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Latest News in Camp Nelson, CA
'Good idea to leave,' Castle Fire grows, sheriff recommends evacuation at Camp Nelson
Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux issued a voluntary evacuation notice Sunday afternoon as the Castle Fire grew dramatically in size Sunday, scorching some 4,000 acres in Sequoia National Forest.Deputies are in the area going cabin to cabin to warn people "that the fire is growing and it would be a good idea to leave," spokesperson Ashley Ritchie said in a news release.Heavy smoke particles, in particular, pose a health risk to the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions. The sheriff and Valle...
Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux issued a voluntary evacuation notice Sunday afternoon as the Castle Fire grew dramatically in size Sunday, scorching some 4,000 acres in Sequoia National Forest.
Deputies are in the area going cabin to cabin to warn people "that the fire is growing and it would be a good idea to leave," spokesperson Ashley Ritchie said in a news release.
Heavy smoke particles, in particular, pose a health risk to the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions. The sheriff and Valley air pollution officials urge everyone to stay inside as particle pollution skyrockets above safe levels.
Lightning sparked the Castle Fire in Sequoia National Forest Wednesday morning.
On Sunday, the fire jumped the Little Kern River, increasing tenfold in size from about 400 acres on Saturday. The fire is 0% contained, according to the United States Forest Service.
Six 20-person hand crews were dispatched to the fire on Thursday, but the firefighters were unable to stop the spread of the flames because of the challenging terrain, wind patterns and harsh conditions.
The fire is now spreading further into the remote Golden Trout Wilderness, away from Camp Nelson and Ponderosa to the northeast. No giant sequoia trees are currently threatened by the wildfire, officials said Saturday.
Now that the fire has exploded in size, it's unclear how far the flames are from the world's most famous trees.
"This fire is burning in extremely rough, inaccessible terrain," said Alicia Embrey, Sequoia National Forest spokeswoman.
Lots of fires, limited resources
Firefighters are making the best of limited resources to keep the flames at bay, she said. Officials are concerned by continuing hot and dry conditions, as well as thunderstorms forecast across the mountains this weekend.
The challenging weather sparked Cal Fire to issue a red flag fire warning across much of the state Saturday.
“What this means, is that any lightning that comes through, based on the fact that we have so many resources that are affected throughout California, it’s going to likely result in additional fires," said Chief Sana Jones, an incident commander for Cal Fire. "We do have a plan in order to immediate attack those fires, but it’s going to take some work."
An Incident Management Team has been ordered for the Castle Fire and is expected to arrive over the next few days. That process may be sped up after Sunday's quick spread.
Emergency closures of Golden Trout Wilderness trails and trailheads are pending. Those with Wilderness permits are asked to view closure information online. Forest personnel are reaching out to known wilderness permit holders to warn them about the fires.
Aircrews battling the Castle Fire spotted a second fire on Friday, where Pistol Creek and Shotgun Creek converge, deep in the Tulare County wilderness.
The second blaze is located within the burn scar of the 2017 Lion Fire and grew to 200 acres. It will remain unstaffed until resources become available to put it out.
"With most fire personnel assigned to other fires throughout California, the forest is prioritizing firefighting resources to protect life first, then property and infrastructure," Embrey said.
Joshua Yeager covers water, agriculture, parks and housing for the Visalia Times-Delta and Tulare Advance-Register newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @VTD_Joshy. Get alerts and keep up on all things Tulare County for as little as $1 a month. Subscribe today.
Windy Fire grows to 18,000 acres. Region now under Red Flag Warning
Sheyanne N Romerohttps://www.visaliatimesdelta.com/story/news/2021/09/18/ponderosa-quaking-aspen-ordered-evacuate-due-growing-windy-fire-visalia-california-wildfires/8405185002/
Note to readers: We’ve made this story free as a vital public service to our foothill communities. If you are able, help power local journalism. Subscribe to the Visalia Times-Delta. Your support goes a long way in helping us serve you with meaningful, in-depth coverage.The Windy Fire was ignited on the Tule River Indian Reservation during an intense Sept. 9 thunderstorm that lit up California, also sparki...
