2018 Fire and Smoke Impact Reports

Questions and reports related to Sierra Nevada current and forecast conditions, as well as general precautions and safety information. Trail conditions, fire/smoke reports, mosquito reports, weather and snow conditions, stream crossing information, and more.
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maverick
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USFS Trail Closure 7/14

Post by maverick » Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:29 pm

USFS:
Forest Order No. 05-15-51-18-11 Sierra National Forest
Lions Fire Trail Closures. This Order is effective from July 14, 2018, until the Lions Fire is declared out.

The Lion Point Fire burning on the Sierra (SNF) and Inyo (INF) National Forests. A lightning caused holdover believed to have started around June 1 and discovered on June 11, 2018 burning around Lion Point in the Ansel Adams Wilderness, about 8 miles southwest of the town of Mammoth Lakes.

Being on the National Forest System trails listed below, as shown on the attached map.

Forest Trail No. 26E01 (Mammoth Trail) beginning at its intersection with the East Fork of Cargyle Creek, then continuing northeast to its intersection with the Sierra National Forest Boundary.
Forest Trail No. 26E56 (Upper French Trail) beginning at its intersection with Forest Trail No. 26E01, then continuing south and east to its terminus near Stairway Creek.
Forest Trail No. 26E46 (Lion Point Trail) beginning at its intersection with the Sierra National Forest Boundary south of Summit Meadow, then continuing south to its terminus near Lion Point.
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Professional Sierra Landscape Photographer

I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, an HST member: http://reconn.org






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Ferguson Fire 7/20 Update

Post by maverick » Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:32 pm

USFS:
The #FergusonFire is currently at 22,892 acres and 7% contained. There are over 2700 firefighters working on the fire!
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Professional Sierra Landscape Photographer

I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, an HST member: http://reconn.org

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Horse Creek Fire in Sequoia NP 7/20

Post by maverick » Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:50 pm

Inciweb:
Update July 20: A hotshot crew and additional air resources have been committed to the Horse Creek Fire.
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Professional Sierra Landscape Photographer

I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, an HST member: http://reconn.org

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Horse Creek Fire 7/20 Update

Post by maverick » Fri Jul 20, 2018 8:45 pm

SEKI NP:
The Horse Creek Fire is now six acres. This lightning-caused fire is located near the top of the ridge between the east fork of the Kaweah River and Horse Creek, west of the Hockett Trail in Sequoia National Park. The fire is highly visible on the south side of the Mineral King Road, and is burning in designated wilderness.

Due to its location and spread potential, this fire is receiving a full suppression response. It is located in an area with no recent fire history, steep, rugged terrain, high tree mortality, and no trail access, which makes it challenging to insert firefighters on the ground. The parks have brought in additional ground and air resources, including a type 2 helicopter and a hotshot crew, to aid suppression efforts. Helicopters have been performing water drops on the fire perimeter since the fire’s discovery yesterday afternoon, and fire management staff are evaluating strategies for placing crews on the ground.

Trail closures have been issued related to this fire. At this time, the Atwell-Hockett Trail and the Tar Gap Trail are closed. The park is establishing contact with hikers, trail crews, and wilderness staff in the closed area. The Mineral King Road remains open. Motorists should be extra cautious as they are likely to encounter firefighters and firefighting equipment on or near the road. Smoke impacts are possible in the Mineral King area.

There are two additional small, lightning-caused fires in the Mineral King area. The Fowler Fire was discovered on July 12th, and is located in the interior of the Mosquito Prescribed Burn of 2014. The Monarch Fire, discovered earlier today, is located near the Timber Gap Trail. Both fires exhibit minimal fire activity and low spread potential, and will be monitored by air.

Further updates will be issued as information becomes available. For more information, visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5984/.
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Professional Sierra Landscape Photographer

I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, an HST member: http://reconn.org

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Re: 2018 Fire and Smoke Impact Reports

Post by Dragonfly » Sat Jul 21, 2018 1:21 pm

Here are the mandatory evacuation orders currently in place. Sending prayers and good vibes to our friends in Yosemite today.

http://nixle.us/alert/6696662/

http://nixle.us/alert/6697582/

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Ferguson Fire 7/21

Post by maverick » Sat Jul 21, 2018 2:23 pm

Fire has grown to over 27,000 acres and is still only 7% contained. If you have a trip planned for sometime in the next 2-3 weeks to the Emigrant, Ansel Adams, El Dorado NF, and definitely Yosemite, and possible as far as some parts of SEKI, as the fire continues to grow, seriously consider postponing your trip.
Air quality in Yosemite and surrounding wilderness areas will be bad, unhealthy, especially for physical activity, visibility will be less then a mile on some days, depending on the winds direction.
Professional Sierra Landscape Photographer

I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, an HST member: http://reconn.org

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Re: 2018 Fire and Smoke Impact Reports

Post by SSSdave » Sat Jul 21, 2018 3:07 pm

Three of us have plans for an 8/9 day backpack from North Lake over Piute Pass after next weekend so are in the final countdown. As a landscape photographer, I have been concerned about smoke from the Ferguson Fire about the South Fork of the Merced River, thus have been monitoring that situation looking at a number of web sites daily. Today was the first day the EOSDIS Worldview satellite showed less smoke down in the northern San Joaquin Valley and across the central Sierra.

