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Fire crews officially kill the Aspen Fire

August 15, 2013

 

It burned for 19 days, involved 792 firefighters and left a thick layer of smoke over Mammoth and the Eastern Sierra.

But on Saturday, Aug. 10, authorities declared the irritating, pesky, 22,253-acre Aspen Fire a dead and gone.

Its damage, beyond the trees in the Sierra National Forest in Fresno County, as of this week was being assessed in economic terms in Mammoth, where events organizers said the fire surely hurt the town during one of its peak tourism periods.

Bluesapalooza organizers Sean and Joyce Turner reported a drop in ticket sales this season, and partly blamed the smoky conditions for the downturn.

Largely dependent on last-minute ticket sales, they said social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter—a boon to business, usually—this summer were loaded with reports of the smoky conditions.

On Tuesday, Aug. 12, Gomez’s Michael Ledesma, who co-produced last weekend’s Margarita Festival, also blamed the smoke on flat attendance over last summer, in remarks he made before people attending a Chamber of Commerce mixer at the Mammoth Lakes Foundation on Tuesday, Aug. 13.

Anecdotal economic assessments were everywhere in the days that followed the final burnout of the fire, from the lodging, retail and restaurant sectors, to those who canceled trips because of the conditions.

From a purely statistical point of view, the U.S. Forest Service said the Aspen Fire looked like this:

  • Acres Burned: 22,253
  • Structures Threatened: 0
  • Structures Damaged: 0
  • Fire Start Date: July 22
  • Injuries: 4
  • Cause: Lightning
  • Total Personnel: 792
  • Cost (as of Aug.10): $28.7 million

The Aspen Fire was located within the Sierra National Forest in Fresno County and began burning off of the Stump Springs Road, north of Aspen Springs. The South Central Sierra Interagency Incident Management Team took command of the Aspen Fire.

Smoke from the fire may persist periodically throughout the remainder of the summer. For more information visit, www.valleyair.org or www.airquality.org/smokeinpact.

Cooperating agencies included the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, U.S. Department of Defense, California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, Fresno County Sheriff, Madera County Sheriff, California Highway Patrol, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Southern California Edison, PG&E, and the California Conservation Corp.

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