UPDATE: 3:40 PM
From CAL FIRE: Credential verification for Repopulation of Paradise & Swall Meadows residents will begin at 4 p.m. We will let residents of both communites; however, Paradise will not have power until around 9pm
Horrible tragedy in the Eastern Sierra: The Round Fire claimed 40 homes – 39 in Swall Meadows and one in Paradise – and
residents were only being allowed back into the devastated areas today.
Reports from CAL FIRE this afternoon said Southern California Edison crews had power lines along roads and Paradise didn’t have
power as of 1 pm today – CAL FIRE said the goal was to get re-entry for residents of Paradise by 4 pm, followed by Swall Meadows.
The Round Fire began at 2:07 pm Friday, and another fire, the Van Dyke Fire near Bridgeport, also erupted on Friday. The blazes
closed US 395 and have disrupted Verizon cell service in the Eastern Sierra.
As of this morning, the Round Fire was still being reported at 7,000 acres – or about 11 square miles – with 85 percent containment.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Over 250 personnel were still working the fire area today, with 20 fire engines, 14 hand crews, four bulldozers, two water tenders and
one helicoper. Four firefighters have suffered injuries; there has been no loss of life to date recorded/reported per Mono County
Sheriff/Coroner Ingrid Braun.
CAL FIRE spokeswoman Capt. Liz Brown reported dozens of power poles were down in Swall Meadows and Paradise, creating
hazards for about 250 residents who have been evacuated. Propane tanks were also venting, making re-entry for residents into the
CAL FIRE reports people may see smoking debris on hillsides but it does not pose a threat to residents and structures.
An evacuation center was set up at the Crowley Lake Community Center.
As always, Eastern Sierra residents quickly came together to help their friends, neighbors and those they may not know but may be in
St. Timothy’s Attic Thrift Store invites all persons, with ID, who lost their home and possessions in the “Round Fire” to take any items
they need from our store. .Our store hours are Monday, 12 to 4, Tuesdays through Friday, 10 to 4 and Saturdays, 11 to 2.Our phone
number is:760-873-8974. “We are located in Bishop at 140 Whitney Alley. We are here to help. God Bless You.”
Donations to the Bishop Rotary Foundation Fire Victims fund are tax deductible. To send in a contribution, be sure to indicate on the
check that it is for the Round Fire Victims Fund and mail it to:
Bishop Rotary Foundation
Fire Victims Fund
c/o Van Tassell & Paegel, P.C.
119 Mac Iver Street, Suite G
Bishop, CA 93514….
The Cast Off in Mammoth Lakes is accepting donations for Fire Victims.
Also accepting donations over the weekend: the Tri-County Fairgrounds, Bishop Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau, the Red Cross and the Salvation Army – as well as AltaOne Federal Credit Union, and Bishop Veterinary Hospital is offering free boarding for animals.
On Friday afternoon, about two hours after the Round Fire began, winds were whipping through the Round Valley area between 20
and 30 miles per hour, with gusts estimated by CAL FIRE at 70 miles per hour.
But when the sun went down, the winds kicked up even more to 50 to 75 miles per hour, and the blaze grew from a reported 100
acres to 3,000 acres quickly.
And Friday was another record-setting temperature day for Bishop – 80 degrees, beating the previous record for Feb. 6 (1951) by eight degrees – and by Saturday the Round Fire had grown to 7,000 acres.
Travelers on US 395 between Bishop and Mammoth saw an eerie if spectacular sight Friday night along Sherwin Grade as the
flames barged up Wheeler Crest.
Rain began fall after midnight and that helped firefighters put out hot spots and start to get some control over the raging Round Fire.
Cooperating agencies included the USFS, Paradise Fire Dept., Inyo County Sheriff, Mono County Sheriff, CHP, LADWP and fire
departments from Bishop, Big Pine, Independence, Lone Pine, Long Valley and Wheeler Crest, as well as Southern California
Edison and California Department of Corrections.
The extent of the damage – with, again, 40 homes as well as five structures damaged, made not only the national news but international news as foreign papers picked up the sad story of residences burned and lives forever changed for people in Swall Meadows and Paradise.