Sunday update: INF enters fire restrictions

Press releases

Inyo National Forest Enters Fire Restrictions

 Inyo National Forest is implementing fire restrictions effective on all Inyo National Forest lands. The forest is basing this decision on national level fire activity, local fire activity, and the availability of firefighters for response. Effective August 4, and until further notice, the following restrictions will be in effect:

No campfires, briquette barbeques, or stove fires are allowed outside of designated developed recreation sites and specifically posted campsites or areas. The list of designated campgrounds and recreation sites is available at visitor centers and is posted here.

• Persons with a valid California Campfire Permit (available free of charge at visitor center or online at are not exempt from the prohibitions but are allowed to use portable stoves or lanterns using gas, jellied petroleum, or pressurized liquid fuel.

No fireworks. It is prohibited to possess or discharge any fireworks, including “safe and sane” fireworks.

No smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable material.

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Resorts, pack stations, recreation residences and other sites operated under special use permit from the U.S. Forest Service may be exempt from the special orders, as long as any fire activity is conducted in compliance with their permit. These are listed here.

Residents and visitors are reminded that simple steps can help prevent human-caused fires.

• Prevent vehicle related fires by maintaining proper tire pressure, ensuring adequate tire tread, and checking your brakes for overheating. Avoid traveling or parking on brush or grass. Ensure chains are not dragging while towing.

• Make sure your campfire is dead out! Drown it, stir it, feel it. If it’s not cool to the touch, it isn’t out.

• Use of exploding targets, such as Binary Explosive Targets, and tracer rounds, while recreationally shooting is both a fire hazard and illegal. The use of steel-core ammunition, although legal, can greatly increase the chance of a wildfire.

• Motorcycles, ATV’s and chainsaws require an approved spark arrestor.

Help prevent wildfires…..One Less Spark, One Less Wildfire.

Lions Fire

The Lions Fire is estimated at 7,549 acres with 65% containment, showing an increase of 55 acres. However, the fire could not be accurately mapped due to smoke inversion and growth is likely greater than what mapping reflects. There are 180 personnel committed to the fire, including 7 crews, 4 helicopters, and a pack string of mules from the Stanislaus National Forest.

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The most active portion of the fire remains on the western flank in the Cargyle Creek drainage of the Sierra National Forest. Increased fire activity is expected today.

Crews continue to make progress on the fire by securing the southwest corner and keeping the fire out of the Middle Fork San Joaquin River drainage. The fireline along the northeast flank of the fire remains secure (south of Fern Lake). Burning operations were suspended yesterday due to the wind event and crews focused on holding and strengthening the line. This focused effort protects developed areas in Devils Postpile National Monument, Reds Meadow, and Mammoth Lakes.

Along the western flank, crews are using trail networks and rock barriers for containment lines. Crews also continue to construct direct and indirect fireline along the southwest and west flanks in an effort to keep the fire crossing the San Joaquin River. Helicopters are supporting them by cooling the fire’s edge with water drops as air conditions permit.

The area has experienced approximately 50% tree mortality from bark beetles and drought conditions. Yesterday’s observed fire activity included backing, flanking, and single-tree torching. In the south and west flanks the fire is moving downslope.

Hot and dry conditions remain in the forecast with a Red Flag warning for gusty winds and low humidity until 10 pmtonight.

The Reds Meadow Road and all services in the Reds Meadow Valley, including Devils Postpile National Monument and Rainbow Falls, remain open.

Closures: There is an emergency trail closure for the Fern Lake and Beck Lake Trails on the Inyo National Forest and emergency trail closures and a Forest Order to close the area on the Sierra National Forest (west of the North Fork of the San Joaquin River, north of the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River and South of Iron Creek).


Smoke Advisory

Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District

Ferguson Fire and other wildfires

Stage 1 Health Advisory

Affected Areas: Mono County with heaviest impacts currently from Mammoth Lakes to Bridgeport
Smoke Sources: Ferguson Fire, Lions Fire, and Donnel Fire

Based on air pollution levels at Mammoth Lakes and Lee Vining a Stage 1 Air Pollution Health Advisory is in effect throughout the day on August 5, 2018. Periods of heavy smoke and clearing may fluctuate during the day depending on wind patterns. Visit for near real time conditions.

For more information on ways to protect yourself from wildfire smoke, click here.