Note to readers: We’ve made this story free as a vital public service to our foothill communities. If you are able, help power local journalism. Subscribe to the Visalia Times-Delta. Your support goes a long way in helping us serve you with meaningful, in-depth coverage.
The Windy Fire was ignited on the Tule River Indian Reservation during an intense Sept. 9 thunderstorm that lit up California, also sparking the KNP Complex threatening Sequoia National Park to the north.
The fire is roughly 12,370 acres with 0% containment.
With resources across the state and nation strained, firefighters are prioritizing existing barriers — roadways, rivers, and ridges — to contain the fire's spread.
Update 7:45 p.m.: The Windy Fire grew roughly 6,000 acres in less than a day and is now at 18,075 acres. The fire burning in the Giant Sequoia National Monument is 0% contained.
"Firefighters faced very active to extreme fire behavior driven by the winds associated with the passage of a cold front today," U.S. Forest Service officials stated.
A Red Flag Warning is in effect until 8 p.m. Sunday. Shifting winds along with the very dry air and very dry fuels have created a challenge for firefighters.
Peak winds on Sunday could be more than 40 mph, forest service officials said.
M99 has been closed just north of McNally’s Fairview Lodge at 7300 Kern River Highway going north towards Shirman Pass. Tulare County residents can sign up to receive county emergency notifications by registering at AlertTC.com.
More evacuation orders issued for Windy Fire
An evacuation order was issued for the communities of Ponderosa and Quaking Aspen.
The area includes Western Divide Highway at Dome Rock, north to Highway 190 at North Road, east to Route 21S05, at Needles Trail, south to Lloyd Meadow at Lower Peppermint Road.
An evacuation order means an immediate threat to life, safety, and property and all residents and visitors must leave now before the fire reaches the community.
If residents are unable to evacuate and need help, they can call 9-1-1. Avoid all road closures and use Highway 190 to Porterville.
A road closure is in place for Western Divide Highway from Highway 190 to M50 at Parker Pass. There will be a roadblock at Highway 190 and Redwood – only residents of Cedar Slope will be allowed through with proof of residency.
Firefighters are prioritizing defending Johnsondale — also under a mandatory evacuation order — and the Trail of 100 Giants, a famed sequoia grove at the heart of the Giant Sequoia National Monument.
The communities of Camp Nelson, Pierpoint, Coy Flat, Mountain Aire, Cedar Slope, Alpine Village, Rogers Camp, and Sequoia Crest are under evacuation warnings.
A temporary evacuation point where residents can access information and services has been established at Porterville College.
Burning on all sides
On Friday night, the fire burned north to Slate Mountain and has burned a portion of the Slate Mountain Botanical area on the Giant Sequoia National Monument. It also crossed the Western Divide Highway on the south end and reached the Trail of 100 Giants.
"Firefighters are doing everything they can to protect the Trail of 100 Giants Sequoias and the large trees elsewhere in the fire area," fire officials stated. "The goal is to manage a low intensity fire around the big trees that is beneficial for them."
The fire is burning on all sides and is backing downslope on the western perimeter on the Tule River Reservation to the Road 212. As of Saturday, the fire hadn't crossed the road.
Protective measures are being made to preserve seasonal cabins on the Tule River Reservation.
The fire is expected to grow Saturday and Sunday.
Gusty winds are headed for the region and may push the fire north, toward the KNP Complex burning in Sequoia National Park. A Red Flag Warning, indicating high wildfire threat, will be in effect across the region beginning 5 p.m. Saturday.
Los Alamitos QB Malachi Nelson to take part in Under Armour Next Football Camp Series in Los Angeles
John W. Davishttps://www.presstelegram.com/2022/03/03/los-alamitos-qb-malachi-nelson-to-take-part-in-under-armour-next-football-camp-series-in-los-angeles/
Three Los Alamitos football players, quarterback Malachi Nelson, wide receiver DeAndre Moore Jr. and wide receiver Makai Lemon, will headline the 2022 Under Armour Next Football Series in Los Angeles at Mission Viejo High School on Sunday, March 6.Nelson and Moore have already committed to playing in the 2023 Under Armour Next All-America Game, which is played annually in Florida.In addition to No. 2-ranked Nelson, No. 10 Moore and No. 20 Lemon, other Press-Telegram area ESPN Junior 300 Class of 2023 standouts include:No...
