The Rough fire in the Sierra National Forest grew Monday to more than 20,979 acres, and smoke from the blaze worsened air quality in the central San Joaquin Valley.
Meanwhile, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office issued a fire evacuation warning Monday afternoon for the Black Rock Reservoir area, east of Pine Flat Lake, and closed Black Rock Road. The Sheriff’s Office said the area is sparsely populated, but the Black Rock Campground can be a popular destination for visitors to the area.
Authorities will host a town hall meeting Tuesday night in which residents and other can ask questions about the Rough fire. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. at Dunlap Community Center, 39486 Dunlap Road.
Sunday evening, the California Highway Patrol shut down Highway 180 past the Hume Lake turnoff so that the road down into Kings Canyon would be open only to firefighters. The road to Hume Lake remained open.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Fresno Bee
A mandatory evacuation was ordered of Cedar Grove. Approximately 320 campsites, a 20-room lodge and restaurant, campground store and a pack station were closed.
CHP officers also reported no one was left at Boyden Cave, the tourist attraction just off Highway 180 in the canyon.
The CHP and Fresno County Sheriff’s Office are working closely with the U.S. Forest Service to monitor the fire, which is burning five miles north of Hume Lake.
Fire officials will brief area residents and answer questions during a community meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Dunlap Community Center, 39489 Dunlap Road.
With a spell of hot weather and dry air moving into the area, firefighters expect the blaze will continue to burn. The fire had not crossed the south fork of the Kings River, but was approaching the river below Highway 180.
The multi-agency firefighting team battling the Rough fire in the Sierra National Forest, Sequoia National Forest and Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks sent additional firefighters Saturday to Hume Lake Christian Camps and surrounding summer cabins to try to keep the fire away.
The fire started with a lightning strike July 31. The U.S. Forest Service said 1,064 firefighters are working to contain it.
Meanwhile, the Walker fire south of Lee Vining has grown to 3,770 acres, and campgrounds in Lower Lee Vining Canyon remain closed, including Lower Lee Vining, Moraine, Boulder, Aspen Grove and Big Bend campgrounds. The fire is just 10 percent contained.
Tioga Road in Yosemite National Park was reopened without escort Monday afternoon, but no stopping is allowed along the eastern six miles of the road, the U.S. Forest Service said.
The Sierra fires are among 19 major fires burning in California.
A fire that has been burning for more than a week about 100 miles north of San Francisco has destroyed nine homes and charred more than 39 square miles. Firefighters are gaining ground against the Northern California wildfire, with 85 percent containment reported Monday.
In Southern California, crews working through the night stopped the spread of two Los Angeles County fires that burned several structures, charred hundreds of acres of dry brush and led to the arson arrest of one person.
A brush fire sparked near a riverbed in Montebello, a suburb east of downtown Los Angeles, halted operations at an oil field and prompted the evacuation of a park. The fire, which grew to about 200 acres, was 20 percent contained Monday.
To the north, a wildfire that burned buildings at an abandoned rehabilitation center in rural Castaic has charred about 300 acres in Angeles National Forest.
Meanwhile, mechanical problems prompted Cal Fire to ground a fleet of planes Monday that help direct other aircraft where to dump retardant on wildland blazes.
Cal Fire ordered its fleet of 15 OV-10 A Broncos not to fly Monday after a propeller on one of the planes failed while the aircraft was still on the ground, according to Cal Fire Battalion Chief Scott McLean.
Five of the aircraft were later cleared for flights after passing safety inspections, he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.