EASTERN MADERA COUNTY – Residents of Eastern Madera County have been holding their breath, sometimes literally, for the past week as heavy dense smoke blankets the area, and the potential for the Aspen Fire to jump the river keeps people on edge.
The fire has grown to nearly 9,000 acres, with 15% containment, and has so far remained on the east side of the San Joaquin River.
There are now 1,187 personnel assigned to the lightning-caused wildfire burning near Mammoth Pool, challenging firefighters every day with heavy smoke and rugged terrain.
Air resources were grounded most of the day yesterday because of the inversion, which didn’t lift until late in the afternoon. The same dense smoke is hampering air attack again today, but water and retardant drops will resume as soon as conditions allow.
The lifting of the inversion allows for air attack to resume, but also brings increased fire activity.
Access to the lower portions of the fire along the San Joaquin River’s edge continues to be an obstacle for firefighters.
Crews are working at building handlines and conducting burnout operations when possible, and incident commanders report that good progress with indirect line is being made on the northwest side of the fire.
Smoke from the fire continues to impact Fresno, Madera and Mariposa Counties and the San Joaquin Valley. Sensitive individuals are encouraged to stay indoors and keep windows closed to minimize exposure to smoke.
The closure of Stump Springs road remains in effect. The Sierra National Forest has issued a Forest Closure Order for the Kaiser Wilderness. A precautionary evacuation of campgrounds west of the San Joaquin River on Forest Road 4S81 remain in place.
Wind Conditions 3-10 mph W
Temperature 75-88 degrees