Light rain hits the Rough Fire in California

(UPDATED at 11:51 a.m. PT, September 14, 2015)

Smoke over Rough Fire
Smoke over Rough Fire, 9-13-2015. InciWeb photo.

The Rough Fire has grown by almost 20,000 acres in the last three days and is now listed at 138,053 acres.

Below is an excerpt from an update by the incident management team Monday morning:

Firefighting efforts are being made during day and night shifts on the Rough Fire to further the containment lines, which have now reached 40% over the whole fire.

Crews and Engines continue to patrol Grant Grove checking for any escaped embers with potential to start a spot fire. Structure defense crews are in place around residential areas near the fireline including, Sequoia Lake, Hume Lake, and Cedar Grove. These firelines are holding well and being monitored closely.

Weather will be slightly cooler today through Wednesday with areas of dense smoke thinning by the afternoon, making aerial firefighting efforts more productive.

Rough Fire map
The red line was the perimeter of the Rough Fire at 8 p.m. PT, 9-13-2015. The white line was the perimeter on 9-10-2015.

At about 11:30 a.m. Monday the on-scene incident meteorologist said light rain was falling over some portions of the fire.

rough fire rain
Radar showing light rain moving in to the area of the Rough Fire at 11:32 a.m. PT, 9-14-2015.


(UPDATED at 9 a.m. PT, September 11, 2015)

New evacuations were ordered at 6 a.m. Friday near the Rough Fire for some locations south of Highway 180 and west of Highway 245. The details can be found at InciWeb, where they also have a difficult to read map unless you are able to zoom in.

Map Rough Fire
The red dots on this map of the Rough Fire were detected by a satellite at 2:36 a.m. PT, Sept. 11, 2015. The red line representing the perimeter was provided by the incident management team on September 10. (click to enlarge)

The fire has burned 119,069 acres 32 miles east of Fresno, California and continues to spread on the southwest side. Thursday night firefighters began a burnout along Highway 180 from Indian Basin south toward Cherry Gap working toward the northwest portion of Grants Grove, which has already been evacuated. Friday morning they described it as successful with containment lines reaching 400 to 500 feet wide in some places.

The eastern portion of the fire remains active near Cedar Grove and is expected to continue to spread to the east and northeast.


(UPDATED at 10:27 a.m. PT, September 10, 2015)

satellite photo Rough Fire Tenaya Fire
Satellite photo showing heat (red dots) and smoke created by the Tenaya Fire in Yosemite National Park and the Rough Fire east of Fresno. September 9, 2015. (click to enlarge)

The Rough Fire east of Fresno, California was very active Wednesday and continues to spread on the east and southwest sides. It has grown to 110,134 acres, crossing the 100,000-acre threshold to become a “megafire”.

Tuesday night the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department issued additional evacuation notices for homes west of the fire. Thursday morning the National Park Service issued an evacuation order to park visitors, park employees, concessions staff, and residents of Wilsonia in the Grant Grove area of Kings Canyon National Park. The NPS is working with the Sheriffs’ Departments of both Fresno County and Tulare County to provide the evacuation notifications.

Highway 180 is closed at the Big Stump Entrance Station. The Generals Highway, sometimes referred to as Hwy. 198, is closed at the Red Fir gate, which is west of Wuksachi Village. Sequoia National Park remains open and visitors can still use the Ash Mountain Entrance Station. Vehicles longer than 22 feet (including trailers) are not advised between Potwisha and Giant Forest Museum.

Very little information about the fire has been released by the incident management team since Wednesday morning.

Map Rough Fire
Map of the Rough Fire east of Fresno, California. The red dots represent heat detected by a satellite at 1:28 a.m. PT on September 10, 2015. The red line, supplied by the incident management team, was the perimeter three days before on September 7. (click to enlarge)


(UPDATED at 9:15 p.m. PT, September 7, 2015)

map rough fire
The red and brown dots represent heat on the Rough Fire detected by a satellite during the 24 hours before 9 p.m. PT, Sept. 7, 2015. The red dots are the most recent. The red line was the perimeter (provided by the incident management team) early Monday morning. (click to enlarge)

New evacuations were ordered for the rough fire at about 7:15 p.m. PT on September 7. From InciWeb:

Due to changing conditions of the Rough Fire, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office is informing the public that effective immediately, mandatory evacuation notices are being issued to certain residents near where the Rough Fire is burning. This is a fluid situation and there is no time table for when these mandatory evacuations will be lifted.

The impacted area is to the north of the Highway 180 / Millwood Road intersection in Dunlap. More specifically, we are focusing on the area of U.S. Forest Service Road 12S01 and Sampson Flat Road as the most southern point. The community of Crabtree is the most northern point. The western border is

U.S. Forest Service Road 12S19 and the eastern border is Cherry Gap, which is near the intersection of U.S. Forest Service Road 13S03 / Hwy. 180.

The fire has grown to 95,184 acres, an increase of over 9,000 acres since Sunday.

Satellite photo smoke Rough Fire.
Satellite photo of smoke from the Rough Fire. The red dots represent heat. September 7, 2015. NASA.


(Originally published at 11:35 a.m. PT, September 6, 2015)

Map of Rough Fire 9-6-2015
Map of the Rough Fire 9-6-2015. The red dots represent heat detected by a satellite at 2:43 a.m. PT, September 6, 2015. The incident management team supplied the perimeter, shown as the red line. (click to enlarge)

Since we last reported on the Rough Fire east of Fresno, California on September 3, it has grown by over 4,000 acres to a total of 85,894. Some of those additional acres are a result of strategic firing to remove fuels between firelines and the edge of the fire.

Below is an update released by the incident management team September 6, 2015, and below that is a 3-D map we put together using Google Earth.


“Fire reached the Lewis Creek Drainage yesterday and pushed northeast as expected. Crews providing structure protection around Cedar Grove began a burn operation around the Water Treatment facility and CCC camp to direct the fire around the structures. Additional crews will be assigned today to bolster the structure protection group should the fire progress east.

Firing operations in the Kennedy Grove, Evans Grove and Big Meadows areas have been completed. The line from Buck Rock east to Big Meadows Road and north into the Sheep Burn will continue to be reinforced, providing depth. Crews made it to interior roads in these areas to conduct burn operations for reinforcement yesterday.

The section around Hume Lake continues to hold strong. Crews assigned to this division are in a patrol and mop up status. This is to ensure that any remaining hot spots within the burn area do not make their way beyond the containment line.

Burn operations continued in Converse Basin. Aerial firing occurred during the afternoon hours yesterday along the line on Hoist Ridge. This operation is to straighten the fires edge which will provide better control as the fire advances toward the indirect containment line.

Firefighters continue to work on suppression repair north of the fire where contingency lines were needed from Black Rock Road north and above Teakettle Experimental Forest. Patrol and mop up continues along Kirch Flat toward Wishon. Crews in the John Muir Wilderness continue to monitor the area where burnout operations were completed.

As work nears completion in the John Muir Wilderness, the Mammoth Wildland Fire Module hiked out today after completing their assignment. The pack string will assist them as they haul out their gear.”


3-D map of the Rough Fire 9-6-2015
3-D map of the Rough Fire 9-6-2015. The red dots represent heat detected by a satellite at 2:43 a.m. PT, September 6, 2015. The incident management team supplied the perimeter, shown as the red line. (click to enlarge)

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

One thought on “Light rain hits the Rough Fire in California”

  1. The update on Tuesday at 1 PM in the LA Times says it’s just short of 98,000 acres; 2000 folks; $67 Million in costs so far!


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