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Smoke and Ash Could Cover Valley Through Thursday, Air District Says



The Valley's Air Quality Alert has been extended to Thursday because of wildfire smoke and a high-pressure system. (Shutterstock)
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Containment of the KNP Complex dropped nearly in half Monday as the wildfire continued to consume timber and brush parched by the drought in Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park.

In addition, the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office issued an evacuation order in the Mineral King area — Gateway to the park entrance, including Sycamore Drive.

There will be a road closure at Highway 198 and Mineral King Road, the sheriff’s office said Monday morning.

Stay Inside, Air District Advises

Meanwhile, the Valley Air District said Monday afternoon that because smoke and ash from the KNP Complex and Windy fires have combined with a high-pressure system, the current Air Quality Alert is expected to continue through Thursday.

“The district warns residents being impacted by smoke to remain indoors to reduce their exposure to particulate matter emissions,” officials said in a news release.

“Those with existing respiratory conditions, including COVID-19, young children, and the elderly, are especially susceptible to the health effects from this form of pollution. Residents experiencing poor air quality due to wildfire smoke should move to a filtered, air-conditioned environment with windows closed.”

Late Sunday night, winds caused a spot fire across Mineral King Road, prompting an evacuation order for Crest, Sierra King, Hammond, and Oak Grove.

Parts of Fresno County are under evacuation warnings. They are Sequoia Lake, Cedarbrook, Etheda Springs. and Pinehurst.

To see if you are under an evacuation order or warning, click on this link and type in your address.

Containment Falls to 11%, Fire Grows to 67,708 Acres

Authorities said that the fire’s growth to nearly 68,000 acres cut the containment from 20% to 11% as of 11 a.m. Monday.

There are 1,531 firefighters on the scene: 26 crews, 61 engines, 40 water tenders, 21 dozers, and 12 helicopters.

Officials are hoping that the high-pressure ridge that has held smoke over the fire over the past few days will begin to break down today. If that occurs,  smoke will exit the area and aid firefighters.

Watch: Saturday’s KNP Complex Community Meeting

Firefighters Achieve 68% Containment of Windy Fire

Containment improved from 52% Saturday night to 68% on Monday morning. The fire is now about 95,000 acres.

Officials said that containment lines are holding in the Camp Nelson area. On the east side of the fire, crews have suppressed the fire directly from Johnsondale southward.

Helicopters are proving invaluable in the effort to squelch the blaze, officials said. They are dropping water on the fire’s edge to halt or slow its progression eastward toward the Kern River. On the southeastern corner west of Baker Point, all of the spot fires are contained.

Watch: Monday’s Windy Fire Briefing 

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

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