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Containment improves for Tulare County wildfires, but Fresno’s air still smells of smoke

NPS / ACholo
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

Fire crews are starting to gain ground on wildfires burning in Sequoia National Park and Sequoia National Forest. But the effects are still being felt as far as Fresno County.

In Fresno, you can clearly see and smell the smoke. The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District issued an air quality alert through Monday, all of it due to the Windy and KNP Complex fires burning for the past three weeks.

Despite the dirty air, firefighters are increasing containment of both fires. The KNP Complex has grown to 51,596 acres with 20% containment as of Friday. It was only 6% contained on Tuesday this week. The Windy Fire is 89,804 acres and at 40% containment. Jim Mackensen, public information officer for the Windy Fire, says weather was a major factor in increasing containment.

“We had the cooler weather in the middle of the week, even a little tiny bit of rain on the fire which slowed everything down, which allowed us to catch up with things,” he says. 

The KNP complex burning in Sequoia National Park prompted the first evacuation warning in the Fresno County communities of Miramonte and Pinehurst Thursday. Evacuation orders also increased for the areas of Eshom and Hartland in Tulare County. 

But the effort to save the park’s most iconic trees is proving successful, says KNP Complex Fire information officer Susie Heisey.

“Until the fire is over, a full assessment of the impacts won't be able to be completed, but we do know that those iconic trees look to be in good shape,” she says.

For now, residents are urged to remain indoors to reduce their exposure to particulate matter. 



Soreath Hok is a multimedia journalist with experience in radio, television and digital production. She is a 2022 National Edward R. Murrow Award winner. At KVPR she covers local government, politics and other local news.
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