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Sequoia Blaze Consumes 15,000 Acres

Wildfire: Four hundred Boy Scouts in the national forest have been evacuated to avoid the fast-moving flames. More hot weather is expected today.

July 23, 2002|From a Times Staff Writer

A wildfire in the Sequoia National Forest continued to rage out of control Monday, after burning a mountain resort and forcing the evacuation of 400 Boy Scouts, two boys' camps and the town of Johnsondale.

The McNalley Fire erupted near the Road's End Resort in Tulare County on Sunday afternoon. By Monday evening, it had consumed more than 15,000 acres, and fire officials said they didn't know when it would be contained.

"The fire moved really fast, and now it's going up into steeper terrain," said Norm Carpenter, spokesman for the Sequoia National Forest. He said the winds often are erratic in the area and that more hot weather is expected today, which won't help.

The fire burned in the 3,760-acre Giant Sequoia National Monument, designated by President Clinton in 2000. The monument preserves groves of giant sequoias and protects the surrounding American Indian archeological sites.

Though it was burning near the park's Trail of 100 Giants, a grove of the towering trees, officials said none of the giant trees was in immediate danger.

At least eight structures burned, and more than half a dozen roads in the area were closed. More than 1,000 firefighters battled the blaze.

In neighboring Kern County, a second wildfire near Lake Isabella was 50% contained Monday after burning 1,600 acres.

The Deer Fire burned 20 structures and forced about 75 residents to flee temporarily, officials said.

The cause of both fires is under investigation.

And in Northern California, a lightening storm Sunday night sparked 28 fires near Chico. More than 250 firefighters and 11 aircraft battled those blazes.

By Monday evening, all 28 fires were contained after having burned only 138 acres, but firefighters would stay on the lines until they were all extinguished, authorities said.

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Associated Press contributed to this report.

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