Georges Fire Morning Update
Lone Pine, CA, July 11, 2018 - The Georges Fire (lightning-caused) is currently at 2,500 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.
Last night’s thunderstorms brought measurable precipitation to the fire. Although there was measurable precipitation, increasing temperatures and winds are expected to quickly dry out last night’s rain. Today’s weather is expected to be much like yesterday with a possibility of afternoon thunderstorms, chance for precipitation, and unstable winds.
Today, fire crews continue their suppression efforts constructing and improving the existing containment line on the southern flank of the fire, including the Whitney Portal area. Smoke columns may again be visible in the northwest area of the fire due to fire burning interior pockets of timber surrounded by rock. Firefighters continue to make good progress along the southern and northern flanks as the fire continues to hold within existing containment lines. Thick brush in steep terrain along the western flank remains a challenge for crews.
There are 640 personnel currently assigned to the incident, including 19 crews, 31 engines, 4 dozers, 8 helicopters, and 8 water tenders.
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.
Every year in California thousands of wildfires start throughout the state. In most cases, the dispatch center sending the initial resources to a wildland fire will designate a name for the fire, but the first on scene engine or fire official can also name the incident. Fires are usually named for the area in which they start – a geographical location, local landmark, street, lake, mountain, peak, etc. The Georges Fire started near Georges Creek, which was named for a Paiute Chief in the Owens Valley in the mid-1800’s. Quickly naming the fire provides responding fire resources with an additional locator and allows fire officials to track and prioritize incidents by name.