Owens River Fire update

Staff Writer

The Owens River Fire is estimated to be 6,000 acres and 20 percent contained.

Sunday, crews continued to develop and strengthen containment lines. Hot, dry conditions and wind increased fire activity in the afternoon. The fire grew along the northeast flank and interior islands of fuel also burned actively. Fire crews tied the fireline from the Owens River Fire to the recent Clark Fire, which will provide an effective control line for a portion of the northern flank.

Sunday night, crews continued line construction, building out from the south and west flanks to further contain the fire. These evening operations are particularly effective when the fire “lays down” at night with cooler temperatures and allows fire crews to more safely respond to the fire. Crews will monitor the southwest flank to ensure that lines hold and continue protection of ranches and developments in the area.

Four uninhabited outbuildings and several pieces of heavy equipment were destroyed during the initial response yesterday.

The fire is burning along Owens River Road near Clark Canyon, east of Highway 395 in sagebrush and Jeffrey pine, and annual grasses.

The Big Springs Campground, Clark Canyon (a popular climbing area), and nearby ranches and developments have been evacuated. The Owens River Road and the Whitmore Springs Roads are closed and visitors are advised to avoid the Bald Mountain Road as well. For your and fire crew safety, please avoid the fire area.

Smoke is visible from locations throughout the Highway 395 corridor including Bishop, Mammoth Lakes, June Lake, and Lee Vining. It will settle in the valleys at night under the cool inversion layer.

There are nine hand crews, 48 engines, three air tankers, seven helicopters, three dozers, and six water tenders assigned to the fire. There are 483 people assigned to the incident.

The cause of the fire is under investigation but appears to be human-caused.