Today I again read the NWS technical forecast for Hanford, Reno, and Las Vegas, checked the inciweb website, and then played more thoroughly with the ECMF models on Windy dot com as it is the first day where the long range models go beyond next weekend. What I am now seeing is encouraging and because Mavericks group get-together is not far north of our destination, what I'll add below applies to them too.

On windy dot com I zoomed into an area somewhat larger than California and then looked at the Wind graphics at both Surface and 3000 meter altitudes plus rain/thunderstorm activity for each day through Monday July 30. During the full period, 3000m winds will consistently be southwest or south to north and northeast. And that is positive because it means Ferguson smoke should tend to move off away north of our backpacking zones. At surface elevations it is more complex due to topography. During afternoons when the Central Valley is hot thus with lighter air, a usual pressure gradient sets up with heavy cool marine air from the Pacific moving west into SF Bay then out into the Delta where it spreads north and south into the valley.

As the Central Valley atmosphere daily heats up during daylight hours, its expands that pushes outward and to the east up Sierra Nevada river canyons that generate the typical up canyon winds we see. It is then that smoke pushes into our timberline Sierra Crest areas and potentially can mix into Owens Valley flows. However during the whole period, surface flows in the Owens look northward. All this is good for us but bad for anything north of the San Joaquin River basin and beyond Tahoe.

In the evening canyon flows reverse slowly and by the wee hours have reversed due to radiation cooling out into space at higher elevations that then cooler air due to gravity sumps down canyons as weak flows. In the Merced fire area, that down canyon flow brings smoky air out into the San Joaquin Valley that stagnates there capped under an inversion layer. The next day when the valley air heats up per above, the marine air flowing in moves that night sumped smoky air southward and this week that has gone south some days well beyond Fresno to Kaweah River areas. Additionally any smoky air that punches above the inversion layers gets into the noted southwest to northwest and south to north flows. Over the next week plus these same mechanism will continue.

Additionally since yesterday, Mexican monsoon flows from the desert southwest have been backing up towards California causing thunderstorms over the eastern Sierra and areas east including the Owens Valley. That will peak this weekend and then shut off by mid week. It does not look like it will drift into the fire areas but could at least clean the air out over the Owens Valley that had gotten smoky when air from that fire and the one down south at Whitney was active. So that is good. From mid week through next weekend look sunny, dry, and hot everywhere. On the horizon as the weekend ends, more monsoon circulation is forecast to move back west towards the Sierra again. And that is promising because I expect the Ferguson Fire with much more dry hot forest that cannot be fought on the ground due to rugged terrain, is still going to still be putting out smoke. So we can use that air clearing wet weather to help keep air off to the east free of smoke even if our air and sunsets to the west look crummy.

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Horse Creek Fire 7/21 Update

Post by maverick » Sat Jul 21, 2018 11:07 pm

SEKI NP:
The Horse Creek Fire showed an increase in fire activity last night. Throughout the day, the fire continued to grow slowly, with isolated tree torching in areas of high tree mortality. The fire is now 20 acres. The fire is highly visible for several miles on the south side of the Mineral King Road, and is burning in wilderness. Firefighters are taking full suppression action on this fire.

Due to the extremely steep terrain, dense forest and brush, large amount of tree mortality, and lack of trail access, this lightning-caused fire poses challenges for ground operations. Fire managers have had some success inserting crews on the fire’s perimeter. However, to protect firefighters from undue risk, the majority of suppression efforts have been made with air resources, including helicopters and air tankers. At 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, 7/22, a Type Two Incident Management Team is scheduled to assume control of the fire.

The Mineral King Road is very narrow and winding, and traffic conditions have been exacerbated by visitor interest in seeing and photographing the fire from the road. In order to provide for visitor, resident, and firefighter safety during this time of emergency response, the public is asked to consider alternative recreation options other than Mineral King, in order to keep traffic to a minimum. However, at this time neither the road nor any structures are directly threatened by the fire, and the road remains open. The Atwell-Hockett Trail and the Tar Gap Trail are closed due to the fire.

The parks urge residents of Mineral King, and the Sierra Nevada in general, to have a plan during this busy and challenging fire season. “Firefighters all over the western United States are suppressing fires to the best of our abilities, but we all should be planning for worst-case scenarios in our homes and communities,” says Horse Creek Fire Incident Commander Kelly Singer. “Make sure that you know what you and your family are going to do in an emergency.”

Tulare County offers a free automated alert service that issues notices of unsafe conditions and warnings to residents on the platform of their choice (e.g., SMS, email, landline). To sign up, visit https://alerttc.com/

For more info on the Horse Creek Fire, visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5984/.
Professional Sierra Landscape Photographer

I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, an HST member: http://reconn.org

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Horse Creek Fire 7/22 Update

Post by maverick » Sun Jul 22, 2018 2:16 pm

SEKI NP:
Yesterday, the Horse Creek Fire continued to grow, despite increased air operations. The fire is currently 30 acres in size. After use of water drops on the fire showed little effectiveness, air tankers began making fire retardant drops instead. Today, the fire retardant lines held overnight and fire crews are being inserted in to construct direct fireline. Crews cleared a helicopter landing zone near the fire yesterday, allowing for easier insertion of ground crews. At 6:00 p.m. today, a Type Two Incident Management Team is scheduled to assume control of the fire.

