Some 400 personnel fighting blaze that started near Pleasant Valley Dam

At 9:21 p.m. Sunday night the Pleasant Fire burned brightly as it moved toward U.S. Highway 6 from the west, north of Wye Road. Photo by Phillip Chacanaca
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By Terrance Vestal and Melissa M. Maddux
Staff Writer

A wildland fire that ignited Sunday afternoon near the Pleasant Valley Dam and U.S. Highway 395 had burned 2,250 acres and was 15 percent contained as of press time Monday.
Earlier on Monday the fire was estimated to have burned 2,800 acres but that was updated due to more accurate mapping.
According to responding agencies, significant winds hampered fire-fighting efforts on the blaze that was burning in the Pleasant Valley Reservoir area heading toward Law’s Museum and Historic Site Monday afternoon.
There were mandatory evacuation orders from Brockman to U.S. Highway 6, including the Highlands, Chalkbuff and Meadow Creek areas as well as the Pleasant Valley Campground and Pleasant Valley Reservoir areas.
All animal evacuations were being handled at the Bishop Tri-County Fairgrounds.
Most evacuation orders were lifted at 3 p.m. Monday. There were a few residences near Five Bridges/Fish Slough area that were still under evacuation orders due to power issues, according to the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office.
The Mono County Sheriff’s Office reported that the Pleasant Fire disrupted power and phone service to the Tri-Valley area. Informal warming centers were opened at the Chalfant and Benton community centers.
Those who were evacuated were assisted by volunteers from the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army.
The American Red Cross and the Salvation Army have a long standing, cooperative relationship that dates back to the 1930s during which the Red Cross and the Salvation Army began working together, John Shepherd, government liaison with the Red Cross, said. The evacuation location at the Tri-County Fairgrounds is not an official Red Cross shelter, but was manned by locals from the Inyo County Department of Health and Human Services, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army and county probation officers, Shepherd said. When the Health and Human Services resources are exceeded, then more people are sent to help out from Los Angeles.
At the evacuee shelter, there is one boss “and everybody works together as a team,” he said. The coordinator of the shelter location is Marilyn Mann, director of Health and Human Services who attends the briefings at incident command and reports back to the shelter, Shepherd said.
The shelter provided evacuees with cots, blankets, beverages and snacks, with a total of 32 people that spent the night. Bishop’s El Pollo Loco donated food to the shelter. The Salvation Army set up a food cantina and brought a food truck. Commanding Officer at the Salvation Army Lt. Sherry Hooper said the Salvation Army has provided, breakfast, snacks, lunch, and dinner to the evacuees. The organization also has received support from local churches through a text, like the Bishop Ministerial Association, which provided fruit, produce and snacks, Hooper said. The Salvation Army canteen also is on location at the shelter. The canteen is a food truck and a mobile kitchen that is equipped with full refrigeration, a full oven, and warmers for already prepped food, Hooper said.
Mann, said the Health and Human Services officials attended online disaster training in January with a two-hour in-person training. The department also has an emergency shelter trailer, a nurse kit and received training in basic shelter operations. They plan to attend another training in March that coordinates with the American Red Cross, Mann said.
The 400 personnel fighting the fire included 50 engines, 20 hand crews and four dozers.
Unified Command included CAL FIRE and the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office. Additional cooperating agencies included Bureau of Land Management, Inyo U.S. Forest Service, California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, California Highway Patrol, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, CAL TRANS, Mono County Sheriff’s Office, Paradise Fire Department, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Mammoth Fire, Bishop Fire, Big Pine Fire, Independence Fire, Lone Pine Fire, Long Valley Fire, Wheeler Crest Fire, Red Cross and Southern California Edison.

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