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Bell Fire

Unit Information

Stanislaus National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
Sonora, CA 95370

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This incident is no longer being updated.

This image shows a partial burn pattern of the forest floor.Image options: [ Full Size ]

The Bell Fire is located in a remote area of the Stanislaus National Forest (STF) on the Summit Ranger District in the Emigrant Wilderness between the 8000 to 9000 ft level. The fire has remained at 50 acres over the last few weeks and is mostly burning inside control lines among a large rocky area with sparse fuels. This fire is located about five miles east of Dodge Ridge Ski Resort, 1.5 miles southeast of Gianelli Trailhead, and 2 miles east of Crabtree Trailhead (as a bird flies), and about a half mile north of Bear Lake. The fire burned north beyond a short section of the Lake Valley (#19E21) trail. See Map link above.

Safety is our highest priority, and helping prevent additional wildfires and the spread of COVID-19 among our fire fighters and within the communities we serve is an important part of our focus on safety this year. The STF Incident Management Team is utilizing a confine and contain suppression strategy on the Bell Fire for firefighter and public safety, while utilizing existing features (rocky areas, creeks, and local trails) as containment lines. Fire movement is dominated by slow, creeping fire spread in the forest litter and woody debris with flame lengths usually less than 1 foot. We are committed to minimizing negative impacts to wilderness quality and character, such as using Minimum Impact Suppression Tactics (MIST). This is our last Bell Fire update since the fire movement is so limited, and we will update again if fire activity increases significantly.

Most of California remains under the threat of unprecedented and dangerous fire conditions with a combination of fire weather, dry vegetation, and firefighting resources that are stretched to the limit. Due to these conditions, the Stanislaus National Forest has modified our rules about day use and fire restrictions through Oct. 15th, with conditions being assessed daily. Bell Fire smoke is likely visible from some trails and roads and smoke from several large fires are affecting air quality statewide. For smoke updates please see: Please check the Stanislaus National Forest webpage about day or overnight use areas, as well as increased Forest-wide fire restrictions:

Basic Information

Current as of
Incident TypeWildfire
Date of OriginTuesday July 28th, 2020 approx. 04:30 PM
LocationEmigrant Wilderness, 1.5 miles southeast of Gianelli Trailhead, and 2 miles east of Crabtree Trailhead
Incident CommanderStanislaus National Forest IMT (Type 4)
Incident DescriptionThe fire was determined to be out on 11/18/20 following the arrival of more precipitation. This was a high elevation, slow moving fire, with long lasting creeping and smoldering fire behavior.
Coordinates38.183 latitude, -119.869 longitude

Current Situation

Size50 Acres
Percent of Perimeter Contained100%
Fuels Involved

The fire is located in a rocky area with sparse fuels, intermixed with high elevation conifers (red fir, lodgepole pine, mountain hemlock, & western white pine), forest litter, woody debris, and understory vegetation.


Projected Incident Activity

The fire was determined to be out on 11/18/20 following the arrival of more precipitation.


Use this link for updates on smoke in CA: