Walker Fire Holds at 1,200 Acres Overnight

Staff Writer

According to a 9 a.m. Aug.16 update from the Inyo National Forest, the Walker Fire is estimated to be 1,200 acres and is 7% contained. The fire is northeast of Walker Lake and west of Lee Vining Canyon.

The fire remained active most of last night, including torching and spotting. Fire crews focused on line construction on the north and east flanks in an effort to contain the active fire edge. Dozer lines and strategic burning operations were completed last night. Crews will strengthen and extend these lines today in an effort to keep the fire west of Highway 395 and south of Highway 120 West (Tioga Pass). The forecast calls for hot and dry conditions today and active fire behavior is expected.

Closures and Evacuations:

· Walker Lake “Fishing Camp” has been evacuated.

· A CodeRed Emergency Alert notice has been issued for Lee Vining and everything north of Double Eagle in June Lake (including Silver Lake and Grant Lake areas) for potential evacuations.

· Highway 120 West (Tioga Pass) between Highway 395 and Blue Slide (approximately 5 miles up-canyon from Highway 395) is closed.

· Campgrounds in the Lee Vining Canyon have been evacuated and are closed, including Lower Lee Vining, Moraine, Boulder, Aspen Grove, and Big Bend Campgrounds.

· The Walker Lake Road (1N17), the Parker Lake Rd. (1S25), the Upper Horse Meadows Rd. (1N16), and the Gibbs Road (1N18) are closed for fire operations and public safety. All of these roads are accessed via the northern end of the June Lake Loop. All spur roads off of these roads are also closed. The trail to Mono Pass (trailhead is at Walker Lake) is closed.

· The Lee Vining area is becoming a center of fire operations and it is suggested that visitors should avoid this area.

The fire is burning is mixed conifer, mahogany, and brush. Critical sage grouse habitat is also threatened. Visitors and residents should expect to see smoke from the June Lake and Lee Vining area and along Highway 395.

Approximately 300 firefighters are on scene. There are five helicopters, 4 dozers, and numerous engines assigned and more resources are on order. Resources from Mono County, local fire departments, Cal Fire, the Humboldt Toiyabe National Forest, the Tahoe National Forest, BLM Bishop Field Office, and the Mono County Sheriff’s Office are assigned. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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