Aerial ignitions underway for Lion Wildfire; crews make odd discovery

Aerial ignitions underway for Lion Wildfire; crews make odd discovery

24 July 2011

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USA — Sequoia National Forest — The Lion Wildfire has grown to 7,051 acres. Fire crews began aerial ignitions over the last two days. The fire has spread into the Soda Spring Creek and will likely cross the creek. These aerial ignitions prevent the fire making an uphill run that would lead to greater fire intensity and that would challenge control along the containment lines.

These ignitions, at higher elevations, are used to promote a backing fire in an area that has not seen fire in 90 years. This moderates fire intensity and fuel consumption, and reduces smoke production in this steep, rugged and remote area.

“I am proud of the safe operation I see from my firefighters,” said Priscilla Summers, Western Divide District Ranger. “Their work is impressive in restoring fire strategically and carefully in an area that saw natural fire every fifteen years or so. This response to the Lion Wildfire diminishes the risk of future fires being larger, more dangerous and destructive, and smokier as well.”

Firefighters continue work to protect private property and cabins near the fire, including creating better defensible space around cabins, placing hose and firelines near these structures, and completing small burnout operations to develop a perimeter around these areas.

Forest officials estimate the fire will be contained at approximately 22,000 acres. However, places within this perimeter such as rocky ridges and wet meadows will not burn. Fire behavior remains favorable with the fire remaining on the forest floor and consuming dead and downed fuels.

A public meeting is planned for Tuesday, July 26 at 6:30 pm in Kernville at the Odd Fellows Hall at 50 Tobias Street. District Rangers, Incident Commanders, and representatives from the Eastern Kern APCD and Kern County Public Health will be in attendance to answer questions about the current fire situation, future strategy for the Lion Fire, and to address concerns about smoke impacts.

An area closure is in effect for the Lion Fire. The closure area includes all backcountry trails northeast of Shake Camp Trailhead to trail 32E06 north of Round Meadow. A detailed map of trail closures in the Golden Trout Wilderness can be found on Inciweb:

Historic Cabin Discovered on Lion Wildfire

Helicopter crew members spotted an old cabin in the forest’s wilderness while completing aerial ignitions yesterday.

Crew members halted ignitions and ensured that the cabin was protected from the fire. This cabin was undocumented by forest officials, so this is a special find for the forest.

“It’s exciting to have discovered an historic structure that we were unaware of in this fire response,” said Priscilla Summers, Western Divide District Ranger. “Efforts are underway by forest staff to determine how this cabin fits into the historical story of the area. The forest thanks the firefighters who saw this cabin and made the efforts to protect it from the fire.”

Please visit for information about the Lion Wildfire.

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