Aug 4. update on French and El Portal fires

Cloud cover helped suppression actions throughout the night, allowing crews and equipment to make good progress in line construction along the northwest perimeter of the French Fire. As of early Monday morning, Aug. 4, 13,267 acres have burned, and the fire is 30% contained.

Crews will continue building and reinforcing containment lines on the north, west and south perimeters. The east perimeter has burned down to the San Joaquin River. Structure defense continues in the Arnold Meadow area on the northern perimeter.

An investigation has concluded that an abandoned campfire near the Rock Creek Campground was the cause of the French Fire. The abandoned campfire was located towards the bottom of Rock Creek Road, near the San Joaquin River. Investigators are asking for the public’s help for information about anyone who was seen in the area of Rock Creek Road near the San Joaquin River during the afternoon or evening of Sunday July 27.

Residents living in the community of Arnold Meadow were notified to evacuate due to increased fire activity along the northern perimeter of the fire. Several summer homes in the Hogue Apple Ranch and Wagner’s Resort were evacuated earlier.

The French Fire will continue to produce large amounts of smoke, which has impacted local communities. Smoke is typically greater in the morning and evening hours. Plan outdoor activities for times and places with low smoke levels. Up-slope breezes occur during the day, which will often take smoke into higher elevations. In the evening, these winds change direction and bring smoke down slope to lower elevations. For more information about smoke impacts, visit the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Districts website at:

El Portal Fire updateOvernight low temperatures in the mid 50s and high relative humidity helped keep fire activity minimal. The El Portal Fire, which was reported Saturday, July 26, at approximately 5 p.m., has burned 4,689 acres and is 96% contained.