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Emergency declaration urged for Rough fire

Maureen Brooks, Forest Service public information officer, speaks about the Rough fire during a community meeting Sundayin Wishon. Nearly 75 people attended.
Maureen Brooks, Forest Service public information officer, speaks about the Rough fire during a community meeting Sundayin Wishon. Nearly 75 people attended. acastillo@fresnobee.com

Fresno County supervisors will discuss declaring a local emergency Tuesday for the Rough fire in the foothills east of Fresno.

The fire has consumed nearly 52,000 acres, destroyed a popular lodge near Kings Canyon National Park and threatened the Hume Lake Christian Camps.

County Administrative Officer John Navarrette said he signed the proclamation last week and the board is expected to ratify it to submit to Gov. Jerry Brown’s office.

“It starts the clock on capturing some of our expenses,” Navarrette said Monday.

The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office and the county’s Office of Emergency Services have been assisting in evacuations of thousands of county residents.

The county is required to reaffirm the emergency declaration every 30 days.

Folks are on edge. This fire has been very unpredictable.

Fresno County Supervisor Debbie Poochigian

Supervisor Debbie Poochigian, whose district covers the Hume Lake area, said she attended a briefing Thursday and Sunday’s community meeting in Wishon in east county.

“Folks are on edge,” she said. “This fire has been very unpredictable.”

Poochigian said firefighters seemed more optimistic Monday than they were last week as temperatures cooled slightly.

Nevertheless, Poochigian said, residents still should be prepared for evacuation.

“You need to be prepared at a minute’s notice,” she said. “People can have their medications packed and paperwork ready to go. There are things you can do in case that evacuation warning comes, and that will make it better for residents, firefighters and law enforcement.”

Marc Benjamin: 559-441-6166, @beebenjamin

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