Assemblyman Jim Patterson is debriefed on SQF Complex Fire, says ‘we have to clean the forests’


TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KGPE) – The SQF Complex Fire in Tulare County has burned 128,902 acres as of Friday and remains 12% contained. Mandatory evacuations in Mineral King and Silver City were also activated on Friday.

Three Rivers falls under Assemblyman Jim Patterson’s district. He visited the incident command post at the Porterville Fairgrounds on Friday to be debriefed on the fires.

“The report this morning was very encouraging,” he said. “I’m also impressed with the resources that they do have, they are strategically making a plan that I think at the end of all of this, we’re going to be able to say Three Rivers was okay.”

Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said it’s important for people to begin to prepare if they’re under a voluntary evacuation area.

“We’re not at the point for a full mandatory for Three Rivers. As of the fire report this moring, we’re very happy with the fact that it appears going northeast and that’s a much better scenario for us with the exception of the Mineral King area,” Boudreaux said.

Mineral King had a mandatory evacuation order as of Friday afternoon.

Ryan Lubben, public information officer for Cal Fire Instant Management Team 6, said an area of concern is the Springville area.

“Crews are trying to open up existing containment lines that were from previous fire history and also put in more strong containment lines to keep the fire away,” Lubben said.

Patterson visited areas close to the SQF Complex Fire including Balch Park and said his visit let him know what he needs to bring up in Sacramento.

“I’m gonna be a voice up in Sacramento that says Cal Fire needs people, Cal Fire needs trucks, Cal Fire needs equipment, Cal Fire needs air resources,” he said.

Parts of the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks fall under Patterson’s district.

“If I were to take some concern about the future of this, it would be the concern that it would really be burning into the park. That is a shame, but if it does, eventually it grows back,” Patterson said.

He said more forest management is needed.

“If this is going to be the future of California with lots of big fires, the bottom line here is we have to clean the forests, we have to maintain them,” he said.

His visit to Tulare County comes in the same week that Gov. Gavin Newsom met with President Donald Trump to discuss the fires and that Newsom and Sen. Kamala Harris visited areas impacted by the Creek Fire. Newsom made it clear that addressing climate change is essential.

“Something’s happened to the plumbing of the world, and we come from a perspective, humbly, where we submit the science is in and observed evidence is self-evident that climate change is real,” Newsom said to Trump during their meeting Monday.

Patterson said he doesn’t think it matters why the fires are starting and added that “we got to learn the lessons and we’ve got to fix some things.”

“I don’t care whether the fire started because of a human problem or lighting or whatever, the fact of the matter is these fires are here, they’re going to be big and they’re going to be with us a long time so lets stop worrying about figuring out the ideology and the politics of why it started,” Patterson said.

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