Shaeffer Fire’s Road Closure Ends!

Good news for those wanting to access the western entry points to the Domeland Wilderness. The road closure has been lifted on the Sherman Pass road! Below is directly from the Sequoia National Forest’s public release letter.

Schaeffer Fire Area, Roads, and Trails Closure Rescinded

PORTERVILLE, Calif., July 27, 2017 – Forest Service officials rescinded the Schaeffer Fire Area Closure Order within the Kern River and Western Divide Ranger Districts as of Friday, July 28, 2017. The fire is currently 94% contained. Smoke in the interior may continue for several weeks and fire suppression resources will remain on scene to monitor the area.

Roads and trails within the closure area, including Sherman Pass and Monache roads are now open. Rattlesnake Trail #33E22 will remain closed due to pre-existing conditions. Please remain cautious when visiting the area’s roads and trails. Hazards that remain within the closure area include burning stumps, hot spots, ash, hazard trees, and snags.

The lightning caused Schaeffer Fire started, Saturday, June 24, 2017, when a storm passed through the Kern River Ranger District of the Sequoia National Forest. In the interest of Forest visitor and firefighter health and safety, Forest officials placed the Schaeffer Fire Area Closure Order, July 8, 2017.

For more information, call the Kernville Ranger Station at 760-376-3781. The district office is open 7-days a week, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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Shaeffer Fire at 74% Containment

Incident: Schaeffer Fire Wildfire

Acres Burned: 16,002 Structures Threatened: 13

Containment: 74 % Injuries: 17

Personnel: 985 Fuel Type: Brush, timber, heavy dead and down

Start Date: June 24, 2017

A Forest closure order for the fire area, including all roads and trails is in affect and will remain until the fire is declared out (Forest Order No. 0513-17-20). For details regarding this closure, please go to https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5285

Clear weather yesterday allowed firefighters to conduct a successful burning operation in the NW corner of the fire near the Kern River and the South Fork of the Kern River intersect. Today crews will continue to work, keeping the fire to the south side of the Kern River. On the east flank of the fire, in the Bonita Flats area, the fire’s perimeter has not changed over the last few days. In all other areas of the fire, crews continue to work improving and mopping-up containment lines and constructing direct line as needed.

Over the next several days, firefighters will start fire suppression repair. The goal of fire suppression repair is to minimize or eliminate environmental impacts caused by firefighting activities and leave the area in as natural a condition as possible. Vegetation that was cut will be scattered and used to cover areas of bare soil that were cleared by the fire fighters. This includes hand lines, dozer lines, safety zones and helicopter landing sites. Trash will be hauled out and excess equipment will be removed. Fire suppression repair is the first phase of rehabilitation after a wildfire. 

With the significant progress made in reaching 74% containment, fire managers are beginning to downsize the suppression organization. Resources are being released as conditions warrant.

For Smoke Advisory information, see https://www.cdc.gov/features/wildfires/index.html orhttp://valleyair.org/wildfires.htm.

Information on the #SchaefferFire can be found on Facebook and Twitter ,https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5285 or go to Schaefferfire@gmail.com. The Kern River Ranger District can also be reached at 760-376-3781 (ext.635) from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.

Source: InciWeb

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Shaeffer Fire Now at 61% Containment

Incident: Schaeffer Fire Wildfire
Acres Burned: 16,002

Structures Threatened: 13

Containment: 61% Injuries: 5 (minor)

Personnel: 1,039 Fuel Type: Brush, timber, heavy dead and down

Start Date: June 24, 2017

A Forest closure order for the fire area, including all roads and trails is in affect and will remain until the fire is declared out (Forest Order No. 0513-17-20).For details regarding this closure, please go to https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5285.

Suppression efforts on the Schaeffer fire have increased to a containment of 61%. The southwest portion of the fire from the Forks of the Kern to Bonita Meadows is now considered contained. The fire remains active on its northern border in the Kern River area, northeast of the Forks of the Kern, and on the eastern flank in the Beach Meadows area. Protection measures are still in place for structures that may be threatened. Similar conditions are expected today for those regions of the fire, which may result in smoke columns.

Firefighters continue to work along the Kern River and on the eastern perimeter to secure and hold the fire line. Air operations will make water drops throughout the day to check fire spread and cool areas of intense heat. Crews may use firing operations when weather is ideal to consume unburned fuel between containment lines and the fire.

In advance of potential firing operations public and firefighter safety, as well as protection of property are top priorities. “Burning out” is a tactic used by firefighters to assist in controlling fires. Operations of this type are used during favorable weather to minimize fire severity. Firefighters will wait for optimal conditions and continually assess the firing operation. Smoke and fire may be visible.

Resources assigned to the Schaeffer Fire include of 30 crews, 28 engines, 6 dozers and 10 water tenders, and various overhead and support personnel for a total of 1,039 personnel.

Friday and Saturday will see a slight warming and drying trend. Relative humidity may drop back into the upper teens during this time.

