Smoke creating cooler temperatures for firefighters battling massive KNP Complex Fire in Tulare County

KSEE24 News

TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE) – Crews on the KNP Complex were still fighting to gain any containment on the lighting sparked wildfire Tuesday.

It is burning 25,147 acres in the Sequoia National Park.

A community meeting packed the Central Sierra Chamber of Commerce in Pinehurst, where dozens of people went out to get vital information. Crews said Pinehurst itself is very far from the fire, but their goal is to reach as many different communities as possible.

“The focus, the main focus, is right here on the western side of the fire because that’s where all the people are,” Jon Wallace the operations sections chief.

The two fires making up the KNP Complex merged over the weekend and continued growing.

Wallace said they’re working to build lines but a weather event is likely all that will end the fire, however, he said the current conditions have been helping keep it from exploding in size.

“None of us want to breathe the smoke or deal with it, but we should be thankful that we have it because it’s kind of keeping the fire weather conditions in check so to speak,” said the team’s meteorologist.

Unfortunately, the smoke grounded aircrafts but gave firefighters a break from the elements.

“It’s really keeping the temperatures at the surface down, it’s keeping the humidity up a little bit and the wind is stable out there,” Wallace said.

He predicted the flames are less than a quarter-mile from the General Sherman but said the park’s history of prescribed burns has been keeping the fire from spreading rapidly.

Park Superintendent Clay Jordan said the trees are a priority, but the people come first.

“Our first and highest priority is the protection of the communities,” he said.

There is now nearly a thousand personnel on this fire, with more resources on the way.

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