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Crews Continuing to Battle Wildlfire in Kings Canyon National Park


This photo, taken Wednesday afternoon from the Buck Rock web cam, shows smoke from the Tehipite Fire in Kings Canyon National Park. NPS image.

Part of a fire burning in the backcountry of Kings Canyon National Park is being "managed" for its benefits to the landscape. Unlike the Telegraph Fire outside Yosemite National Park, the "Tehipite Fire" is not threatening structures or human developments.

The Tehipite Fire was ignited by a lightning strike. As of Wednesday afternoon it was mapped at 165 acres and slowly spreading on the eastern flank as “roll-outs”—burning material that rolls down the steep terrain and ignites fire outside on the fire line—are creating control issues.

Park firefighters have been working on a burn-out operation on the northern flank to control the head of the fire and keep the fire within the park boundary. However, efforts are also now focused on the eastern flank where the fire is burning into a drainage that is inaccessible.

The fire is in steep terrain, which continues to make direct fire response unsafe along much of the perimeter. There are currently about 75 personnel and three helicopters assigned to this fire.

The southern flank is spreading slowly and will be monitored. This portion of the fire is being managed to improve ecosystem health. Each year, lightning strikes result in wildland fires that help shape the beauty of the wilderness. Fire recycles nutrients to the soil while reducing the amount of dead, woody debris. This aids the sprouting and re-growth of plants, shrubs, and trees.

The Tehipite Fire is located approximately one-half mile west of Tehipite Valley and Crown Creek and one mile east of Tombstone Ridge in Kings Canyon National Park. It is burning in mixed conifer and live oak between 5,400 - 7,400 feet in elevation in steep bluffs and cliffs.

The observed fire behavior includes a slow backing ground fire spreading primarily through burning vegetation rolling down the slope. Occasional torching of trees is occurring during the hot afternoons.

You can catch glimpses of smoke from this fire at the park's Buck Rock web cam.

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