Three Los Alamitos football players, quarterback Malachi Nelson, wide receiver DeAndre Moore Jr. and wide receiver Makai Lemon, will headline the 2022 Under Armour Next Football Series in Los Angeles at Mission Viejo High School on Sunday, March 6.
Nelson and Moore have already committed to playing in the 2023 Under Armour Next All-America Game, which is played annually in Florida.
In addition to No. 2-ranked Nelson, No. 10 Moore and No. 20 Lemon, other Press-Telegram area ESPN Junior 300 Class of 2023 standouts include:
No. 88 QB Pierce Clarkson, St. John Bosco, (Louisville commit)
No. 131 DB Daylen Austin, Long Beach Poly
No. 156 DB Ronald Jones, St. John Bosco, (Cal commit)
No. 227 WR Jahlil McClain, St. John Bosco
No. 238 DB Jshawn Frausto-Ramos, St. John Bosco
Organizers said student-athletes will have an opportunity to earn a coveted bid to the 2023 Under Armour Next All-America Game or Future 50 Camp.
Meanwhile, local standouts from the Class of 2024 like Millikan wide receiver Jordan Anderson, Millikan quarterback Myles Jackson, Millikan wide receiver Ryan Pellum, Long Beach Poly wide receiver Jason Robinson Jr., who is committed to USC, St. John Bosco defensive back Marcelles Williams, Long Beach Poly lineback Dylan Williams, and St. John Bosco defensive back Peyton Woodyard, will also participate before their junior seasons and are all considered consensus Power 5 prospects by several recruiting services.
In the Class of 2025, Long Beach Poly freshman wide receiver Jadyn Robinson will participate in the UA camp before his sophomore season.
Class of 2023
Daylen Austin, DB, 6’1″ 182 pounds – Long Beach Poly
Pierce Clarkson, QB, 6’1″ 184 pounds – St. John Bosco (Louisville commit)
Jshawn Frausto-Ramos, DB, 6’0″ 180 pounds – St. John Bosco
Nathan Gonzales, DL, 6’5″ 210 pounds – Warren
Ammontonio Hansen, DL, 6’2″ 305 pounds – Los Alamitos
Jaden Hunt, DB, 5’9″ 155 pounds – Long Beach Millikan
Ronald Jones, DB, 6’0″ 187 pounds – St. John Bosco
Sua Lefotu, DL, 6’4″ 295 pounds – St. John Bosco
Makai Lemon, WR, 6’0″ 185 pounds – Los Alamitos (USC commit)
Jahlil McClain, WR, 5’11” 175 pounds – St. John Bosco
Angelo Miranda, DB, 5’10 160 pounds – Long Beach Millikan
DeAndre Moore Jr., WR, 6’0″ 184 pounds – Los Alamitos
Malachi Nelson, QB, 6’4″ 185 pounds – Los Alamitos (USC commit)
Hunter Nowell, DB, 6’2″ 193 pounds – St. John Bosco
Ethan O’Connor, DB, 6’3″ 175 pounds – Los Alamitos
Nygel Osborne, RB, 5’11” 190 pounds – Los Alamitos
Deshunn Powell, DB, 5’10” 180 pounds – St. Pius X-St. Matthias
Nehemiah Sagiao, LB, 6’4″ 230 pounds – Los Alamitos
Jordan Shaw, DB, 5’11” 160 pounds – St. Pius X-St. Matthias
Ryder Trujillo, DL, 6’5″ 235 pounds – Los Alamitos
Class of 2024
Jordan Anderson, WR, 6’1″ 160 pounds – Long Beach Millikan
Frankie Edwards III, DB, 5’11” 175 pounds – St. John Bosco
Myles Jackson, QB, 6’2″ 190 pounds – Long Beach Millikan
Ryan Pellum, WR, 5’11” 170 pounds – Long Beach Millikan
Jason Robinson Jr., WR, 5’11” 155 pounds – Long Beach Poly (USC commit)
Caleb Sanchez, QB, 6’4″ 215 pounds – St. John Bosco
Marcelles Williams, DB, 5’11” 175 pounds – St. John Bosco
Dylan Williams, LB, 6’3″ 200 pounds – Long Beach Poly
Peyton Woodyard, DB, 6’2″ 191 pounds – St. John Bosco
Class of 2025
Jadyn Robinson, WR, 5’7″ 128 pounds – Long Beach Poly
The UA Next Football Camp Series in Los Angeles will also feature its first-ever camp for middle school and high school girls, where more than 100 players from Arizona, California and Nevada will participate in the camp on Friday, March 4.
