Walker Fire Update #6 (Lee Vining)
Date: August 17, 2015
Subject: Walker Fire Update
Air Support and Ground Crews continue to suppress Walker Fire
Lee Vining, CA: At 6:00a.m., the Sierra Front Type III Incident Management Team led by Incident Commander, Nate Rasner, took over management of the Walker Fire.
The fire was first reported on August 14, 2015, at approximately 9:31p.m., and is currently burning approximately two miles southwest of Lee Vining. The fire is estimated at 3,700 acres with a 75 acre spot fire in Horseshoe Meadows. This is a human-caused fire that is still under investigation.
Last night crews made significant progress was made with dozers and hand crews securing direct lines at the heel of the fire. Today, firefighters throughout the region will continue to suppress the Walker Fire constructing containment lines on the west, south, and eastern flanks, supported by air operations. The northern flank is showing active fire behavior and has led to further evacuations in Lee Vining Canyon (upper canyon campgrounds) and the closure of Highway 120 West (Tioga Pass) between 395 and the Yosemite National Park. Highway 120 will remain closed until noon tomorrow and will be reevaluated at that time if the pass can be reopened. Crews will continue to strengthen firelines focusing on the northern flank. 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.
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) is closed between Highway 395 and the Yosemite National Park Entrance.
Campgrounds in the entire Lee Vining Canyon have been evacuated and are closed, including Lower Lee Vining, Moraine, Boulder, Aspen Grove, Big Bend, Junction, Ellery Lake, Tioga Lake Campground, Sawmill, and Saddlebag Campgrounds.
The Tioga Pass and Saddlebag Resorts are under an evacuation advisory.
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.
Approximately 400 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:
(photo credit: Gregg Boydstom)