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Wilson Fire, Clark Fire updates

August 5th, 2016 by Arya, Communications Director
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Well, it’s definitely fire season in the Eastern Sierra.

The Clark Fire is burning near Bald Mountain, east of Highway 395 and north of Owens River Road. The fire was caused by lightning and was detected yesterday afternoon—it is currently estimated to be about 1,600 acres and is 10% contained. The smoke plume from the fire is visible from Mono Lake and Lee Vining.

Clark Fire from South Tufa

The Clark Fire seen from the shore of Mono Lake on Thursday, August 4 around 6:30pm during a South Tufa tour. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

The Wilson Fire north of Mono Lake, south of Highway 167, and three miles east of Highway 395 is mostly contained, with fire crews mopping-up and watching for flare-ups as winds pick up. It is suspected that this was a human-caused fire, though this is still being investigated.

Smoke from both fires has impacted the air quality in the Mono Basin and the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District has issued a Stage 1 Air Pollution Health Advisory for Northern Mono County. “Due to elevated particulate pollution levels, children, the elderly, people with heart of lung problems, or people with current illnesses such as the flu, are advised to stay indoors and avoid strenuous outdoor activities in the impacted areas.”

The air quality in Lee Vining has been shifting with the winds since the fires began—sometimes there is enough smoke to obscure the view of the islands from town, and other times the wind pushes the smoke to the east and the air clears.

Wildfire smoke in the Mono Basin

Mono Lake and Lee Vining through wildfire smoke this morning. As of the posting of this article the air has cleared considerably. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

With summertime hot, dry, and windy conditions in the Mono Basin it’s important to be very careful with anything that can cause a spark or fire. In addition, expanded fire restrictions are in place within the Inyo National Forest. The weather forecast for Lee Vining is sunny and clear with Southwest winds in the 10 miles-per-hour range, and the wind seems to be picking up in town.

Special thanks to the firefighters working to contain the fires and keeping people safe.



The pyrocumulus cloud over the Clark Fire seen behind the Mono Craters. Photo by Bartshe Miller.

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