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

Air pollution monitors in Mono County:


Lee Vining

June Lake

Mammoth Lakes

US Forest Service PM2.5 Monitor deployed in Mammoth Lakes

US Forest Service PM2.5 Monitor deployed in Crowley Lake

Smoke conditions may change quickly. If you have any questions please visit: 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:

More Information: Ferguson Fire InciWeb Page and Lions Fire InciWeb Page

Information on all smoke events being monitored in the District:


Sunday, August 5, 2018
In Northern California, low pressure will be offshore to the west and strong high pressure will be centered over the Desert Southwest. The low pressure area will bring a chance of thunderstorms in the far north. Areas from the Cascade-Sierra Crest east will see southwest-west gusts of 40 mph and higher late today. These winds will die off later tonight. In Southern California, a trough dropping into Northern California from the Pacific Northwest will bring westerly winds of 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 50 mph through Sunday morning. These winds will decrease to 15 to 25 mph with gusts to 40 mph Sunday afternoon and evening and then become light by Monday morning. Temperatures will be near to a little above normal today.
If you need to evacuate, go early to avoid being caught in fire, smoke or road congestion. Evacuating the fire area early also helps firefighters keep roads clear of congestion, and lets them move more freely to do their job. In an intense wildfire, they will not have time to knock on every door. If you are advised to leave, don’t hesitate! An emergency supply kit should be ready to go at a moment’s notice. Be sure to include enough supplies for at least three days. Learn more about what to pack in your Emergency Supply Kit, click here.
Fires of Interest:
Carr Fire, Shasta County (more info…)
Whiskeytown & Redding
•  154,524 acres, 41% contained
•  Evacuations and road closures in place
•  15,000 residents evacuated, over 1,600 homes threatened
• 1,067 residences destroyed, 189 residences damaged
•  Carr is now the 6th most destructive fire, 13th most deadly and 20th largest fire in state history
•  Damage assessment is ongoing
•  CAL FIRE Incident Management Team 1 (Gouvea) in unified command with Whiskeytown NP (Young), City of Redding FD (Kreider) USFS (Pechota)
Mendocino Complex, Mendocino/Lake County
• 254,982 total acres, 33% contained
•  The Mendocino Complex fire is the 5th largest wildfire in state history
• CAL FIRE Incident Management Team 2 (Kavanaugh) in command
• 41 residences destroyed, 10 residences damaged
• 23,000 residents evacuated, over 15,000 structures threatened
River Fire (more info…)
• 47,663 acres, 58% contained
• Evacuations and road closures in place
Ranch Fire (more info…)
• 207,319 acres, 23% contained
• Evacuations and road closures in place
Wagner Fire, Mariposa County (more info…)
East of Coulterville
• 22 acres, 50% contained
Creek Fire, Alameda County
Southeast of Sunol
30 acres, 75% contained
Whaleback Fire, Lassen County (more info…)
West of Spaulding (Eagle Lake)
•  Evacuations in place
•  Unified command USFS NorCal Team 1 (Coots), CAL FIRE (Ferguson)
Ferguson Fire, Mariposa County (more info…)
Yosemite National Park
• 89,633 acres, 35% contained
• Over 600 structures threatened
• Evacuations and road closures remain in effect
• CA Fed IMT-3 (von Tillow) in command
Eel Fire, Mendocino County (more info…)
East of Covelo
• 972 acres, 50% contained
Cranston Fire, Riverside County (more info…)
•  13,139 acres, 96% contained
•  All evacuations have been lifted
Donnell Fire, Tuolumne County (more info…)
Near Hwy 108, Donnell Lake area
•  5,800 acres, 0% contained
Georges Fire, Inyo County (more info…)
Lone Pine
•  2,883 acres, 70% contained
Horse Creek Fire, Tulare County (more info…)
John Krebs Wilderness Area
•  34 acres, 90% contained
Valley Fire, San Bernardino County (more info…)
•  1,350 acres, 30% contained
Natchez Fire, Del Norte County (more info…)
Southeast of Cave Junction, OR
•  8,432 acres, 15% contained
Eagle Fire, Modoc County (more info…)
South of Cedarville
•  2,100 acres, 95% contained
Owens Fire, Mono County
North of Mammoth Lake
•  312 acres, 95% contained


20 Responses to Sunday update: INF enters fire restrictions

  1. steve August 16, 2018 at 3:48 pm #

    Charles ,
    You think Healthy forests or lack there of helped to cause the blowdowns? Humm
    That is interesting.
    They called it the Devils wind. That wind blew down 200 year old plus trees. Their root system was that old. Much of the blowdown that I say had good roots ( un-rotted) , The devils wind as it was called was the issue. As the meteorologist suggested it was the unusual strong winds in a direction not usual. The trees root system was not focused to protect from winds in that direction. That is what was stated at the seminar.

