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Bell Fire

Unit Information

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

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Incident Contact

Bell Fire Public Information
Phone: 209-283-4563
Hours: Mon-Sun, 8am-7pm

The Bell Fire continues to smolder and consume forest floor material, but with very limited fire spread.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 grown to 50 acres in the last week due to increased temperatures and drying vegetation and fuels. The fire is mostly burning in a large rocky area with sparse fuels and other natural features that are currently limiting fire spread. 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 has also burned north beyond a short section of the Lake Valley (#19E21) trail.  See Map link above.

The STF Incident Management Team is utilizing a confine and contain suppression strategy for firefighter and public safety, while utilizing existing features (rocky areas, creeks, and local trails) as containment lines. Fire movement is primarily on the north perimeter dominated by slow, creeping fire spread in the forest litter and fallen woody debris, with flame lengths usually less than 1 foot. 

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. We are committed to minimizing negative impacts to wilderness quality and character, such as using Minimum Impact Suppression Tactics (MIST). We plan to do Bell Fire updates every few days, while the fire movement is very slow, and will update more often 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. Stanislaus National Forest closure order was updated on 9/19 and restricts forest use and activities by fire hazard zone. For more information: 

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 DescriptionThis Is A High Elevation, Slow Moving Fire, With Long Lasting Creeping And Smoldering Fire Behavior When Dead Trees And Large Woody Debris Are Encountered.
Coordinates38.183 latitude, -119.869 longitude

Current Situation

Total Personnel14
Size50 Acres
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

Firefighters will continue to confine and contain the fire. Only slow, creeping fire movement is expected.


Use this link for updates on smoke in CA: