Updates on Eastern Sierra pile burning, passes

Press releases

Here is a brief update on the June Lake area pile burning.

Crews completed 185 acres of piles yesterday on the unit west of Wilson Butte and a total of 260 acres this week. This completes this unit. Nicely done, fire folks!

Crews plan to move on to units closer to June Lake tomorrow. They are looking at a handful of piles (4 acres) behind the Peterson Tract and at 13 acres of pile near June Lake and the Boulder Lodge.

Crews have been working on these units for several years and, if they get favorable conditions, will complete these units as well.

As always, crews will burn if weather and air quality conditions permit. Expect smoke to be visible within the town of June Lake, from June Mountain, and along Hwy 158 and Hwy 395 near the June Lake (southern) Junction.

Pile burning in these areas are primarily for fuel reduction. Fire, a vital process in the Sierra Nevada, has long been excluded by fire suppression. This has resulted in abnormally high levels of forest fuels. Pile burning reduces this these fuels, which in turn reduces the risk of an unwanted fire during hotter, drier conditions.

All pile burning is done in close coordination with the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District.

Mammoth Lakes Ranger District

Weather and air quality conditions permitting, pile burning will continue in the Mammoth Lakes area over the next several days and into next week.  Crews are looking at piles throughout the Mammoth Lakes Ranger District including:

  • Along the Ski Back Trail (south of Hwy. 203)
  • Near Smokey Bear Flat
  • Dry Creek- north along the Mammoth Lakes Scenic Loop Rd.
  • Mammoth Knolls (north of Hwy 203. and east of the Mammoth Lakes Scenic Loop Rd.
  • Near Old Shady Rest Campground and Forest Trail

Crews plan to start with the Ski Back Trail and anticipate burning on a small scale (5-20 acres a day) to manage smoke production in the vicinity. There are 140 acres of piles in the Ski Back Trail unit. Crews also remain flexible for their target acres and potential units, depending on what the incoming storm brings.

Thinning helps remove ladder fuels, or the continuous fuels that carry wildland fire from the ground to the canopy. This helps reduce fire intensity, allowing fire crews a better and safer fire response to unwanted fires in in the summer months.  Piles are burned in the winter months under more favorable conditions.

Smoke may be visible from the Town of Mammoth Lakes, Mammoth Mountain, along the Hwy. 395 corridor, and along the Scenic Loop Rd.

SEASONAL PASS UPDATE

BISHOP — California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) continually assesses the status of each of the Inyo/Mono seasonal passes for closing, winter closing, open or reopening. The passes have snow, rocks and debris removal work and possible repair that must be completed to ensure the traveling public’s safety prior to reopening.

Caltrans District 9 Seasonal Pass Status as of Thursday, January 18, 2018:

  • State Route 89 (Monitor Pass) is closed as of noon today.
  • State Route 108 (Sonora Pass) is closed for the winter.
  • State Route 120 West (Tioga Pass) is closed for the winter.
  • State Route 120 East is open at this time.
  • State Route 158 is open at this time.
  • State Route 168 West (Bishop Creek) has been closed for the winter.
  • State Route 270 (Bodie) is open at this time.

Several factors influence the temporary closing, opening and seasonal closures of our pass roadways.  Storms, accumulation of snow, and road conditions are all considered when deciding to open or close a pass.

In the case of State Route 120 West, Yosemite National Park (Tioga Pass), Yosemite leadership informs Caltrans about the closure of park entrance gates, enlisting Caltrans to coordinate with the lower, Caltrans gates.

For the safety of motorists and Caltrans crews, continual updating of these passes will be assessed until the seasonal closure of each is decided.

For the latest highway information please visit the Caltrans QuickMap site at quickmap.dot.ca.gov or call the Road Condition Hotline at 1-800-427-ROAD (7623).

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For the safety of workers and other motorists, please Be Work Zone Alert.

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http://www.dot.ca.gov/d9/

 

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