With two wildfires within minutes of each other Friday evening, Bishop residents have wondered if someone intentionally lit the fires. Fire fighters were first called out to a blaze near Keoughs Hot Springs. As soon as that fire was under control, fire fighters rolled out to the five bridges area north of Bishop for another small brush fire.
When we spoke with Roger Thompson with the CDF, he could not confirm that these two fires were intentionally lit, but he did say that arson is an issue in the Owens Valley. Thompson said that CDF has arrested and convicted three people over the years, including Big Pine resident Jeremy Dixon in 2005.
Thompson says that CDF is fully investigating these two fires. When suspicious fires do break out, it often appears that there is more than one. Suspicious fires appear to be common near the canal in Bishop and other areas of the Valley floor near Big Pine. Thompson says that fire investigators sometimes do see patterns in the timing of the fires. They also look into the driving time between fires, to see if they could be related.
The recent Five Bridges Fire was contained to about one eighth of an acre. Thompson says that the goal of CDF firefighters is to keep 95 % of fires at ten acres or less. On a hot windy day in the Owens Valley, with horrendous dry fuels, Thompson said that fire crews, including the Bishop Volunteers, made a great stop.
Bystanders noted that fire equipment, and lots of it, wasted no time swooping in on the fire scenes.