As suppression efforts continue, smoke may impact surrounding communities. Smoke is typically greater in the morning and evening hours. Plan outdoor activities for times and places with low smoke levels. People with respiratory conditions, young children, and elderly people may be susceptible to adverse effects. Air District officials urge residents to follow their doctor’s advice. For more information, see https://www.cdc.gov/features/wildfires/index.html orhttp://valleyair.org/wildfires.htm.

Information on the #SchaefferFire can be found on Facebook and Twitter or go to https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5285. The Kern River Ranger District can also be reached at 760-376-3781 (ext.635) from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.

Source: InciWeb

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Shaeffer Fire Reaches 42% Containment

Incident: Schaeffer Fire Wildfire
Released: 11 hrs. ago

Acres Burned: 15,859 Structures Threatened: 13

Containment: 42% Injuries: 4 (minor)

Personnel: 1,141 Fuel Type: Brush, timber, heavy dead and down

Start Date: June 24, 2017

A Forest closure order for the fire area, including all roads and trails is in affect and will remain until the fire is declared out (Forest Order No. 0513-17-20). For details regarding this closure, please go to https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5285 .

The Schaeffer Fire was active yesterday on its northern border in the Little Kern River and Kern River area. Similar conditions are expected today for that region of the fire and on the eastern flank, in the Beach Meadows region, which may result in smoke columns. Crews are working along the Kern River securing and holding the northern and eastern perimeters.

Firefighters are making excellent progress in constructing and holding hand line on all flanks of the fire. Air operations continued to make water drops throughout the day to check the spread of the fire Overall the heat from the fire is diminishing. Containment has increased to 42%.

In advance of potential firing operations public and firefighter safety, as well as protection of property are top priorities for the Incident Management Team. “Burning out” is a tactic used by firefighters to assist in controlling fires. Operations of this type are typically used during favorable weather to minimize fire severity. As such, crews wait for optimal conditions. Firefighters will constantly assess the firing operation. Smoke and fire may be visible.

Resources assigned to the Schaeffer Fire include of 37 crews, 29 engines, 5 dozers and 12 water tenders, and various overhead and support personnel for a total of 1,141 personnel.

Little change in the weather pattern is expected over the next few days. Thursday and Friday will see a slight warming and drying trend. Relative humidity is likely to drop back into the upper teens during this time.

As suppression efforts continue, smoke may impact surrounding communities. Smoke is typically greater in the morning and evening hours. Plan outdoor activities for times and places with low smoke levels. People with respiratory conditions, young children, and elderly people may be susceptible to adverse effects. Air District officials urge residents to follow their doctor’s advice. For more information, seehttps://www.cdc.gov/features/wildfires/index.html or http://valleyair.org/wildfires.htm.

Information on the #SchaefferFire can be found by following on Facebook and Twitter or go to https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5285. The Kern River Ranger District can also be reached at 760-376-3781 (ext.635) from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.

Source: Schaeffer Fire InciWeb

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Video: Domeland Wilderness

A couple of folks head out into the Domeland Wilderness to do some trail maintenance work. Check out the views of where they went in this video. Thank for sharing your adventure Dylon Schwahn!

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Schaeffer Fire closes roads and trails

Although the Schaeffer Fire is not within the Domeland Wilderness, it is impacting access to trails. A Forest Order is in effect closing road access to some trailheads. Read and follow the links below for more information.

Schaeffer Fire Now at 12,268 Acres 

Acres Burned: 12,268 Structures Threatened: 12

Containment: 10% Injuries: 0

Personnel: 722 Fuel Type: Brush and Timber

Kernville, CA July 8, 2017 – The Schaeffer Fire is currently 12,268 acres and 10% contained. The fire is burning 17 miles north of Kernville within the 2002 McNally wildfire footprint.

A Forest closure order for the area of the fire, including all roads and trails has been issued, going into effect today and will remain in effect until the fire is declared out (Forest Order No. 0513-17-20). For details regarding this closure, please go tohttps://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5285 .

Yesterday, a spot fire occurred on the north side of the Kern River. Helicopters effectively controlled the one acre fire. Firefighters continue to have success with containment efforts as fire continues backing slowly toward the Kern River to the northwest. Hotshot crews are working in the rugged terrain on the north end of the fire to strengthen the containment line using existing roads and trails to keep it from spreading into the Golden Trout Wilderness.

Fire activity remains active today. The fire progressed on the south and east edges and fire crews are doing an outstanding job strengthening the indirect handline on the south edge around Schaeffer Mountain and tying into the forest roads, trails and Sherman Pass Road. This effort can reduce the overall containment area. Crews continue to improve defensible space around structures in these areas.

Helicopters are making water drops to protect resources in the vicinity and air tankers will be used to reinforce containment lines when they can be used effectively and weather conditions permit.

Hotter and dryer weather conditions are predicted for this weekend with a slight chance of thunderstorms today.

There will be a community meeting at Kennedy Meadows Volunteer Fire Station this Saturday at 4:00 PM (99075 Goman Ave.). A community meeting is also scheduled in Inyokern on Sunday at 3:00 PM at Inyokern Fire Station #73 (6919 Monache Mountain Ave).

