UPDATE 8-23: Citizens noticed a smoke plume in the area of Wheeler Ridge on Thursday. Bishop Fire confirmed that it is a lightning fire. The Forest Service has been working on it with aerial drops. The small fire is in a very remote location.
Bodie State Park will be re-opening today at 9am. Please be advised that fire crews and equipment continue to work within the area. Please drive slow and safely if you plan on heading into the park.
Tioga pass, Hwy 120 into Yosemite National Park remains open from the East Side. Guests traveling from Mono County can reach Tuolumne Meadows and Yosemite Valley. However, Hwy 120 West into Hetch Hetchy and Groveland is CLOSED due to the Rim Fire. Highway 120 is closed four miles west of Groveland Ranger Station and four miles east of Buck Meadows.
Many fires continue to burn in the West. In our area, lightning earlier this week sparked nearly a dozen small fires. More recently the Rim Fire in Tuolumne County caused closure of Highway 120 West near Yosemite National Park.
On the west side, homes were being threatened, two homes and five outbuildings burned as a result of the Rim Fire. Conditions were reportedly smoky. News reports said Yosemite skies remained clear.
Closer to home, The Sunshine Curve Tree Fire was one of more than a dozen lightning fires that ignited Monday evening as a major thunderstorm moved through the Eastern Sierra.
Photographer Cheryl Hogan captured several images from the Sunshine Curve fire. She captured District Ranger Jon Regelbrugg, a C Rated Tree Faller, dropping an estimated 80 foot burning tree . The burning tree was felled away from power lines and exploded in flames on impact .
Other photos from Hogan show Mammoth Lakes Fire Department Firefighters McClanahan, Van Winkle and Captain Bernasconi putting out the burning tree top.