New Fire Near Whitney Could Trigger Evacuations if Conditions Deteriorate

Times Staff Report
Staff Writer

Just as the Alabama Fire near Horseshoe Meadow Road west of Lone Pine was declared contained this morning, June 19, a new lightning-caused fire was discovered this afternoon near the Whitney Portal Road.

Although the fire was only one acre this evening, firefighters said it was burning in very hard to reach terrain and there was some worry the fire could spread and trigger evacuations of the recreation sites associated with the Whitney Portal Road area.

Here is the latest from the Inyo National Forest as of June 19, 6:31 p.m.:

The Inyo Creek fire was discovered early this morning. Caused by lightning that came through the area two days ago, the fire is highly visible where it is located on the North East side of Lone Pine Peak. Currently the fire is around 1 acre in size, but the remote and rugged location is limiting crews from making access. Crews on the ground are working on contingency line below the fire and 2 helicopters are being used to drop buckets of water directly on the fire.

There is a chance that the fire could get established in the Meysan Lake drainage as it is very close to that drainage. The Meysan Lake drainage runs directly down to the Whitney Portal area. There is a possibility of evacuations if the Inyo Creek Fire gets into the Meysan Lake drainage. The Inyo County Sheriff’s Office would issue a Code Red alert to advise those needing to evacuate. If evacuations are needed, the Whitney Portal Store, the Whitney Portal Campground, the Mt. Whitney trailhead, Recreation Residents, Lone Pine Campground, and the Meysan Lake trail would be included in the evacuation area.

As of now there are no evacuations.

There are currently 3 type 1 crews, 2 type 3 engines, 1 watertender, 1 type 1 helicopter, 1 type 2 helicopter, and 1 type 3 helicopter assigned to the fire. Another type 1 helicopter is on order for tomorrow to assist with water drops.

Another update will come out tomorrow afternoon unless there are any significant changes.