Whitney Portal area evacuation lifted

USFS news release

Georges Fire Evening Update

Lone Pine, CA, July 11, 2018 – The Georges Fire (lightning-caused) is currently at 2,883 acres and is 42% contained. The fire is in Unified Command with SoCal Team 3, a Type 2 incident management team (assigned to the Inyo National Forest), CAL FIRE and the Inyo Sheriff’s Department. The fire started the afternoon of July 8, 2018.

The evacuation has been lifted for the Whitney Portal area, including campgrounds, residents, and the Whitney Portal Store.

Eager hikers started arriving at the Eastern Sierra Interagency Visitor Center in Lone Pine, Calif., soon after the announcement that the Whitney Portal would reopen Wednesday, July 11, at 6 p.m. The Whitney Portal Road was opened under the authority of the Inyo County Sheriff. The area was closed for the public’s safety due to the fire.

The fire led to the evacuation of the popular Mt. Whitney Trailhead including campgrounds, residents, and Whitney Portal Store. With a moderation in fire behavior, the evacuation has been lifted. The visitor center began issuing permits for both day and overnight hikers who have reservations for the Mt. Whitney Trailhead. Permits will be re-issued for those who were unable to complete their hike in the past few days due to the fire.

The visitor center will be fully staffed and information will be available to update hikers on the Georges Fire.  In addition, hikers can request night box service by calling the Wilderness Permit Office at 760-873-2483.

Today, fire crews worked on strengthening containment lines. Firefighters that were on the fireline overnight were transported by helicopter to the helibase at Manzanar National Historic Site. These crews were camped in terrain inaccessible by vehicle, making helicopter shuttles necessary. Helicopters continued to support fire suppression efforts with water drops as needed.

Tonight, firefighters will continue to mop up and patrol in the fire area. Thunderstorms are predicted to move in to the area this evening, bringing the potential for erratic winds and heavy rains, which can lead to flash flooding in the burn area.

There are 627 personnel currently assigned to the incident, including 19 crews, 31 engines, 4 dozers, 8 helicopters, and 8 water tenders.

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Whitney Portal Road, Whitney Portal and Trailhead to Re-open
Shepherd Pass Trail also Re-opening

The Inyo National Forest is planning to re-open the Whitney Portal Road and access to the Mt. Whitney Trailhead at 6:00 pm today. The Shepherd Pass Trail is also re-opening.

The evacuation is also being lifted for the Whitney Portal area, including campgrounds, residents, and the Whitney Portal Store.

The opening is tentative and could change if unexpected fire behavior were to occur forcing the area to remain closed for public safety.

The Eastern Sierra Visitor Center in Lone Pine will begin issuing permits for both day and overnight hikers who have reservations for the Mt. Whitney Trailhead. They will also be re-issuing permits for hikers who were unable to complete their hike in the past few days due to the fire. They plan to remain open until 8:00 pm to assist hikers. The visitor center will be fully staffed and fire information officer will be available to update hikers on the Georges Fire.

In addition, hikers can request night box service by calling the Wilderness Permit Office at 760-873-2483 or 760-873-2573.The Wilderness Permit Office will be open until 7:30 pm to accommodate these requests.

We appreciate your continued patience as we work to re-open and re-issue these permits. In addition, parking at Whitney Portal will be extremely limited. Hikers are highly encouraged to use shuttles and carpools to help alleviate parking congestion.

The Eastern Sierra is a fire-adapted and fire-prone environment and wildfire is a reality here. The Inyo National Forest appreciates the efforts of SoCal Team 3, Cal Fire, the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office, Bishop BLM Field Office, local fire departments, and all other partners who have made significant efforts to help get this area re-opened and their work to safely contain this fire.

 

Georges Fire Morning Update

Lone Pine, CA, July 11, 2018 – The Georges Fire (lightning-caused) is currently at 2,500 acres and is 30% contained. The fire is in Unified Command with SoCal Team 3, a Type 2 incident management team (assigned to the Inyo National Forest), CAL FIRE and the Inyo Sheriff’s Department. The fire started the afternoon of July 8, 2018.

