Inyo Creek Fire Grows to 100 Acres; All of Whitney Portal Area Evacuated, Permits Cancelled

Times Staff Report

The Inyo Creek Fire is now at about 100 acres and is burning close to the Whitney Portal recreation area, prompting mandatory evacuations in case the fire makes a run closer to the Portal area. The fire is burning on a ridge between the Portal drainage and the Meysan Lake drainage at the head of Inyo Creek.

Here is the latest update from the Inyo National Forest at about noon, June 21:

Incident Start Date: 06/19/2021
Cause: Lightning
Size: 97 acres
Containment: 0 percent
Vegetation Type: Brush and Timber
Resources Assigned: Engines: 15 Helicopters: 6 Crews: 5 Water tenders: 1

Current Situation: The Inyo National Forest’s Type 3 Incident Management Organization has been activated to take command over the Inyo Creek Fire. An inversion set in over the fire last night which helped limit growth. Spot fires were observed in Meysan Lake drainage in very steep terrain. This has prompted fire managers to send some of the resources assigned up to Whitney Portal to do prep work around structures in the event that the fire makes a run towards the Portal. Most of the fire growth has been in the Inyo Creek drainage due to rollout because of the steep terrain.

Today, crews will continue to strengthen contingency lines below the fire. Helicopters will be used to do numerous bucket drops to cool the fire’s edge. Multiple other resources are on order.

Closures: Whitney Portal Road is closed at the Horseshoe Meadow Road intersection. The Forest is working with the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office on the road closure. At this time, through hikers that have planned to exit at Mt Whitney Trailhead should use a different exit point such as Cottonwood Lakes Trailhead or Onion Valley. Hikers that have vehicles up at Whitney Portal and are exiting the trail at the Portal can get their vehicles and drive out, however they will not be allowed to go back up. These hikers are also advised to stay up to date on the fire as this situation could change rapidly. People that have vehicles at the Portal and are getting a ride back to their vehicles will not be allowed up the road.

Mt. Whitney Trailhead, the Whitney Portal Store, Whitney Portal Campground, Recreation Residents, Lone Pine Campground, and Meysan Lake Trail remain closed.

Updates: Please check InciWeb at: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7564/

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