Wildfire on the Owens River

Over 1,000 acres have burned from a wind-whipped brush fire that was accidentally started Sunday east of the Pleasant Valley Resevoir, about 8 miles north of Bishop.

The fire started Sunday afternoon along the Owens River. CDF’s Roger Thompson, Incident Commander, said over 700 personnell from various agencies were battling the blaze, which is on LA Department of Water and Power land.

Sierra Wave received word that three men went to the Bishop Police Department and said they had accidentally started the fire.

Thompson said “extreme fire behavior” hampered firefighting efforts Sunday and overnight, noting the steady 30-mile-an hour winds with 40-plus gusts. “It was strange that it was that hot overnight,” Thompson. said.

The Incident Commander said “spotting” was rampant; spotting occurs when embers are pushed up ahead of the fire and reach more receptive fuel beds.

The fire is burning along the north and south sides of the Owens River. Thompson said fighting the fire on both fronts has presented some logistical problems; firefighters had to access the south side of the river from 5 Bridges Road.

Among the agencies helping in the firefight are the Bishop, Big Pine, Mammoth and Long Valley fire departments, CDF and DWP.

“LA DWP has been a fabulous partner,” Thompson said. “They’ve really stepped up with help and pumps.”

Thompson said he expected fire crews from Southern California to reach the Owens Valley and help with fire suppression today.

 
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