Wii Chiiwaakanak prepares for annual Indigenous STEAM Summer Camp
University of Winnipeg Newshttps://news.uwinnipeg.ca/wii-chiiwaakanak-prepares-for-annual-indigenous-steam-summer-camp/
Indigenous July 4, 2023The Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre is preparing for its largest Indigenous STEAM Summer Camp yet.I always like to highlight how accessible this camp is and that creating equitable oppo...
July 4, 2023
I always like to highlight how accessible this camp is and that creating equitable opportunities is a definite priority.
The camp, which is designed for students in Grades 1 to 8, gives children the opportunity to participate in a wide range of activities in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics, while incorporating Indigenous knowledge, language, and culture as much as possible.
Over the course of four weeks, the camp is hosting Grades 1 to 3 and 4 to 6 students from July 10 to 14, July 17 to 21, and July 24 to 28, followed by Grades 3 to 5 and 6 to 8 students from July 31 to August 4.
Angeline Nelson, Wii Chiiwaakanak’s Director of Community Learning and Engagement, says 215 students have registered for the annual camp and the new addition of Grades 6 to 8 students in the fourth week is all thanks to a new $10,000 USD donation from Boeing.
“It’s exciting to engage Grades 7 and 8 students in our summer camp, because at that age they are starting to think about their future,” Nelson said. “With high school around the corner, the potential for them to be Model School students is there. Similarly, the idea they could be UWinnipeg students in a few short years is incredible to think about.”
“This partnership reflects Boeing’s commitment to the Winnipeg community,” said Kathleen Garney, General Manager of Boeing Winnipeg. “We are excited about the combination of STEAM subjects and traditional Indigenous knowledge. These camps will provide a solid foundation for Indigenous youth to build on their own unique strengths and hopefully be inspired to pursue a career in a STEAM field in the future. Our local talent pipeline benefits greatly from this type of program.”
Nelson also says the continued funding support through the Government of Canada’s CanCode program and the Winnipeg Foundation will allow them to sustain the growth of the camp year after year.
Combining Indigenous knowledge with STEAM
Indigenous knowledge keepers will be sharing traditional knowledge about many topics, including native plants, traditional medicines and harvesting, creation stories, traditional food, games, and more.
Students will also take part in activities such as digital media creation (creating short videos), learning about special effects, introductory coding, engineering-based activities like rocket building and launching, 3D design and printing, and other fun workshops with UWinnipeg faculty.
“Thanks to our partnership in hosting STEM Day, Dr. Tabitha Wood has helped us to engage some amazing faculty members to be a part of the camp,” Nelson said. “We’re looking forward to having faculty lead sessions that will take them all over campus to do water testing, chemistry experiments in the labs, and aging some of the trees in front of Wesley Hall.”
Nelson says she’s most looking forward to having fun with the students and making them feel a sense of belonging at the University from a young age.
“The youth see themselves represented in the camp leaders, the teachers, and the facilitators,” she said. “We create a safe space where they can build an early connection with UWinnipeg staff and faculty who volunteer to lead different kinds of workshops.”
And representation is what’s most important.
Wii Chiiwaakanak specifically recruits participants by putting up posters in the Aboriginal Centre, Spence Neighbourhood Association, local schools, and other community organizations in the area, so they can reach groups that don’t always have access to these types of opportunities.
