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Keough’s blaze stopped at 18 acres

August 22, 2014

A firefighter keeps an eye on a hot spot burning within yards of U.S. Hwy. 395 Wednesday afternoon. Photo by Deb Murphy

Southbound traffic on U.S. Hwy. 395 came to a screeching halt Wednesday afternoon as a brush fire, just south of Keough’s Hot Springs, generated heavy smoke and threatened to jump the highway.
The initial alarm went out at 1:57 p.m. Aug. 20, bringing responders from CalFire and U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management as well as Bishop, Independence, Big Pine and Mammoth Lakes fire departments. The fire burned up to the shoulder of the highway, but was contained at 18 acres, according to a press release from CalFire.
Despite strong south winds, the blaze was reduced to heavy smoke and hot spots within two hours. Air support, CalFire air tankers and a Forest Service helicopter, was on scene by 2:45 p.m..
According to CalFire, 70 firefighters were on scene and 35 were still involved in clean-up on Thursday.
U.S. Hwy. 395 was closed to through traffic for approximately two hours. North bound vehicles were escorted past the fire, but the south bound lanes were closed, blocked by heavy equipment and, at times, zero visibility.
As the line of cars backed up toward Collins Road, CHP began to move traffic south, but only to a safe median crossing where vehicles were sent back to Bishop.
By 4:30 p.m., CHP began escorting southbound traffic past the site.

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