Two wildfires are burning what remains of the Sequoia National Forest, pushing their way through the burn scars of recent wildfires and forcing evacuations near Lake Isabella.
The Walkers fire broke out in the Golden Trout Wilderness on Sunday, northeast of Springville. The blaze spread to 1,900 acres in burn scars from the 2015 Rough Fire and 2011 Lion Fire.
The fire is spreading rapidly through snags and drought-stricken vegetation, forestry officials said. Firefighters traveled by helicopter to the remote wilderness to build lines of fire and contain its growth.
The Walkers fire is 10% contained Monday morning. There are 150 firefighters assigned to the blaze, including several elite teams and three helicopters.
No structures are immediately threatened, but teams prepare to protect wild structures as the fire continues to spread.
The northern edge of the castle fire, which was contained in January after burning up to 10% of the world’s giant sequoias, is expected to protect mountain communities in Tulare County from the invading flames.
The same could not be said of the French blaze, which forced the community of Sawmill in Kern County to evacuate, fire officials said Wednesday evening.
The blaze reached 3,200 acres overnight and is 0% contained, Kern County Fire reported.
Video footage shows the fire gnawing at the dense trees and vegetation of the southern Sequoia National Forest. The fire is located approximately 5 miles west of Lake Isabella.
The Red Cross has established an evacuation center at the Kern River Valley Senior Center at 6403 Lake Isabella Road. It is not known how many people were affected by the evacuation order, which remains in place.
While cooler temperatures are helping firefighters, strong winds and lightning at higher altitudes are forecast for the southern Sierra Nevada this weekend.
Firefighters are closely monitoring wind conditions and extreme fire behavior to determine if additional evacuations will be needed.
Across the state, more than 11,000 firefighters are fighting 13 large forest fires. Red flag warnings are in effect throughout northern California due to gusty winds and low humidity.
The public is urged to use extreme caution when recreating outdoors. A fire can spread extremely quickly under current conditions.
Joshua Yeager covers water, agriculture, parks and housing for the Visalia Times-Delta and Tulare Advance-Register newspapers. Follow him onTwitter @VTD_Joshy. Receive alerts and stay up to date on all things Tulare County for as little as $ 1 per month. Subscribe today.