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Two Mono Basin wildfires in one week

September 19th, 2014 by Elin, Communications Coordinator

With two wildfires in one week, the Mono Basin is getting hit hard during this tinder-dry early autumn. After investigation, both of this week’s local fires were determined to be caused by accidents.

The June Fire late in the day on September 16. Photo courtesy of the Mono County Sheriff's Department.

The Conway Fire, which ignited on September 12, was caused by a tire blow-out on a vehicle headed south on Highway 395 at the base of Conway Summit. During that windy afternoon the fire quickly grew to 40 acres in a few hours before a quick and forceful response from federal, state, and local fire responders stopped the fire at approximately 50 acres. It was fully contained by September 15.

A large air tanker drops a load of fire retardant at the Conway Fire, which was fully contained on September 15. Photo by Geoff McQuilkin.

The June Fire started on September 16 and was caused by a spark from a piece of heavy machinery being operated at June Mountain Ski Area. The fire spread to 50 acres quickly, requiring the evacuation of campgrounds and houses near the town of June Lake. Numerous buildings were threatened, cell service was interrupted, and power had to be shut down before federal, state, and local fire crews could make enough headway against the fire that the evacuation order could be lifted on September 18. Today, September 19, the June Fire is 50% contained, and fire crews continue to work to reach full containment.

Thanks to the efficient and well-organized response by the Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service, CAL FIRE, and local Lee Vining Volunteer and regional fire departments, both of these accidental fires did not become catastrophic.

One Response to “Two Mono Basin wildfires in one week”

  1. avatar Mark Davis Says:

    Whew! Two close calls. Still, we have had a light fire season this year. An unusually wet summer in the Eastern Sierra has spared us what looked really bad in May. But the fall is always a time to be extra cautious. The close call at June is especially ‘too close for comfort’. June Lake also came close to losing the Ski Area. The steep terrain and dense growth had to burn sooner or later. So as long as this had to happen, it worked out well for fire management. Hope the fall colors will attract a couple of weeks of strong visitation.