Today is the fourth day of burn-out operations on the Lions Fire, reducing fuels within the containment lines already constructed by firefighters. These operations are consuming fuels that might otherwise smolder and carry fire for much longer, thus reducing the overall duration of operations and smoke impacts to the community. Aerial ignitions were employed yesterday, and will be employed again today, to ensure safer and more efficient burn-out operations. The fire is 3400 acres, and 15% contained.
Wind patterns are bringing more smoke into Mammoth Lakes and other locations east of the fire. Significant smoke impacts are expected over the next 48 hours, reducing thereafter as the burn down period progresses. Residents are advised to keep windows closed and limit their outdoor activity during periods of heavy smoke.
This lightning-caused fire was detected in early June, and is located in the Ansel Adams Wilderness. It is located primarily in the Stairway Creek drainage, north and west of the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River.
To provide for public and firefighter safety, the following National Forest System Trails near the burned area have been temporarily closed: Sierra National Forest Trails No. 26E01 (Mammoth Trail) to the Inyo NF Boundary, 26E14, 26E56, and 26E46 from the Inyo NF boundary. Inyo NF trail closures include 26E01 from the Sierra NF to 2601 junction, and 2601 from the boundary of the Inyo NF and Devils Postpile National Monument (King Creek Trail).
Shuttles to Devils Postpile National Monument and Reds Meadow Valley are running, and trails there are open. The Pacific Crest Trail and the John Muir Trail are open. Visitors should expect smoke impacts of variable intensity.
The Lions Fire is providing critical fuel reduction, particularly in the area affected by a massive tree blow-down event in 2011, which left as many as 100 large downed trees per acre in a wilderness area with very limited access. This fire reduces the risk of larger, more severe fires in the future.
Air quality forecasts are available at https://airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=topics.smoke_wildfires
For more information, see https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/news/5850/ or call 760-582-5203.