Walker Fire Slowing Down; Tioga Pass Road Reopened

Staff Writer

The worst could be over for Lee Vining and June Lake as crews continue to make significant progress on the 3,613-acre Walker Fire, which was 30 percent contained as of the morning of Aug. 18, according to fire authorities,

Crews held the fire last night and continue to improve containment lines. Crews will continue to maintain and strengthen the fire line today as well as mopping up the 65-acre hot spot.

Due to more accurate mapping, the fire size is now at 3,613 acres.

The Walker Fire is currently burning approximately two miles southwest of Lee Vining. This is a human-caused fire that is still under investigation.

Tioga Pass (Highway120) is open without an escort. However, there will no stopping along the eastern six miles of the road. This will be strictly enforced. The fire remains active to the south of the road and this is essential for firefighter and public safety.

The fire is burning in 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 areas and along Highway 395.

There are two other fires burning nearby that have also impacted the Eastern Sierra. One, the Eagle Fire Two, located in Buckeye Canyon, is also calming down, is at 125 acres, and is being "mopped up."

The other fire, the Rough Fire, has been an issue mainly due to the enormous amount of smoke that the Hume Lake area fire has sent pouring over the Sierra crest and into Eastern Sierra communities and backcountry sites.

Mammoth has been relatively lucky playing the smoke game these past two weeks of fires; the Rough Fire, now at about 21,000 acres, has poured most of its smoke into the Big Pine and Independence region, where visibility has been limited to a mile or two for much of the past few days. In other words, the air is considered to be "Very Unhealthy" for residents living in those areas while Mammoth's air has stayed at or below the Moderately Unhealthy level, where visibility is six to ten miles.

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.

· Campgrounds in the Lower 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.

Approximately 471 firefighters are on scene as well as numerous aircraft, dozers, and engines. Resources from Mono County, local fire departments, Cal Fire, neighboring forests, BLM Bishop Field Office, and the Mono County Sheriff’s Office are assigned.

For more information on the Walker Fire you can got to the following sites: Inciweb: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4515/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/inyonfhttps://www.facebook.com/pages/Mono-Count...

Walker Fire Stats:

Date Started: 8/14/2015
Cause: Human
Total Personnel: 471
Injuries/Illnesses to Date:0
Size: 3,613 acres
Structures Threatened: 235
Percent Contained: 20%
Resources: 5 helicopters, 0 seats 2 Air tankers Engines 29,Crews 8,Water Tenders 1 Dozers4
Structures Lost: 0
Estimated Containment: 8/23/2015