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Deadly Wildfire Near Coalinga Is 100% Contained



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The wildfire that claimed the life of a helicopter pilot south of Coalinga is 100% contained, Cal Fire officials said Monday night.

The Hills Fire, which burned 2,121 acres, started on Aug. 15.

Mike Fournier, 52, of Rancho Cucamonga, died Wednesday morning when his Bell UH-1H copter suddenly crashed into a hillside while on a water-dropping mission.

A Fresno County Sheriff’s Office search and rescue team recovered Fournier’s body, and on Saturday his remains were returned to southern California in a procession led by Cal Fire vehicles and personnel.

Voluntary Evacuation Order for Castle Fire

Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux issued a voluntary evacuation order Monday for the communities of Camp Nelson and Ponderosa, which are near the Castle Fire.

Photo of the Castle Fire

Smoke rises from the Castle Fire in the mountains of Tulare County. (

A virtual community meeting about the fire is scheduled for 6 o’clock Tuesday. Participants will include the U.S. Forest Service, Tulare County Fire Department, and the sheriff’s office.

The meeting will be live-streamed on the Sequoia National Forest Facebook and Tulare County Fire Department Facebook. Residents are asked to send questions to

The fire continues to move further into the Golden West Trout Wilderness and is advancing toward Inyo National Forest. As of 9 a.m. Tuesday, it had burned 15,000 acres. 

In addition, the Shotgun Fire, which is burning where Pistol Creek and Shotgun Creek converge in the Golden Trout Wilderness, has grown to about 200 acres.

Hand crews are battling the blazes while navigating hazardous conditions that include steep rocky terrain and heavy fuel loads. The firefighters are supported by aircraft.

Two Wildfires High in Yosemite National Park

Photo of the Blue Jay Fire in Yosemite National Park during summer 2020Bl

The Blue Jay Fire smolders at 9,000 feet in Yosemite National Park. (

The Blue Jay and Wolf fires continue to burn at an elevation of 9,000 feet near Tioga Road in Yosemite National Park.

The Blue Jay Fire, which was ignited by lightning on July 24, is 10% contained at about 500 acres, fire officials said.

Lightning sparked the Wolf Fire on Aug. 11. It is 224 acres with a 10% active perimeter.

Fire managers expect the fires to creep and smolder as they burn through timber litter.

There are no threats to infrastructure or hiking trails, although the fires are visible from Tioga Road, Glacier Point, and other high-country vistas, officials said.


Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email