The Lions Fire grew to 4,000 acres yesterday, and is now 60% contained. Crews have completed burn-out operations, and are currently focused on improving and holding previously constructed fireline. Burning the areas between the main fire and constructed fireline helps reduce the potential for growth near the fire perimeter. Fire personnel are starting to demobilize as containment increases and firefighters shift to monitoring. Currently there are 5 crews and 5 helicopters committed to the fire. Smoke production from the fire is expected to continue to decrease in the coming days.
Air quality in Mammoth Lakes and the surrounding areas is being affected by smoke from larger wildfires elsewhere in the state, such as the County Fire in Yolo County, CA. Air quality readings in Mammoth Lakes remained in the “moderate” range throughout the day yesterday, with similar readings expected today. Residents and visitors are advised to limit their exertion outdoors should periods of heavy smoke occur.
The Lions Fire has burned with similar effects as the Butte Fire in 2017 creating a mosaic landscape within the fire perimeter. Over half of the fire area burned with low to moderate intensity, while small pockets of unburned fuels still remain in the interior. This mosaic pattern creates diversity within the landscape which is vital to ecosystem health and for wildlife habitat.
The following National Forest System Trails near the Lions Fire 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. Trail closures will remain in place until fire management staff determines that it is safe to reopen the area.
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.
This fire reminds us that our forests are vulnerable to fire, so as we celebrate our nation’s independence today, remember that the use of fireworks are illegal on all national forests at all times.
For more information about the County Fire, visit http://www.fire.ca.gov/current_incidents/incidentdetails/Index/2101
Air quality forecasts are available at https://airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=topics.smoke_wildfires