    • Charles O. Jones August 16, 2018 at 8:23 pm #

      Obviously it was the wind that caused the blowdown. I’m just saying it’s plausible that trees under stress would be more susceptible to blowing over in a strong wind event. A century of interrupting the natural process can be a source of stress for trees. Now I’m no expert, I’m just connecting dots. I may be way off and I’d be happy to hear the opinion of an actual expert on this particular event. But when it comes to the health of a forest, I wouldn’t be looking to a meteorologist for an expert opinion.

  2. David Dennison August 14, 2018 at 4:35 pm #

    Heidi,I think what Steve is trying to say is the fire started by lightning strike,but instead of jumping on it and putting it out with fixed-wing aircraft and water-drops,the USFS and the big-shots up top decided a good time to maybe set up a perimeter beyond the fire itself and into the areas of dead and downed trees…maybe kinda like a “controlled burn”, and a good time to take care of that problem,but keep it contained,which it looks like they weren’t able to do….maybe in the dead of summer and high temps not really a good time to be doing that.

    • Steve August 15, 2018 at 8:18 am #

      David D.
      That is basically what i was trying to say. I never meant to imply that theLions fire was started by the USFS, only that they took advantage of a small fire and turned it into what the USFS called a burnout operation. Just another word for controlled burn in my and others opinions. If you look at the prior mappings you can see for yourself where the perimeter was set and the trail closures were made,

      Heidi , if you were at the meeting and then you would not be having this conversation. I am sorry I do not have the gift of gab that meets your expectations,

      • Charles O. Jones August 16, 2018 at 10:51 am #

        I think I got the gist of what you were saying in the first post. But words matter and I can see how someone might be confused or misled when throw out the term, “controlled burn”.

        That aside, forestry experts have repeatedly told us that a contributing factor to our fire problem is the accumulation of fuels from a century or so of extinguishing fires. Fire is part of the natural cycle and we’ve repeatedly interrupted that cycle for a long long time. Now we’re feeling the impacts for our actions. Continuing with the same strategy will likely give us more of the same results. Balancing that with the need to protect life, property, the environment we live in and the USFS has a difficult job to do. It’s easy to sit back and complain and criticize those who make the decisions. But the long term answers to the conditions we’ve helped create isn’t so easy.

        • steve August 16, 2018 at 12:26 pm #


          Thank you. I used that word because that was the sentiment from the public in the meeting.

          The blowdown occurred in the end of November 2011, no hundred years of fuel issue there, Those downed trees could have been used for other purposes than up in smoke.

          Did you read the article in the paper by Tanner? I don’t agree with all of it however the seasonal grazing and the burning maybe something to look at.

          • Charles O. Jones August 16, 2018 at 2:12 pm #

            No issue? Not sure I agree. Fire contributes to healthy forests. Healthy forests are less susceptible to blowdowns and other threats. Our century-long practice of extinguishing fires could’ve put the forest at greater risk of a blowdown event.

            Regardless, the conundrum of protecting life/property/environment vs. letting nature maintain a healthy balance is no easy task for the agencies in charge, and they tend to receive some harsh criticism whichever way they go.

            And yes, I did read Mr. Tanner’s article.

  3. steve August 13, 2018 at 6:59 am #

    I did not lie.” The Lions fire is/was actually a opportunistic controlled burn” ,
    they then built a 1000 plus acre perimeter and burned the middle outwards.
    The opportunistic part was the fire was very small 25 acres. The USFS used this opportunity to make a big burn.

    I am not backing down on this. I was at the meetings and obviously you were not.

    • Heidi Hall August 14, 2018 at 11:28 am #

      Steve – once again your first statement:
      I do not need to attend a meeting to discern the discrepancy in your statements. You claim the USFS deliberately set this fire. Then you say it was a lightning strike. You do know those two things are not the same, right?

  4. Heidi August 13, 2018 at 5:48 am #

    ” What I said and was not clear enough for you folks is that the USFS took advantage of a small pin sized fire and did a burning operation that was over 1000 plus acres.”

    No, that is not what you said – here, let me remind you:

    “The USFS purposefully built a perimeter around hundreds of acres of these downed trees and set fire to the middle.”

