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UPDATE AUG 6: Aspen Fire winds down but will still produce some smoke for at least next few days

August 6, 2013

The Aspen Fire was at about 20,797 acres as of Tuesday morning, Aug. 6.

The fire was at 75 percent contained, meaning the fire has a fire line around about 65 percent of it, according to fire officials.

Fire crews have been using the cooler night air to create a stronger fire line by lighting of several hundred feet of brush and other fuels close to the fire line in order to create a thicker line of unburnable fuel to slow the fire's advance, forest service officials said. That process works, but it also puts more smoke into the air.

That technique has almost come to an end, said Sierra National Forest officials Tuesday, with the "burning operations" coming to an end in the next 24 hours.

That means the thick smoke that has plagued the Eastern Sierra for most of the past two weeks is already dissipating and will continue to dissipate further, barring any unforeseen events, fire officials said Tuesday.

For a map and more info on this fire, go to: http://www.inciweb.org/incident/3552/

This site is updated every 12 hours and has a good map attached.

Here is the latest, as of Aug. 6 at about 7 a.m.:

Acres Burned: 20,797 Structures Threatened: 3
Containment: 75% Structures Damaged: 0
Fire Start Date: 7/22/2013 Injuries: 3
Fire Cause: Lightning Total Personnel: 1,729
Cost to date: $23.4 million

The Fire is located within the Sierra National Forest in Fresno County and is approximately seven miles North of Big Creek. It is currently burning off Stump Springs Road, North of Aspen Springs. The South Central Sierra Interagency Incident Management Team is in command of the Aspen Fire.

The inversion layer continues to cause smoke to accumulate in the low laying areas of the fire which hampers visibility of firefighters on the ground and in the air.

Recreation and businesses remain open in the Shaver Lake, Big Creek, Huntington Lake, Lake Thomas Edison, Florence Lake and Mono Hot Springs on the Sierra National Foerst. June Lake, Mammoth Lakes, and Rock Creek areas remain open on the Inyo National Forest.

Firefighter and public safety remains the highest priority. Fire crews are being sensitive to environmental and cultural resources in and around the fire area.

Last night, crews strengthened containment lines and continued to make good progress with indirect and direct attack operations. Access and fire behavior are still a major safety concern for fire crews. Ground resources continue to construct and reinforce indirect line around the fires perimeter.

Resource advisors are working with suppression crews on rehabilitation efforts of fire lines within the fires perimeter.

Due to the extremely steep, rugged and inaccessible terrain, fire crews are using a tactic called indirect attack which creates control lines away from the fires active edge. Air resources, including several helicopters and air tankers are being utilized along the fire-line to slow the forward progress of the fire and to cool down hot spots. As the situation changes and firefighters can safely gain access to the fire, a more direct attack will be implemented.

Smoke from the Aspen Fire continues to impact air quality in local communities. Crews will utilize firing operations over the next three days to assist with enforcing containment lines. Firing operations are actions taken to remove unburned fuels between the active fire line and the contingency lines which fire crews have been creating over the past several days. The operation will put additional smoke into the atmosphere.

An air quality monitoring device has been installed at the Huntington Lake Volunteer Fire Station. The device will provide smoke data from the Aspen Fire to the air resource advisor and the area air pollution control districts.

Individuals sensitive to smoke are advised to remain indoors and keep windows closed to minimize exposure to smoke. For more information regarding smoke visit: www.valleyair.org

Road and Trail Closures:
Stump Springs Road is closed to all traffic due to fire suppression activity. Minarets Road (4S81) from Fish Creek to Jackass Rock Organization Campground, Grizzly at Beasore Road to Minarets Road are closed to the public. Residents within the road closure are allowed into the area with valid identification.

Trails:
Per the U.S. Forest Service Closure Order Number 15-13-09, all trails within the Kaiser Wilderness are closed.

Campground closures within the Sierra National Forest are as follows:
Sample Meadow West Kaiser
Jackass Rock Organization Lower Chiquito
Little Jackass Soda Springs
Placer Sweet Water
China Bar Rock Creek
Mammoth Pool Wagners Mammoth Pool Resort
Fish Creek

The following campgrounds are closed to house firefighters for suppression efforts:
Midge Creek, Badger Flat and Rancheria.

Cooperating agencies include:
The U.S. Forest Service, National Parks Service, U.S. Department of Defense, National Weather Service, 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, California Conservation Corp.

For information, please contact Aspen Fire Information line at (559) 893-7018. Updated information can also be obtained at http://www.inciweb.org/incident/3552/ or by following the Sierra National Forest Twitter Account:@sierra_nf

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