People with respiratory conditions, young children, and elderly people may be susceptible to adverse effects. Air District officials urge residents to follow their doctor’s advice. For more information, seehttps://www.cdc.gov/features/wildfires/index.html or http://valleyair.org/wildfires.htm.

For more information follow #SchaefferFire on Facebook and Twitter or go tohttps://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5285. The Kern River Ranger District can also be reached at 760-376-3781 (ext.635) from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.

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Trail Report: Big Meadow, Manter Meadow, and Church Dome

Thanks to Dan Hall for the trail report below. Here is what some users can expect when hiking on the trails mentioned below. A link to the photos from his trip is also included.

Photos: http://tinyurl.com/y87ouou4

Big Meadow Trailhead (North) up to Wilderness Boundary (34E14)
Regarding the tread, there are no catastrophic slides, collapses or ruts. There are some brushy areas developing, but the trail is still easy to find and hike.
Regarding blowdowns across the trail, there are 2 in this section of trail. The required cuts are from 6 to 16 inches. Hikers and stock can get around them without significant problems or environmental damage.

Wilderness Boundary down to Trail Junction on west side of Manter Meadow (34E14)
Regarding the tread, there are no catastrophic slides, collapses or ruts. Regarding blowdowns across the trail, there are 4 in this section. The required cuts are from 6 to 16 inches. Hikers and stock can get around them without significant problems or environmental damage.

Trail Junction on west side of Manter Meadow going north around to Junction with Woodpecker Trail (34E08)
Regarding the tread, there are no catastrophic slides, collapses or ruts. Regarding blowdowns across the trail, there are 2 in this section. The required cuts are from 14 to 16 inches. Hikers and stock can get around them without significant problems or environmental damage.

Woodpecker Trail (34E08) south to Junction of Manter Trail (34E12)
Regarding the tread, there are no catastrophic slides, collapses or ruts. Regarding blowdowns across the trail, there are none in this section.

Woodpecker Trail (34E08) south from Manter Trail (34E12) to Junction of Trail 34E37
Regarding the tread, there are no catastrophic slides, collapses or ruts. Regarding blowdowns across the trail, there are 2 in this section. The required cuts are from 6 to 40 inches. Hikers and stock can get around them, but the 40 inch one is real problem for all because it is part of a wider array of blowdowns (which I did not include in my photo; sorry). It is possible that the Indiana volunteer crew cut out the 40 inch one because I told them about it, but I do not know if they had the time.

Woodpecker Trail (34E08) from Junction of Trail 34E37 south toward Church Dome
Regarding the tread, there are no catastrophic slides, collapses or ruts. Regarding blowdowns across the trail, there is 1 about half a mile after the trail junction and the required cut is about 18 inches. Hikers and stock can get around it without significant problems or environmental damage.

Please note that I hiked only to about a mile from the wilderness boundary and so I can not report on what may be beyond that point.

Thank you so much Dan for this information. I am sure it will help other users of the site plan their trips into the Domeland Wilderness. It is greatly appreciated!

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Cherry Hill Road is Open!

Cherry Hill Road is open! Users can now access likely the most popular entry points into the Domeland Wilderness. Entry points include the Manter North TH (34E14) and accessing the Cannell Meadow Trail (33E32) to Siretta Trail (34E12). Enjoy!

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Plan B for the Memorial Weekend

Large amounts of snow have persisted through the Spring and are starting to melt away. Unfortunately for those wanting to get outdoors and into the Domeland Wilderness this Memorial Day weekend may have to wait. The main routes to the wilderness are closed. So much for Plan A, right?

The Cherry Hill and Sherman Pass roads are currently closed due to snow. Access from the west and northwest side of the wilderness won’t happen this coming weekend unless you really want to add all those miles one would normally drive to your weekend itinerary. However, there is one route you could take. Consider it Plan B?

Access to the Domeland Wilderness can be achieved by going west up Nine Mile Canyon road from Highway 395. One you arrive at Kennedy Meadows, find the Pacific Crest Trail and go south into the Domeland Wilderness to Rock House Basin. You can plan your trips accordingly from that entry point. Otherwise you’ll have to wait until later in the season to access the Domeland Wilderness from the most common entry points.

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Last Snow Survey Results

kern_20170501

The final snow survey results are all in for 2017. How exactly is the wilderness looking this year? It is looking exceptionally good! For the May 1 survey the Kern River Basin is setting at 210% of normal for the month of May. The Kern hasn’t seen this for several years now (last “good” year was 2011 surveys). Great news for all those who will be crossing/visiting creeks and lakes this season.

What does this mean for you though? What should you expect with so much snow this late? Some things that may occur with so much snow are the following:

  • Prolonged snow melts which creates prolonged flows in creeks and rivers. Thus resulting in colder and higher flows in creeks and rivers.
  • Trails may contain or are still covered in snow when they are usually not.
  • Delayed access to trailheads along roads due to persisting snow.

Road conditions will be updated as soon as official word arrives. Where do you plan to go this season?

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