    You can’t even do a decent job of lying.

  5. dave August 12, 2018 at 12:23 pm #

    I too was at that public meeting. The FS director or something. Stated that they had and were going to burn off 500 more acres of heavy fuel at the public meeting in late June. Kiddoo from Great Basin air quality was pissed as Steve said. Kiddoo said what the FS did was no other than a controlled burn. There were 50 plus others who heard the dialogue.
    Health of the forest my xxx.

  6. Wildebeast August 11, 2018 at 6:41 pm #

    Where in the heck are you getting your information. The Lions fire started in the wilderness from lightning strikes….well documented and numerous throughout the Eastern Sierra. It wasn’t some conspiracy to keep you from logging or somehow benefiting from dead and down trees.

    • steve August 12, 2018 at 2:24 pm #

      Yes the USFS claims that the fire was started by a lightning strike. The USFS also claimed that it went un- reported for 2 weeks. What I said and was not clear enough for you folks is that the USFS took advantage of a small pin sized fire and did a burning operation that was over 1000 plus acres. That is my opinion based on the information at the public meeting and I am sticking to it
      I was at the meeting apparently you were not. .

  7. Rick O'Brien August 8, 2018 at 7:55 pm #

    Not to mention…if there was a single ring of truth to this fantasy, common sense would have dictated that a “controlled burn” be done in the dead of winter, like MOST controlled burns , instead of in JUNE. I must say though…common sense in this country isn’t what it was a few years ago.

    • steve August 10, 2018 at 11:57 am #

      You don’t believe, I can’t help you there is was stated in a public meeting. It was not called a controlled burn , however i implied that it was one in the same. The USFS set fire to at least 1000 acres that were inside a perimeter they made. To purposefully burn off a area of heavy fuels,The Great Basin Air Quality district manager was very displeased with semantics the USFS is using.
      Its one thing to build a few acre perimeter around something and protect the outside. It is quite another to build a 1000 plus acre perimeter and set fire to the middle.

      Should have gone to the meeting before you dismiss someone for what they know or witnessed..

  8. steve August 6, 2018 at 5:00 pm #

    Newsflash people of the Sierras!

    The Lions fire is/was actually a opportunistic controlled burn. See there was this thing called the devils wind that blew down a lot of trees in November 2011. It left all these trees on the ground. In some instances the trees were on top of each other to a depth of 10+ feet to the ground. The USFS has been waiting for such the opportunity to burn up the dead and dry fuel on the ground.

    Hence the Lions fire. The USFS purposefully built a perimeter around hundreds of acres of these downed trees and set fire to the middle. Hence a controlled burn.

    Also FYI
    The USFS refused a wood sale permit to helicopter out those old growth trees that had great value. instead they burned it up and who know how many folks have suffered irreparable harm.

    God gave us logs on the ground ( an opportunity ) so we burned them……. go figure

    • Hans August 8, 2018 at 8:24 am #

      Steve, I’d love to see any proof of your claims.
      Having both worked in timber construction and chartered helicopters ($4-5000/hr for a small capacity bird), that sounds like fantasy at best. Prove me wrong.

      • steve August 10, 2018 at 11:49 am #

        All I know is that multiple request for logging by helicopter were submitted in the spring of 2012. One of the deal breakers was using chainsaws with the USFS would not provide a exception. The old growth logs were a premium.

  9. David Dennison August 5, 2018 at 2:17 pm #

    vaguelynoble…So true….same with the “controlled burns”,usually along the Owens River…was told when they are scheduled,that plan doesn’t change,wind coming up or not…in my years of living in South Inyo,can think of a few that turned out to be not so much “controlled” and got out of hand kinda quickly…one of them not too long ago,forcing evacuations for some residents.

  10. vaguelynoble August 5, 2018 at 2:02 pm #

    Lots of good advice. So let me add a little for the Forest Service.

    Next time you are tempted to allow a “natural burn” so close to a town to proceed without intervening because the Weather Service told you the wind would not change, don’t. Wind changes on a dime in the mountains. Better to set aside a theory of natural burn than asphyxiate a county.

    Owing to the perverse rules of federal budgeting, your budget will rise next year because of all the money you’ve now had to spend this year fighting a fire that could have been extinguished on the cheap early on. How about using some of that extra money to conduct controlled burns in shoulder months when a blunder, should one occur, will not affect so many people?


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