Creek Fire dumps smoke into valley

Register Staff
Staff Writer

Smoke continues to pour into the Owens Valley from various fires burning in the Sierra, namely the Creek Fire, which continues to burn southwest of Mammoth Lakes.
Sparked on Sept. 4, with a cause still under investigation, the Creek Fire had reached 350,331 acres as of press time Monday. It is listed at 61 percent contained as of Monday.
Originally, the full-containment expectation date for the fire was Oct. 15, but that date has been pushed back to Oct. 31.
The heavy smoke conditions are expected to continue throughout the week as unseasonably high temperatures with low humidity persists. Winds are expected to remain light and slope driven, however higher level winds may develop and blow the smoke to the southeast.
The far northern end of the fire is burning into the granite outcrops of the Sierra high country, where it continues to creep and burn any available fuels, primarily timber. Due to access and safety issues, this area of the fire is being monitored by air and infrared heat flights. This northern edge, along with the eastern side of the fire, continues to remain active.
Smoke from the Creek Fire will be heaviest in Mammoth and Bishop. When smoke levels reach the “unhealthy” level, people who have respiratory issues or other sensitivities should avoid all physical outdoor activities. When air quality is “very unhealthy,” everyone should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion. When it reaches “hazardous” conditions, everyone should avoid any outdoor activities.
The incident report for Monday morning noted that there have been 26 firefighters injured in the fire; all injuries were minor. The fire has destroyed 856 structures and damaged 71 others.
For more information about the area’s air quality, go to Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District’s website or call (760) 872-8211.