Firefighters are taking full suppression action on this fire. Due to the extremely steep terrain, dense forest and brush, large amount of tree mortality, and lack of trail access, this lightning-caused fire poses challenges for ground operations. The fire is highly visible for several miles on the south side of the Mineral King Road, and is burning in wilderness.

The Mineral King Valley is seeing an increased amount of smoke, especially overnight. Due to this and the increased amount of fire personnel traffic on the Mineral King Road:

Effective Monday, July 23, wilderness permit holders will not be able to start any trips until further notice. Walk-up permits will not be issued. Visitors currently on wilderness trips will be allowed to exit as planned.
The Atwell-Hockett Trail and the Tar Gap Trail remain closed.
Mineral King Campgrounds remain open but could close with little notice based on changes in fire behavior, smoke, and air quality.
Only day-hiking is permitted on open trails.

For questions about wilderness permits, please call (559) 565-3760 or e-mail seki_wilderness_office@nps.gov

At this time neither the road nor any structures are directly threatened by the fire, and the road remains open. However, visitors are strongly encouraged to consider recreation options other than Mineral King in order to minimize traffic on the road.

Tulare County offers a free automated alert service that issues notices of unsafe conditions and warnings to residents on the platform of their choice (e.g., SMS, email, landline). To sign up, visit https://alerttc.com/

For more information on the Horse Creek Fire, visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5984/.
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Professional Sierra Landscape Photographer

I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, an HST member: http://reconn.org

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Ferguson Fire 7/23 Update

Post by maverick » Mon Jul 23, 2018 10:55 am

Inciweb:
Engines: 199 Water Tenders: 46 Helicopters: 16 Crews: 66 Dozers: 43 Total Personnel: 3,066

Firefighters are making good progress building lines to help contain the 33,743-acre Ferguson Fire. The fire is 13% contained and one nonresidential structure has been reported destroyed but dozens more have been saved because of the efforts of crews throughout the fire area.

North of the Merced River, the fire is burning on the Stanislaus National Forest and fire managers are using a mix of heavy equipment and hand crews to improve roads and build lines in the Montgomery Gulch area. Line construction is progressing east toward Eagle Peak and Buena Vista. To the south, the fire continues to burn in the Chowchilla Mountain area and indirect-line construction is moving forward to protect Wawona and Yosemite National Park. Aerial firefighting resources including a pair of DC-10 tanker planes and a fleet of helicopters have been utilized to slow the fire’s spread.

Along the western edge, firefighters have had great success protecting structures in Jerseydale and are mopping up areas on the edge of the fire to ensure the fire remains within containment lines. Strategic firing operations along the Sweetwater drainage are complete and have provided even more protection for communities to the west.

Weather forecasts are calling for hotter and drier air throughout the week as conditions align for critical and extreme fire weather in the coming days.

Yosemite National Park remains open. For information on Yosemite National Park, go to: nps.gov/yose
or call 209-372-0200.

Mandatory Evacuations: Areas that are currently under a mandatory evacuation include:

· Incline Road from Foresta Bridge to the last BLM campground

· Jerseydale/ Mariposa Pines

· Cedar Lodge/ Indian Flat Campground

· Savage’s Trading Post

· Sweetwater Ridge

· El Portal Trailer Court

• Rancheria Flat – Government Housing

• Old El Portal

• Yosemite View Lodge

• Foresta

• Yosemite West

• Anderson Valley

• Old Yosemite Road

—Continued—

Adv isory Evacuations: This is NOT an Evacuation Order. This is an advisement only of a potential Evacuation Order should conditions change.

• Lushmeadows Community

• Ponderosa Basin Community

• Triangle Road from Jerseydale Road to Highway 49 South including all side roads.

• Darrah Road from Triangle to Sherrod Road.

• East side of Highway 49 South from Darrah Road to Harris Road - This includes Boyer Road, Woodland Area, Wass Road, Tip Top Road.

Evacuation Center(s): New Life Christian Fellowship: 5089 Cole Road, Mariposa, CA 95338.


Road Closures: Highway 140 is closed from the entrance of Yosemite National Park to 1.5 miles West of Midpines. Incline Road, River Road from Briceburg to the gate at Railroad Flat and all Campground areas along Highway 140 closed. Hites Cove / Jerseydale Road, Foresta Road, Anderson Valley Road and Old Yosemite Road.

Animal Shelters: Small animals: SPCA of Mariposa County 5599 California 49, Mariposa, CA 95338 Large animals: 5007 Fairgrounds Road, Mariposa, CA 95338.
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Professional Sierra Landscape Photographer

I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, an HST member: http://reconn.org

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