Georges Fire Update
The Georges Fire has grown to an estimated 2,500 acres and is 10% contained. The Inyo National Forest, CALFIRE, who manages fire response for Bishop BLM Field Office lands, and Inyo County Sheriff are in Unified Command. Today, erratic winds challenged the initial fireline fire crews had put in yesterday night. The fire showed growth on the south and west. Fire crews focused their suppression efforts on the southern flank of the fire because of concerns for the Whitney Portal area. They are also working to contain the eastern flank and work north towards the head of the fire. The western flank is burning into steep, inaccessible terrain. In this area, the fire will eventually “rock out” as the fire reaches the granite cliffs and the absence of fuel. The fire is burning in sage brush and transitioning to a pinyon-juniper forest at higher elevation. SoCal Team 3 was briefed this evening and assumes command of the fire tomorrow at 6:00 am. The Whitney Portal area has been evacuated. This includes campgrounds, residents, and the Whitney Portal Store. The Hogback and Whitney Portal Roads are closed. Hikers who exit at Whitney Portal that do not have a vehicle may call a shuttle service (see attached) or arrange to be picked up. Shuttle services will only be assisting exiting hikers at this time as conditions permit. Additional road closures include the Foothill Road and Moffat Ranch Road as well as any other roads that enter the fire area. Please avoid the fire area for your safety and for our firefighters’ safety. The Inyo National Forest is contacting permit holders for the Whitney Portal Trailhead and the Shepherd Pass Trailhead to notify them that they cannot begin their hikes tomorrow from these trailheads. Hikers who picked up their permit to hike Mt. Whitney in advance may not hike the trail. The National Recreation Trail (from Lone Pine Campground) is also closed and may not be used as an alternative to get to Whitney Portal. The Inyo National Forest is also working with campers who hold reservations at Whitney Portal. The forest will re-evaluate access to these areas on daily basis upon fire behavior and fire containment. There are nine crews, 20 engines, three dozers, six helicopters, three air tankers and a very large air tanker (VLAT) assigned to the incident and additional resources are ordered. This is a lightning-caused fire.