FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — Officials Friday issued more evacuation orders as the KNP Complex fire has scorched more than 51,000 acres and sits at 20% containment.
Evacuation orders have been issued for the communities of Big Meadows, Weston Meadows and Qual Flat as well as Grant Grove, Wilsonia and Cedar Grove in Kings Canyon National Park.
Park officials say hotter and drier weather conditions caused increased fire activity in the northwest corner of the blaze, prompting the evacuation orders. The unfavorable conditions have made structure protection a priority, fire crews said Friday.
“These contingency lines are solid and in very good shape,” said Southwest Area Incident Management Team Operations Section Chief Clint Remington.
The extent of the impact isn’t just felt in the path of the blaze. Down on the Valley floor, residents say the smell of smoke was pungent.
“It was more hazy than normal,” said Pomo Phe, a resident of Fresno. “Actually it was pretty bad.”
“The last couple of days they were bad,” says Jamal Marshall. “But today was like, really, really bad.”
Bad enough to require cancellation of elementary school sporting events for Clovis Unified School District. At Fresno Unified schools all outdoor activities were brought indoors.
As the flames continue to burn, one actor is reaching out to support the community’s recovery fund. Martin Henderson is best known for playing Dr. Nathan Riggs on Grey’s Anatomy and a victim of Britney Spears’ femme fatale character in the music video for her hit song “Toxic.” He says recovery from the KNP Complex Fire is going to be an expensive endeavor.
“These parks mean the world to me,” Henderson explains. “I hope we can help protect them so they can stick around, but we really need your help.”