Visalia · Wildfires

Kings Canyon Nat’l Park shuttered as Sequoia-based fires continue to grow

Sept. 21, 5:30 p.m. – U.S. National Park Service officials fully closed Kings Canyon National Park as the KNP Complex continues to grow.

The Tuesday closure order adds Cedar Grove and Grant Grove to the Monday closure order.

With the announcement, both Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are fully closed.

Two sets of fires in the southern Sierra Nevadas near Sequoia National Park and Forest continue to burn as firefighters attempt to divert them away from damaging ancient Giant Sequoia trees and the Giant Forest.

The KNP Complex and Windy Fire have slowed but continue to grow in the foothills, reaching a combined 52,325 acres consumed.

The KNP blaze, which sits within the Sequoia National Park and threatened, but averted, the Four Guardsmen trees was surpassed in scope by the Windy Fire on Monday night.

Increased temperatures on the ground and dryness in the atmosphere are propelling the likelihood for greater fire activity in the region.

Meanwhile, air quality down the hill in Visalia has skyrocketed to an unhealthy 158 on the air quality index. By comparison, metropolitan Fresno’s average AQI sits at 65 and Bakersfield metro average sits at 79, both in the moderate range.

Calif. Insurance Commish grants relief to residents near wildfires

Residents of 22 counties in northern California are no longer at risk of having their homeowners or renters insurance policies cancelled for the next year as wildfires blaze, California’s insurance commissioner Ricardo Lara announced Monday.

Lara announced a cancellation moratorium for residents who live in zip codes in or near one of the six Gov. Gavin Newsom-declared wildlife disasters in the Golden State.

The announcement covers roughly 325,000 policyholders mostly in northern California, expanding the scope of a similar moratorium announced in July affecting 25,000 policyholders.

“This California law empowers my office to help give people the breathing room they desperately need as they recover,” Lara said in a news release.

This is the third year California has issued these insurance moratoriums since a state law was first approved by legislators in 2018.

Last year, the state ordered protections for more than 2.4 million policyholders during an historic wildfire season that set records for the most land burned in a single year.

Alex Tavlian is the Executive Editor of The San Joaquin Valley Sun and Executive Director of Valley Future Foundation. You can reach Alex at alex.tavlian@sjvsun.com.