After several days of intense firefighting, the Walker Fire is now 35% contained at 3,715 acres. The fire crews and supporting aircraft have made good progress and as a result, Highway 120 west (the Tioga Road) has been open consistently since Monday afternoon, although no stopping is allowed on the eastern six miles of the road. In addition, the upper Lee Vining Canyon campgrounds were reopened on Monday afternoon, and remain open. The lower Lee Vining Canyon campgrounds remain closed, but from 9:00am until 3:00pm law enforcement will be escorting campers into those campgrounds to retrieve any gear left behind during evacuations. The fire has been determined to be human-caused. … more »
The Walker Fire continues and Highway 120 west has been open and closed periodically with a Highway Patrol escort. Please check road conditions before you travel. Lee Vining remains under alert for possible evacuation, but we remain optimistic that an evacuation will not be necessary. Highway 395 remains clear and open without restrictions at this time.
Afternoon winds can change fire conditions dramatically as they have throughout the life of this fire, and road closures can change. Click here for up-to-date conditions reports.
Conditions continue to evolve with the Walker Fire just south of Lee Vining. The two main highway arteries in the area, Highway 120 west into Yosemite and Highway 395, may need to be closed at times for fire fighting and safety. If you are traveling in the area, watch conditions carefully and plan ahead. We have gathered the resources we are using to get up-to-date information:
- Mono County Sheriff press releases for road and fire information
- Yubanet fire news for fire and road condition information and updates
- InciWeb Incident Information System updates for Inyo National Forest fire updates
We will post major #walkerfire updates on:
Fire crews are based in Lee Vining and are working hard to get this fire under control, please help them be safe out there!
The good news is that you can still visit Mono Lake! Smoke conditions are variable around the Mono Basin, and continue to change as winds shift, so use your good judgement…. Places like South Tufa, the Old Marina, and County Park are easy access points to the lake, tufa towers, birds and wildlife, and interpretive activities, and these places are open to the public. For more information on where to go and what to do, you can always stop by the Mono Lake Committee Information Center & Bookstore in Lee Vining and our helpful staff can help you get where you want to go.
The Tioga Pass Road, Highway 120 west into Yosemite National Park / Tuolumne Meadows, is currently closed. Campgrounds remain closed in the lower canyon as firefighting efforts on the Walker Fire continue. There is also a threat to Highway 395, with anticipated closure this afternoon, so be sure to check the latest road conditions before traveling.
Fire crews worked overnight to stop the Walker Fire spreading east to Highway 395 and north toward Highway 120. The fire is currently 7% contained, and more fire activity is expected today. Lee Vining is currently under a precautionary notice for potential evacuation in case fire activity spreads. Highway 120 west remains closed from Highway 395 to the Blue Slide (just east of Warren Fork). Highway 120 is unlikely to open today. The cause of the fire, originating at Walker Lake, is currently under investigation.
Highway 120 west, Tioga Pass, has been closed until further notice due to the Walker Fire, which started last night just north of Walker Lake in the Mono Basin. Sheriffs’ deputies are stopping westbound traffic near the Mobil station on Highway 120. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
According to the Inyo National Forest, the Walker Fire started last night and has grown to approximately 150 acres this morning. It is located just north of Walker Lake in the Mono Basin, toward the north end of the June Lake Loop (Highway 158). Firefighters from local departments and agency crews responded quickly, and about 150 firefighters and one helicopter are on the scene.
The Walker Lake Resort has been evacuated, and the dirt road along the base of the mountains (road 1N17, known locally as the “aqueduct road”) is closed. The Mono Pass trailhead at Walker Lake is also closed. Highway 120 west to Tioga Pass and the entrance to Yosemite National Park is open. Highway 395, the June Lake Loop, and all Mono Lake access points are also open.
Visitors will see smoke from Highway 395, the June Lake area, the Mono Lake area, and the town of Lee Vining. Right now in Lee Vining the air is clear with a few small white ashes falling.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. However, after four years of record drought, and with 17 wildfires currently burning in California, it bears repeating that fire restrictions are in effect. In the Inyo National Forest and on local BLM lands, this means no campfires, no barbeques, and no stoves outside of designated campgrounds. When in doubt, get a California campfire permit from the Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center.
Caltrans Rockfall Project work suspended for the rest of the year; no more traffic delays north of Lee ViningAugust 14th, 2015 by Lisa, Eastern Sierra Policy Director
As of Wednesday, August 12, the contractor completed Stage 1 of the Lee Vining Rockfall Safety Project and all equipment, including one-lane traffic control signals and barricades, have been removed from the project site. Since early May, Highway 395 north of Lee Vining had been reduced to one-lane to allow the crew room to maneuver—scaling rocks off the slopes, installing anchored mesh, and applying blends of soil amendments and seeds for successful revegetation.
Stage 1 is completed and four of the six project slopes are done. Stage 2 will address slopes 3 and 4 and will begin in spring 2016 as soon as weather conditions allow for work.
The project was originally planned to take two seasons to complete and although it appeared for a while that the entire project would be finished this year, the contractor is playing it safe by not transitioning to the next phase and allowing an entire season for Stage 2. Traffic delays are done for now and all of us—including the contractor—will know what to expect next spring.
This post was written by Sara Matthews, 2015 & 2016 Mono Lake Intern.
For the past 20 years the saga of the Osprey has been unfolding at Mono Lake. In the mid-1980s the first nesting pair of Osprey was recorded at Mono Lake. They built their nest of assorted sticks and branches high atop a tufa tower rising up out of Mono Lake’s salty, alkaline waters. Unfortunately, that year was unsuccessful for the pair and they eventually left the nest in the fall with no signs of chicks ever having hatched. Determined, the pair returned to Mono Lake the next year and began the process again—and again, they were unsuccessful. All told, it took the pair of Osprey five seasons of returning to Mono Lake and giving their best efforts before they successfully hatched two chicks. Since then, Mono Lake’s Osprey population has been on the rise. … more »
Caltrans has released the seventh road report for the Lee Vining Rockfall Safety Project on Highway 395 along Mono Lake just north of Lee Vining.
Updates are also posted regularly on Twitter and Facebook.
Click here for all project updates and background.
Text from the official update is below.