Nelson recalled stories of supporting families to participate in their camps:
“I’m proud our team understands the importance and impact of reaching students for whom fees, transportation, or food might be barriers. I always like to highlight how accessible this camp is and that creating equitable opportunities is a definite priority.”
Learn more about Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre’s annual Indigenous STEAM Summer Camp.
Trying to keep up with dead trees in California forests
firstname.lastname@example.orgNormally, the drive through Sequoia National Forest is a pleasant one, with the occasional views of majestic valleys and stands of trees a short distance from the winding road.But on a recent trip through the forest near Camp Nelson, the view of the trees for miles was marred by the site of countless trees cut down in recent weeks and piles of ash where U.S. Forest Service crews burned fallen limbs. In fact, some of the fires were burning while crew members watched and then smothered...
Normally, the drive through Sequoia National Forest is a pleasant one, with the occasional views of majestic valleys and stands of trees a short distance from the winding road.
But on a recent trip through the forest near Camp Nelson, the view of the trees for miles was marred by the site of countless trees cut down in recent weeks and piles of ash where U.S. Forest Service crews burned fallen limbs. In fact, some of the fires were burning while crew members watched and then smothered the remnants of fires to ensure they didn’t touch off wildfires in this very dry forest.
That’s a threat the crews here are taking very seriously, said Ernie Villa, fire chief for the Western Divide Ranger District. He’s helped oversee Forest Service personnel from as far away as Oregon who have been cutting down trees that are dead or dying trees since late March. The crews focus on trees near roads, campgrounds and structures in Sequoia National Forest.
“We had crews come in and remove the trees to prevent any from falling along roadside corridors or threats to people,” said Villa, noting that the 30-member tree-cutting crew has cut about 1,600 trees in just over a month in this forest alone.
And after taking a break to begin firefighting training, the crews will be back in mid-May with about 70 seasonal firefighters hired for this year’s fire season to cut down more trees.
How bad is it?
It isn't clear how many trees are dead here and in other California forests. Last year, the Forest Service conducted an aerial survey of Northern, Central and Southern California, along with the Central Coast, and through photo analysis, determined an estimated 27.6 million trees were dead or dying in forests. That’s nearly nine times the 3.3 million dead trees identified in 2014.
A new survey was scheduled to begin on April 15, but weather problems delayed the start until sometime in June.
But experts say there’s no doubt the number of dead and dying trees will increase from last year — probably by a considerable number, despite near average rainfall in the state over the past few months.
‘Intense’ conditions lead to risks
Put that all together, and these dead trees pose major risks, as they provide ample fuel for fires. Just driving through the forest above Camp Nelson, some areas densely packed with trees appeared to have more brown, dead foliage than healthy green.
And while the giant Sequoias seem to be holding up better than other trees in the Sierra forests, experts note that in a fire, those dead, smaller trees sit under Sequoias and could burn quickly and intensely enough to ignite the centuries-old giants.
“I’ve been in the forest approximately 22 years, and I’ve never seen anything as intense as the mortality among the trees in response to the drought,” Villa said.
And the problem goes beyond just California’s national forests. It extends to forests across the country, on local and federal lands, tribal lands and private property.
All these groups see the risks and are trying to chop down dead trees, including the state’s major electrical utilities that have been the most aggressive. They’ve downed dead and dying trees near power lines over concerns that they could fall and take those lines with them.
Back in September, the Forest Service closed the Trail of 100 Giants, the most popular tourist site at the Giant Sequoia National Monument because of safety concerns after 117 dead or dying trees in the area were identified as being at risk of falling.
“Many of the trees were successfully felled over the winter, but some remain that continue to pose a hazard to the public,” states a Forest Service press release.
Estimates are that about a half mile of the 1.3 mile Trail of 100 Giants will be reopened to visitors in a couple of weeks, but the rest may not open for a couple of months, while more trees are felled in the area, said Denise Alonso, a Forest Service spokeswoman.
