Smoke continues to get worse throughout the Valley as the Rough Fire moves within a mile of the 2,000 year-old General Grant Tree and grove of giant Sequoias, also threatening the communities of Wilsonia and Pinehurst as it moves up the Mill Creek drainage, and towards the town of Dunlap on the western edge of the fire. Currently consuming 128,000 acres in the Kings River watershed with only 29% containment, the fire is expected to burn rapidly through the drought and pine beetle impacted timber today. Cost to date to fight the fire, that began with a single tree struck by lightening on July 31st, approaches $80 million. 2,570 personnel, 14 helicopters and 18 dozers battle the blaze in rough terrain.
Mandatory evacuation orders have kept Dry Creek Road busy. We helped haul four gooseneck loads of horses and mules from Miramonte yesterday, the last of the stock removed from the Cedar Grove Pack Station ahead of the fire that now burns upcanyon past Hotel Creek and towards Granite Lake. Park and pack station structures were saved.
Cooler weather is forecasted after today and into next week that should help firefighting efforts.