Mountain.
Travel is limited to those areas east of the Old Hockett Trail.
Areas west of the Old Hockett Trail, within the boundaries of the Golden Trout Wilderness, are closed.
Backcountry travelers can access the wilderness area northeast of Lewis Camp Trailhead, the forest service said.
The two wildfires have prompted health cautionary statement for smoke impacts in Merced, Madera, Fresno, Tulare and the Valley portion of Kern counties foothills and mountainous areas.
Smoke from fires produces fine-particulate matter, which can cause health problems including lung disease, asthma attacks and increased risk of heart attacks and stroke.
Residents can check the District’s wildfire page at www.valleyair.org/wildfires for information about any current wildfires and whether they are impacting the Valley.