“So our immediate, primary focus is to make sure we aren’t at risk of falling, dead trees,” said Eric Coyne, project manager for Tulare County’s Tree Mortality Task Force.
Tulare County is one of six counties in the state — including Tuolumne, Fresno, Madera, Mariposa and Kern — considered at high risk of fires and other problems due to the number of dead and dying trees throughout those counties. Each has joined California’s Tree Mortality Task Force, which also includes state and federal agencies.
The agency was formed in response to Gov. Jerry Brown declaring a dead tree emergency in the state, though the Tulare County Board of Supervisors already had made its own emergency declaration.
Here in Tulare County, plans are underway to cut down about 35,000 dead and dying trees along several stretches of county roads in the Sierra foothills — a combined 61 miles, measuring out 100 feet along both sides of the roads to ensure dead trees don’t fall and hit vehicles or block what may be the only access to some communities, Coyne said.
As for how the county will pay for the tree removals, officials are looking at state disaster money, which would cover 75 percent of the costs.
“We’re just in the process of assessing it,” Coyne said, adding that the county also intends to apply for a $3 million Federal Emergency Management Agency grant, though the county would have to put up $1 million of its own money.
While various public agencies are also trying to come up with money to cover the costs of these initial tree-removal projects, “we know whatever we do will be a drop in the bucket,” said Coyne. He added that here and in other parts of the state with tree-mortality problems there are larger swaths of forest that are more isolated and harder to get to with more dead trees that could quickly fuel highly intense, fast-moving fires.
I can tell you the assessment changes, and it changes every three to six months,” Coyne said. “This assessment is critical because it’s a moving target. And if we wait much longer, it’s going to get much worse.”
“They’re dying pretty rapidly and in large numbers — to the point we’re having trouble keeping up with the number of trees that are dying along major corridors, or where they post a threat to public safety,” Villa said.
But even with all the money and resources to cut down the dead trees, a major obstacle exists — what to do with all the felled trees.
What about all that lumber?
Working saw mills are few and far between in California since restrictions were imposed in the 1990s on commercial cutting of trees on federal land. As such, the eight lumber mills that once peppered the Valley are down to one, Sierra Lumber in Terra Bella.
And for the past two years, most of that company’s business has been focused on processing trees damaged in fires near Shaver Lake and North Fork, along with recent contracts to process drought-damaged trees from Mountain Home State Forest and the Tule River Indian Reservation, said Chief Executive Officer Kent Duysen. He says that there is no way his or the other mills in the state can come close to processing all the dead trees in the state.
While suggestions have been made to open federal land to private lumber companies so they can clear the dead trees and haul them off for processing — at little or no cost to taxpayers — Duysen noted that the majority of the dead trees in the Sierra Nevada range are Ponderosa pines, and most probably wouldn’t interest processors. The trees have been dead so long that they’ve developed blue stain, a darkening of the wood, which makes them good for manufacturing low-value products, including crates and pallets.
“And there is a glut of that stuff because of the drought,” he said, noting that the cost of cutting and hauling the wood down from the foothills would be more than what mills might pay for the logs.
Another problem is that a lot of the dead trees are so badly damaged from bark beetles and wood borer beetles, there isn’t much good wood left for commercial use.
Even incinerators across the state are at capacity and likely couldn’t handle more than a small percentage of the dead trees across the state, Duysen said.
In the Sierra forest, logs are being left on the ground in the hopes that permitted “wood gatherers” — people who cut and sell wood for campfires and fireplaces — will haul off a good number of the fallen trees, Villa said.
While some of the remaining trees will be left as habitat for wildlife, the rest will be disposed of through prescribed burns, though that could take years, he added.
“It feels like we won’t be able to do enough to get rid of most of them, so I think you feel the urgency to try to start treating these areas we can get to now,” Villa said. Crews will move higher in the forest once snow at higher elevations clears.
Some areas may be left untreated because they don’t pose as high a risk, Villa said.
As for the rest, “Our district and [foresters] are working on plans to deal with some of those trees,” he said. “All these trees that are dead, pose risks of high fire dangers and risks to mountain communities. It’s a widespread problem we’re trying to deal with.”