CLOVIS – Residents of the mountain area have been greeted the past two mornings with an orange haze and the smell of smoke, though there is no active fire in the immediate area.
The smoke is coming from the Lions Fire, which started on the Sierra National Forest around June 1 as a lightning strike, and is burning near the Lion Point area in the Ansel Adams Wilderness (see map below).
Due to strong winds the evening of June 24 of 20-30 mph, the fire spread to the south and west and is now about 1,000 acres, seven miles southwest of Mammoth Lakes.
The fire crossed onto the Inyo National Forest on June 22 and is now being co-managed by both the Sierra and the Inyo National Forests.
It is burning at 6000-8000’ elevation in red fir with some growth to the southeast. Large areas of standing dead and down timber are within and surrounding the burning area. There is no present threat to structures or public safety.
Weather and Smoke Information:
The Lions Fire was discovered on June 11 and has been burning in the Ansel Adams Wilderness at a slow rate of growth, growing to just over 10 acres in the first ten days. On June 23, the fire grew to 1000 acres and started producing heavier amounts of smoke.
The fire is located at 6000-8000 feet elevation so cooler night time and morning temperatures may cause the fire to moderate its behavior, followed by daytime temperatures heating up into the lower 80s.
Fire is most active in the mid to late afternoon causing smoke production to be at its greatest. Southwest winds are expected to transport smoke to the northeast until 8 p.m. when the wind is expected to be out of the north-northeast, transporting the smoke to the southwest.
The fire will be managed for multiple resource and protection objectives including suppression, air quality, firefighter safety and hazardous vegetation reduction. Fire crews and managers are developing plans to keep it from crossing natural barriers while also using wilderness fire suppression techniques.
Because the fire is burning in designated wilderness, fire officials will be using MIST (Minimum Impact Suppression Tactics), such as using natural barriers for containment lines and minimizing mechanical disturbance with chainsaws or aircraft.
To maximize daylight work time, crews are camping near the fire and consist of four Type I hotshot crews and a Wildland Fire Module.
The communities near the fire can expect smoke impacts in varying degrees for the next two to three weeks. Air quality and smoke forecasts will be available as the incident progresses.
For more information, see Lions Fire on https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/news/5850 or 760-582-5203.