PORTERVILLE, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — A pair of wildfires dubbed the SQF Complex Fire has forced officials on Wednesday to close a portion of the Golden Trout Wilderness.

The Forest Service closed the section of wilderness that lies in the Sequoia National Forest to protect public safety during fire operations, said spokeswoman Alicia Embrey. The section of wilderness in neighboring Inyo National Forest is unaffected by the closure.

General description of roads and trails affected by the closure:

  • All trails within the boundary of the Golden Trout Wilderness on the Sequoia National
  • North Road (FS21S50) where it begins on Highway 190
  • Lloyd Meadow Road (FS22S82) beyond the intersection with the Last Chance Road
  • Sherman Pass Road (FS22S05) a few miles east of Johnsondale
  • All trails north of Sherman Pass Road, east of Lloyd Meadow Road, west of Black Rock

The SQF Complex Fire has burned a total of 20,979 acres since it began on Aug. 19 from a lightning strike, officials said. A total of 289 crews are on the scene, where they plan to continue to construct containment lines between Summit Trailhead and Jerkey Meadow while using existing roads and trail systems.

The Castle Fire, which makes up a majority of the blaze, has crossed the Kern River and continues to burn toward Overlook Mountain and Kern Ridge. Parts of the fire are expected to bump into the 2017 Lion Fire burn scar, where crews are expected to make small terrain runs.

Crews expect to continue to protect the Ponderosa and Pyles Camp areas while continue to monitor the much smaller Shotgun Fire using aerial resources.

Officials said fire behavior can be unpredictable, and fire managers are urging the public to exercise caution and steer clear of all areas that could be impacted by the SQF Complex Fire.

Updates of the SQF Complex Fire can be found here. The forest closure order and map are available on the Sequoia National Forest website.