Wildfire On the Lower Owens River

Updated 9:20 2-6

Fire crews from outside of the area and favorable weather conditions have allowed fire fighters to get the upper hand on the wildfire, now known as the Fort Fire, burning along the Lower Owens River.

Called in by DWP crews at just before noon Thursday, CalFire crews responded to what was initially said to be a six and a half mile long fire.

With a better look at the fire, Cal Fire Division Chief Roger Thompson says that he no longer believes the fire is as long as first reported. He now estimates the size at 2000 acres.

Thompson says that 50 mile per hour gusts had pushed the initial growth of this blaze. Chief Thompson reports that fire crews are working the flanks of the fire to try to get containment. Calfire, Forest Service, and Volunteers from Big Pine and Independence are working to contain this fire. DWP crews could be seen filling water trucks out of the aqueduct to carry water to the fire. A Calfire helicopter has joined the effort, dropping water flames.

Winds have started to die down and the humidity has gone up, both of which have helped fire fighters get a handle on the blaze. The fire is now listed at 70% contained with full containment expected tonight.

So far no one has been hurt, but a change in the wind direction did cause the fire to blow over some fire crews on Thursday. Fire fighters retreated to a prearranged safety zone in a black area that DWP crews burned Wednesday, Thompson reports. The burned area worked as planned. No firefighters had to deploy their fire shelters.

The fire appears to be burning straight up the Lower Owens River Project east of the Black Rock Fish Hatchery, where crews are ready to protect the structures.

While there was a controlled burn in the area recently, the cause of the fire remains under investigation.


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