Lone Pine, CA, July 10, 2018 - The Georges Fire (lightning-caused) has grown to an estimated 2,883 acres and is 30% contained. The fire is in Unified Command with SoCal Team 3, a Type 2 incident management team (assigned to the Inyo National Forest), CAL FIRE and the Inyo Sheriff’s Department. The fire started the afternoon of July 8, 2018.
Today, fire crews continued their suppression efforts on the southern flank of the fire, due to concern for the Whitney Portal area. Smoke columns in the northwest area of the fire were visible today primarily due to fire burning interior pockets of timber surrounded by rock. Good progress was made along the southern and northern flanks as the fire was held within containment lines. Thick brush in steep terrain along the western flank is a challenge for crews. Crews were made aware of the potential for thunderstorms in the area.
There are 640 personnel currently assigned to the incident, including 19 crews, 31 engines, 4 dozers, 8 helicopters, 2 air tankers, and 8 water tenders.
There is a slight chance for a shower or thunderstorm over the fire area this evening. Otherwise skies will be partly cloudy overnight. An upper level disturbance moving across Southern California Tuesday and Wednesday may bring additional thunderstorms with a chance of rain across the Eastern Sierra slopes.
Evacuations are still in place in the Whitney Portal area. This includes campgrounds, residents, and the Whitney Portal Store. The Hogback and Whitney Portal Roads are closed. 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.
Hikers with permits for the Mt. Whitney Trailhead and the Shepherd Pass Trailhead cannot begin their hikes from these trailheads until further notice. 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 working with campers who hold reservations at Whitney Portal. The forest will re-evaluate access to these areas on daily basis based upon fire behavior and fire containment. The primary concerns are for the safety along the road and at Whitney Portal, not to the trail networks themselves.
Hikers who exit at Whitney Portal that do not have a vehicle may call a shuttle service (see attached) to arrange to be picked up. Shuttle services will only be assisting exiting hikers at this time as conditions permit. Hikers exiting at Whitney Portal who have a vehicle parked at the trailhead may drive out from Whitney Portal as long as they check in at the closure to ensure it is safe.