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Southern Sierra - smoke?

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Re: Southern Sierra - smoke?

Postby markley » Thu Aug 06, 2015 8:00 am

http://californiasmokeinfo.blogspot.com/

Question about the smoke AQI index rankings. I see Lone Pine as listed as moderate through Saturday which is where we plan on being. Moderate doesn't sound good....but how bad is it? just a haze? smell? burn eyes?

I'm more concerned that my friend is driving 8 hrs to meet us there for the weekend. My wife and I have no agenda so can just go where the impact is the least, but I'd hate to meet up in Lone Pine to be in smoke. My friend is heading up there today so trying to figure out what to do...stay farther south?

Any input would be appreciated.



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Re: Southern Sierra - smoke?

Postby seanr » Thu Aug 06, 2015 9:48 am

Besides keeping an eye on the reports you linked, clicking the fire box on this map will show active fires and smoke/significant haze from smoke. Clicking region rather than local will make it easier to see a broad area. I'm not surprised to see (as is often the case) that northern California is faring much worse:http://www.wunderground.com/wundermap/

Also check the Whitney webcam and Owens Valley webcams:

http://395travel.com/owens-valley-south-cam
http://395travel.com/owens-valley-north-cam

I'd meet as planned and improvise if necessary. You have researched enough about the Sierra that you will be able to change camping situations based on conditions. You have maps and smartphone coverage is good in the Eastern Sierra until one hikes over the crest. Lots of campsites are first come first serve (even in partially reservable campgrounds). Beyond that, there are the numerous free dispersed camping areas. Check Inyo NF website again for ideas if needed.

I'll be in Eastern Sierra soon (heading north to south) and plan to be in Onion Valley eventually. Maybe we'll cross tracks.
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Re: Southern Sierra - smoke?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Thu Aug 06, 2015 10:15 am

Often the Owens Valley is smoky because smoke from the fires to the north can slide own the valley. This happened to me a few years ago. If you just get up out of the valley it is usually better. I drove up to Onion Valley and camped up there. There are also several campgrounds up the road to Whitney Portal and up at the Cottonwood TH. So if you had to wait for your friends you would not have to sit in smoke. This also means that smoke in Owens Valley may not mean that you will get into smoke in the mountains. Smoke in the mountains comes and goes, shifts directions, etc. Unless it is totally socked in with a big nearby fire, I would just go for it. You may get smoke some times of day and be fine the rest of the day.
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Re: Southern Sierra - smoke?

Postby markley » Thu Aug 06, 2015 10:22 am

Thanks SeanR!
Yeah I think we are going to meet as planned. I spoke with someone at the Lone Pine visitor center who said it's been hit or miss this week....mornings would be clear, then couldn't see the mountains by the afternoon. Hopefully, the winds will cooperate over the next few days. My wife and I are fine with winging it...although my friends (who will be there a day earlier) aren't as up for improvising.

We'll be heading from south to north next week...maybe we'll cross paths. Enjoy your trip!
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Re: Southern Sierra - smoke?

Postby markley » Thu Aug 06, 2015 10:24 am

Wandering Daisy wrote:Often the Owens Valley is smoky because smoke from the fires to the north can slide own the valley. This happened to me a few years ago. If you just get up out of the valley it is usually better. I drove up to Onion Valley and camped up there. There are also several campgrounds up the road to Whitney Portal and up at the Cottonwood TH. So if you had to wait for your friends you would not have to sit in smoke. This also means that smoke in Owens Valley may not mean that you will get into smoke in the mountains. Smoke in the mountains comes and goes, shifts directions, etc. Unless it is totally socked in with a big nearby fire, I would just go for it. You may get smoke some times of day and be fine the rest of the day.


Thanks! That's kinda what I was thinking. It sounds like no matter where we go there is a good chance of getting into smoke at some point.
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Re: Southern Sierra - smoke?

Postby markley » Fri Aug 07, 2015 5:43 am

https://worldview.earthdata.nasa.gov/?p ... 3222237322

I found this site to be somewhat useful...especially on days with limited cloud cover.
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