Topaz Area Fire Now at 7,200 Acres: Firefighters Trying to Save Holbrook Junction

Wendilyn Grasseschi
Times Reporter

The Slinkard Fire north of Bridgeport and near the community of Topaz is now estimated to be 7,200 acres, with zero percent containment as of September 1. U.S. Highway 395 is still closed north of Bridgeport and a detour is in place, although local access is allowed to property owners with an escort, should it be deemed safe.

No one has been hurt and no structures have been burned but Topaz has been partially evacuated and the potential for more growth today and over the next few days is high due to far-above-normal temperatures.

The firefighting effort is also being hampered by the fact that much of the state is already fighting large fires, which means getting access to enough firefighters and equipment to fight the Slinkard Fire is very difficult, according to the forest's public information officer, Deb Schweizer.

Last night, the fire’s activity continued to be active and erratic, according to fire officials. Most activity was on the western and northern perimeters with fire activity backing down slopes towards Hwy 395 and moving rapidly in the grasses. The California Inspection Station in Topaz was saved. The community of Holbrook Junction is our protection priority, along with improving dozer lines and defending Leviathan lookout. Priorities of the Slinkard fire is always firefighter/public safety, all structures protected and natural resources maintained.

Evacuations: Topaz north of Highway 89 to the Nevada State line.

Closures: For public safety, Hwy 89 remains closed between Hwy 395 and Hwy 4 at Monitor Pass. Hwy 395 is closed from the junction of State Route 182 in Bridgeport to the Nevada state line.

However, Hwy 395 will be open for local traffic with highway patrol escort when safe. A detour is in place for Hwy 395 and access to Bridgeport remains open. Hwy 108 (Sonora Pass) is open, but drivers must go south on Hwy 395 and then connect to the detour in Bridgeport if traveling north.

Resources: Numerous resources are ordered including hand crews, which are a critical need, as well as air resources. An Incident Management Type 2 Team is also responding.

Location: The Fire is located in Slinkard Valley and the west slope of Antelope Valley, west of Topaz in Mono County, CA. The fire is burning in cheat grass, sagebrush and pinyon/juniper.

Cooperators: Bureau of Land Management Bishop Field Office, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, Antelope Valley Fire Protection District, East Fork Valley Fire Protection District, CA-EOS, CAL FIRE, Mono County Sheriff’s Department, California Highway Patrol, Nevada Highway Patrol, Nevada Division of Forestry, Douglas County Sheriff’s Department, Cal Trans and Nevada DOT.