Last night’s thunderstorms brought measurable precipitation to the fire. Although there was measurable precipitation, increasing temperatures and winds are expected to quickly dry out last night’s rain. Today’s weather is expected to be much like yesterday with a possibility of afternoon thunderstorms, chance for precipitation, and unstable winds.

Today, fire crews continue their suppression efforts constructing and improving the existing containment line on the southern flank of the fire, including the Whitney Portal area. Smoke columns may again be visible in the northwest area of the fire due to fire burning interior pockets of timber surrounded by rock. Firefighters continue to make good progress along the southern and northern flanks as the fire continues to hold within existing containment lines. Thick brush in steep terrain along the western flank remains a challenge for crews.

There are 640 personnel currently assigned to the incident, including 19 crews, 31 engines, 4 dozers, 8 helicopters, and 8 water tenders.

Evacuations are still in place in the Whitney Portal area. This includes campgrounds, residents, and the Whitney Portal Store. The Hogback and Whitney Portal Roads are closed. Additional road closures include the Foothill Road and Moffat Ranch Road as well as any other roads that enter the fire area. Please avoid the fire area for your safety and for our firefighters’ safety.

Hikers with permits for the Mt. Whitney Trailhead and the Shepherd Pass Trailhead cannot begin their hikes from these trailheads until further notice. Hikers who picked up their permit to hike Mt. Whitney in advance may not hike the trail. The National Recreation Trail (from Lone Pine Campground) is also closed and may not be used as an alternative to get to Whitney Portal. The Inyo National Forest is working with campers who hold reservations at Whitney Portal. The forest will re-evaluate access to these areas on daily basis based upon fire behavior and fire containment. The primary concerns are for the safety along the road and at Whitney Portal, not to the trail networks themselves.

Hikers who exit at Whitney Portal that do not have a vehicle may call a shuttle service (see attached) to arrange to be picked up. Shuttle services will only be assisting exiting hikers at this time as conditions permit. Hikers exiting at Whitney Portal who have a vehicle parked at the trailhead may drive out from Whitney Portal as long as they check in at the closure to ensure it is safe.

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Did you know?

Every year in California thousands of wildfires start throughout the state. In most cases, the dispatch center sending the initial resources to a wildland fire will designate a name for the fire, but the first on scene engine or fire official can also name the incident. Fires are usually named for the area in which they start – a geographical location, local landmark, street, lake, mountain, peak, etc. The Georges Fire started near Georges Creek, which was named for a Paiute Chief in the Owens Valley in the mid-1800s. Quickly naming the fire provides responding fire resources with an additional locator and allows fire officials to track and prioritize incidents by name.

Georges Fire Evening Update – July 10

The Georges Fire (lightning-caused) has grown to an estimated 2,883 acres and is 30% contained. The fire is in Unified Command with SoCal Team 3, a Type 2 incident management team (assigned to the Inyo National Forest), CAL FIRE and the Inyo Sheriff’s Department. The fire started the afternoon of July 8, 2018.

Today, fire crews continued their suppression efforts on the southern flank of the fire, due to concern for the Whitney Portal area. Smoke columns in the northwest area of the fire were visible today primarily due to fire burning interior pockets of timber surrounded by rock. Good progress was made along the southern and northern flanks as the fire was held within containment lines. Thick brush in steep terrain along the western flank is a challenge for crews. Crews were made aware of the potential for thunderstorms in the area.

There are 640 personnel currently assigned to the incident, including 19 crews, 31 engines, 4 dozers, 8 helicopters, 2 air tankers, and 8 water tenders.

There is a slight chance for a shower or thunderstorm over the fire area this evening. Otherwise skies will be partly cloudy overnight. An upper level disturbance moving across Southern California Tuesday and Wednesday may bring additional thunderstorms with a chance of rain across the Eastern Sierra slopes.

Evacuations are still in place in the Whitney Portal area. This includes campgrounds, residents, and the Whitney Portal Store. The Hogback and Whitney Portal Roads are closed. Additional road closures include the Foothill Road and Moffat Ranch Road as well as any other roads that enter the fire area. Please avoid the fire area for your safety and for our firefighters’ safety.

