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Aspen Fire grows to 11,019 acres, smoke continues to pour into Eastern Sierra

July 29, 2013

The Aspen Fire burning near Huntington Lake and pouring smoke into the Eastern Sierra for the past few days has grown to 11,019 acres according to the latest forest service update issued on Monday, July 29, at 7 a.m.

Although the fire continues to grow, firefighters are making headway on "containing" the fire—or surrounding it with a fire line. As of Monday morning, the fire was 20 percent contained and there were about 1,400 firefighters fighting the fire.

The fire started on Monday, July 22 and was caused by a lightening strike.

It has cost about $5.7 million to fight so far, according to the Sierra National Forest, where the fire is burning.

The fire is located near a reservoir called Mammoth Pool, north or Huntington Lake and about 40 miles west of Aspendell, over the Sierra crest.

According to a July 29 news release, "The fire is located within the Sierra National Forest in Fresno County and is approximately seven miles north of Big Creek. It is currently burning off Stump Springs Road, north of Aspen Springs. The South Central Sierra Interagency Incident Management Team is in command of the Aspen Fire.

"Over the past several days, the inversion layer has caused smoke to accumulate in the low laying areas of the fire which hampers visibility of firefighters on the ground and in the air. As the smoke clears in the early afternoon, a more defined smoke column(s) may be seen from several miles away.

"Recreation and businesses remain open in the Shaver Lake, Huntington Lake, Lake Thomas Edison, Florence Lake and the Mono Hot Springs areas.

"Firefighter and public safety remains the highest priority. Fire crews are being sensitive to environmental and cultural resources in and around the fire area.

"Due to the extremely steep, rugged and inaccessible terrain, fire crews are using a tactic called indirect attack which creates control lines away from the fires active edge. Air resources, including several helicopters and air tankers are being utilized along the fire-line to slow the forward progress of the fire and to cool down hot spots. As the situation changes and firefighters can safely gain access to the fire, a more direct attack will be implemented.

"Smoke from the Aspen Fire continues to impact air quality in local communities. Individuals sensitive to smoke are advised to remain indoors and keep windows closed to minimize exposure to smoke. For more information regarding smoke visit: www.valleyair.org

Road and Trail Closures:

Stump Springs Road is closed to all traffic due to fire suppression activity.

Minarets Road (4S81) from Fish Creek to Jackass Rock Organization Campground, Grizzly at Beasore Road to Minarets Road are closed to the public. Residents within the road closure are allowed into the area with valid identification.

Trails:

Per the U.S. Forest Service Closure Order Number 15-13-09, all trails within the Kaiser Wilderness are closed.

Evacuations

Campground closures within the Sierra National Forest are as follows:

Sample Meadow West Kaiser

Jackass Rock Organization Lower Chiquito

Little Jackass Soda Springs

Placer Sweet Water

China Bar Rock Creek

Mammoth Pool Wagners Mammoth Pool Resort

Fish Creek

The following campgrounds are closed to house firefighters for suppression efforts:

Midge Creek, Badger Flat and Rancheria.

Cooperating agencies include

The U.S. Forest Service, National Parks Service, U.S. Department of Defense, National Weather Service, California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, Fresno County Sheriff, Madera County Sheriff, California Highway Patrol, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Southern California Edison, PG&E, California Conservation Corp.

Smoke reduction tips from the Sierra National Forest:

Close windows when smoke is present.

Avoid prolonged exertion in heavy smoke especially if you are sensitive to smoke impacts.

The young and the elderly are more sensitive to smoke impacts and should make extra efforts to limit their exposure to smoke.

People with pre-existing conditions such as asthma or pulmonary disease are also more sensitive to smoke. Consult your physician for further guidance.

Drink lots of water, eat a balanced diet, and get adequate rest. A healthy immune system is the best protection against the effects of smoke.

Smoke from the Aspen Fire continues to impact air quality in local communities. Individuals sensitive to smoke are advised to remain indoors and keep windows closed to minimize exposure to smoke. For more information regarding smoke visit: www.valleyair.org or www.airquality.org/smokeimpact/

For additional information about the Aspen Fire, visit Inciweb www.inciweb.org/incident/3552 or Twitter: @sierra_nf

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