Firefighters continued Thursday to battle wildfire blazes in Tulare and San Luis Obispo counties, with progress made on containing two Sierra wildfire blazes.
The Sequoia National Forest closed campgrounds along the Upper Kern River on Thursday as the Cedar Fire continues to progress, although day use will be allowed from sunrise to sunset.
As of Thursday morning, the Cedar Fire was 15 percent contained and had burned 26,135 acres, almost 3,000 more overnight that was due primarily to firing operations to remove vegetation so crews can build containment lines, the U.S. Forest Service reported.
The fire, first detected Aug. 16 west of Kernville, has burned cabins in Tulare County and caused mandatory evacuations of the Tulare County mountain communities of Posey, Pine Flat, Pine Mountain, Sugarloaf – including Sugarloaf Mountain Park and Sugarloaf Village – California Hot Springs, Panorama Heights, McClenny Tract, Spear Creek Mountain Homes, White River Summer Homes, Portuguese Meadow, Balance Rock, Idlewild and Poso Park, and voluntary evacuations of the Johnsondale area.
Mountain 50 road, also known as Parker Pass Road, has reopened in both directions between Johnsondale and M-107, also known as the Western Divide Highway. Other Tulare County roads remain closed: M-56 (Hot Springs Road) is closed at M-109 (Old Stage Road) near Fountain Springs into the evacuated areas around California Hot Springs; M-3 (White River Road) is closed at Jack Ranch Road east into the evacuated areas around Posey and Panorama Heights; M-50 (Parker Pass Road) is closed at M-107; M-112 (Deer Creek Road) is closed at Road 296 into the evacuated areas around California Hot Springs.
For more information, call the Tulare County Emergency Operations Center at 559-623-0200.
Elsewhere in Tulare County, the Tule Fire was 80 percent contained at 395 acres on Thursday, said Denise Alonzo, spokeswoman for the Sequoia National Forest. The fire along Highway 190 north of Coffee Camp on the Western Divide Ranger District in the Giant Sequoia National Monument broke out on Monday.
All roads are open and the threat of further spread has “diminished significantly,” she said. No date has been set for full containment, but the fire is close to being fully contained, she said.
On the coast, the Chimney Fire near Hearst Castle in San Luis Obispo County had burned 43,633 acres and was 39 percent contained by Thursday morning. Evacuations were lifted for communities south of Lake Nacimento. Evacuation orders remain in place for Christmas Cove, Oak Shores, North Shore Boat and Ski, Laguna Vista, Lake San Antonio, Sapaqua Valley, and Bryson Hesperia in both San Luis Obispo and Monterey counties.
Hearst Castle and its infrastructure and nearly 2,000 other structures continue to be threatened by the fire, which erupted Aug. 13 at Running Deer and Chimney Rock roads south of Lake Nacimento. So far, it has destroyed 48 homes and 20 other structures.