Hikers with permits for the Mt. Whitney Trailhead and the Shepherd Pass Trailhead cannot begin their hikes from these trailheads until further notice. Hikers who picked up their permit to hike Mt. Whitney in advance may not hike the trail. The National Recreation Trail (from Lone Pine Campground) is also closed and may not be used as an alternative to get to Whitney Portal. The Inyo National Forest is working with campers who hold reservations at Whitney Portal. The forest will re-evaluate access to these areas on daily basis based upon fire behavior and fire containment. The primary concerns are for the safety along the road and at Whitney Portal, not to the trail networks themselves.

Hikers who exit at Whitney Portal that do not have a vehicle may call a shuttle service to arrange to be picked up. Shuttle services will only be assisting exiting hikers at this time as conditions permit. Hikers exiting at Whitney Portal who have a vehicle parked at the trailhead may drive out from Whitney Portal as long as they check in at the closure to ensure it is safe.

GEORGES FIRE – FROM USFS

Georges Fire Update

The Georges Fire (lightning-caused) has grown to an estimated 2,500 acres and is 10% contained.

Command of the fire has transitioned to SoCal Team 3, a Type 2 incident management team.

HikerShuttleServices_2018 (1)

Last night, fire behavior decreased when the winds died down. Crews used this opportunity to strengthen initial firelines to improve containment.

Today, fire crews continue to focus their suppression efforts on the southern flank of the fire because of concerns for the Whitney Portal area. Steep terrain and thick fuels are a challenge for crews in this area. Crews will continue to improve fireline along the east and north flanks.

The west flank is burning into steep, inaccessible terrain. In this area, the fire will eventually “rock out” as the fire reaches the granite cliffs and the absence of fuel. The fire is burning in sage brush and transitioning to a pinyon-juniper forest at higher elevation.

The monsoonal weather pattern will continue to bring lightning storms and gusty winds to the fire area.

The Whitney Portal area has been evacuated. This includes campgrounds, residents, and the Whitney Portal Store. The Hogback and Whitney Portal Roads are closed. Additional road closures include the Foothill Road and Moffat Ranch Road as well as any other roads that enter the fire area.

Please avoid the fire area for your safety and for our firefighters’ safety.

Hikers with permits for the Mt. Whitney Trailhead and the Shepherd Pass Trailhead cannot begin their hikes today from these trailheads. Hikers who picked up their permit to hike Mt. Whitney in advance may not hike the trail. The National Recreation Trail (from Lone Pine Campground) is also closed and may not be used as an alternative to get to Whitney Portal.

the Inyo National Forest is also working with campers who hold reservations at Whitney Portal. The forest will re-evaluate access to these areas on daily basis based upon fire behavior and fire containment. The primary concerns are for the safety along the road and at Whitney Portal, not to the trail networks themselves.

Hikers who exit at Whitney Portal that do not have a vehicle may call a shuttle service to arrange to be picked up. Shuttle services will only be assisting exiting hikers at this time as conditions permit.

There are 611 personnel assigned to the incident, including 20 crews, 27 engines, four dozers, five helicopters, three air tankers, and three water tenders assigned to the incident.

Stage 1 Health Advisory

Affected Communities: Southern Inyo County including Independence and Lone Pine
Smoke Source: Georges Fire

Based on air pollution levels at the Independence Tribal PM10 monitor and the Lone Pine PM10 monitor on the morning of July 10, 2018 a Stage 1 Air Pollution Health Advisory has been issued for Southern Inyo County.

A Stage 1 Health Advisory recommends children, the elderly, people with heart or lung problems, or people with current illnesses such as the flu, to stay indoors and avoid strenuous outdoor activities in the impacted areas.

Smoke conditions may change quickly. If you have any questions please visit: www.gbuapcd.org or call the Great Basin Air Pollution Control District office in Bishop at 760-872-8211 during regular business hours.

Health advisories on the web: https://gbuapcd.org/AirMonitoringData/HealthAdvisories/

More Information: Georges Fire InciWeb Page

Tribal Monitor Data for Independence: Click Here

Current Smoke Information

Information on all smoke events being monitored in the District: https://gbuapcd.org/smoke/

 

 

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