Rattlesnake Fire spreads onto the Inyo National Forest

11/23/20: This fire started in August on Sequoia National Park, but crossed into the Inyo National Forest a few days ago. The forest wrapped the cabins in Little Whitney Meadow this weekend. Smoke may be visible from some locations such as Kennedy Meadows/ Horseshoe Meadows.

The Forest Closure that was in place for the SQF Complex is effective for the Rattlesnake Fire as well.


Current size: 8,074 acres, 85% contained 


The Rattlesnake Fire was discovered on August 16 after substantial lightning occurred over the area. It started within the Sequoia and Kings Canyon Wilderness in the Kern River drainage and is now only actively burning just into the Inyo National Forest, east of the Kern River Ranger Station. The fire is burning in steep inaccessible terrain with sparse ground fuels and pockets of dead and down trees. While the size of the fire has increased, there are no current threats to life or property. 

In coordination, Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks and Inyo National Forest, are using a confine and contain full-suppression strategy utilizing natural rock features, existing trails, and other natural barriers as containment lines. Not only does this limit exposure to firefighters and minimizes impacts in the wilderness, it allows firefighting resources to be available to battle other wildfires across the area and state that have a greater threat to life and property. 

Following the first major snowstorm of this autumn November 7 -8, fire managers continue to conduct helicopter recon missions over the fire. There was noticeable snow melt off by mid-week following the storm system and at this time, there appears to be no snow remaining. 

The fire continues to back toward the Golden Trout Creek on the Inyo National Forest from the top of the ridge that separates the national forest from Sequoia National Park. Fire crews from Inyo National Forest and San Bernardino National Forest flew into the Little Whitney Cabin area on November 21 to install structure protection wrap for the cabins and buildings in the area. While fire is not threating these assets at this time, fire managers want to be prepared, as the meadow and surrounding fuels are extremely dry for this time of year.  

National Park Service (NPS) Closures: 

Due to the Rattlesnake Fire and SQF Complex, the NPS has a closure for lands within Sequoia National Park in the Kern River drainage within the following boundary. To read the closure order, please look at the Closures tab on this page. A map of this information can be found under the Maps tab. 

USDA Forest Service (USFS) Closures: 

The Inyo National Forest Closure Order for the Castle Fire still applies to this area. To read the closure order, please look at the Closures tab on this page.  

For questions about access to Inyo National Forest lands and the eastern Sierra Nevada, please contact the Eastern Sierra Visitor Center via phone, 760-876-6200,  Monday- Friday, 8:00 am -4:30 pm, closed federal holidays. Please note that the Visitor Center in Lone Pine is closed for in-person visits. 


Smoke may be visible from Kennedy Meadows / Horseshoe Meadows depending on weather and topography. Smoke will be visible near and from high-country vistas especially if there are no clouds. Fire managers are working with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. 

Associated Websites: 

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Current Conditions Webpage 

Inyo National Forest Webpage 

Air Quality Information from San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District 

Current Air Quality from AirNow.Gov