CLOVIS – Smoke from the Lions Fire, burning entirely in the Ansel Adams Wilderness, continues to impact the Central Sierra. The lightning-caused fire was detected in early June and has grown to 2,959 acres as of Tuesday, June 26.
Firefighters made progress meeting containment objectives on the fire yesterday. It is burning in rugged and inaccessible terrain primarily in the Stairway Creek drainage, north and west of the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River. Firefighter and public safety remains the top priority for fire managers.
The fire has reached the 2017 Butte Fire footprint which slowed westward movement. Crews have been successful slowing the eastern progression in the lighter fuels of the 1992 Rainbow Fire footprint.
Hand crews and helicopters are being utilized to keep the fire north of the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River.
The Pacific Crest Trail and the John Muir Trail remain open at this time. Lateral trails leading into the fire area will be closed in the near future. Those trails include Sierra NF 26E01 (Mammoth Trail) to the Inyo NF Boundary, 26E56, 26E14, and 2646 from the Inyo NF boundary.
Inyo NF trail closures include 26E01 from the Sierra NF to 2601 junction, and 2601 from the boundary of the Inyo NF and Devil’s Postpile National Monument (King Creek Trail).
Hikers are advised to check the areas they are interested in going to before starting out. All lodging and recreational services remain open in the town of Mammoth Lakes and the Reds Meadow Valley.
The Sierra National Forest reminds everyone that fire plays an important role in maintaining a healthy forest ecosystem.
“Previously accepted practices of fire suppression have resulted in abnormally high buildup of fuels,” say Sierra NF officials. “The fire is being managed for multiple resource and protection objectives including suppression, firefighter safety, and hazardous vegetation reduction.”
As the fire burns through the heavy blowdown and areas of tree mortality, higher than normal amounts of smoke is being produced. The fire is located in designated wilderness; therefore firefighters are utilizing MIST (Minimum Impact Suppression Tactics), such as using natural barriers for containment lines to minimize line construction, and only using hand-construction crews.
Air quality and smoke forecasts will be available as the incident progresses. More information is available at https://tools.airfire.org/monitoring/v4. To see smoke impacts in the area, visit webcams at www.mammothmountain.com.
There is a Temporary Flight Restriction issued for a 5-mile radius around the fire. This does not impact flights landing at the Mammoth-Yosemite Airport.
For more information, see https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/news/5850 or call 760-582-5203.