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Escaped campfire started French Fire; authorities search for culprit

August 4, 2014

The French Fire burning about 40 miles west of Bishop over the Sierra crest was caused by a escaped campfire that has now spread to a fire which has burned about 13,000 acres since it started July 27, authorities said.

Nevada man dies in Lee Vining motorcycle crash

August 4, 2014

A 59-year-old Nevada man on Sunday died of injuries he suffered when the motorcycle he was driving ran head-on into  a car near Picnic Grounds Road near Lee Vining..

James McGifford, of Dayton, Nevada, was riding northbound on U.S. 395 on Sunday, when a car driven by Shirley Liang, of Cupertino, crossed into his path while attempting a left turn onto the road.

Her vehicle, according to a spokesperson from the California Highway Patrol, "moved her vehicle directly into the path of the motorcycle."

Doctor weighs in on smoke hazards

August 4, 2014

Although not yet as bad as last year, residents and visitors to the Eastern Sierra are experiencing smoke coming through the passes primarily from the French Fire, according to the public health officer for Mono and Inyo counties.

Search-and-Rescue helps Mt. Ritter climbers

August 4, 2014

 

A Mono County rescuer team last weekend helped a father and son off Mt. Ritter after the climbers were blocked by a rain-fueled waterfall, authorities said

The rescue was at about 3 p.m.

According to a report from the Mono County Search and Rescue team, the pair had attempted to summit Mt. Ritter, a popular peak located 13 miles northwest of Mammoth.

Mammoth Water District to sue local air pollution agency over geothermal decision

August 1, 2014

The Mammoth Community Water District said Friday, Aug.1, that it plans to sue the local air pollution controlled district for certifying an environmental document that is a necessary part of a proposed geothermal project that the district believes could harm Mammoth's water supply.

Ormat Technologies, the project proponent, will also be mentioned in the lawsuit as a "real party of interest," the news release from the the water district said.

Mammoth Community Water District made its announcement this morning, following a closed session meeting at the district office.

Mammoth Tourism pleads with locals: 'Don't spook the visitors on social media'

August 1, 2014

Mammoth Lakes Tourism is doing its level best to fight smoke from the French Fire.

The smoke, according to MLT, just probably isn't really there, and really shouldn't be discussed in social media.

"Please refrain from posting to social media immediately," MLT exhorted its subscribers in a newsletter Wednesday evening, on the eve of Mammoth's premier summer event, Bluesapalooza.

"While we want to be factual and helpful to potential visitors, we also do not want to spook them unnecessarily.

Bishop man charged with deadly weapon assault, terrorist threats

July 29, 2014

A Bishop man has been arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and other charges after he threatened a Southern California Edison employee with a firearm this morning, Inyo Sheriff's Department officials said.

The incident occurred on Tuesday, July 29 at about 11:42 a.m. when the Inyo County Sheriff’s Department, with the assistance from Bishop Police Department, California Highway Patrol and Tribal Police, responded to the area of Pa Me Lane regarding a male subject threatening a Southern California Edison Employee with a firearm.

Missing boy found late Monday night, July 28

July 28, 2014

Missing hiker Austin Shedd, a 13-year-old boy from Carlsbad and Mammoth Lakes was found late in the evening of July 28 at 9:30 p.m. by a trail crew in Kings Canyon National Park, according to the National Park Service.

A park spokesperson said Shedd was found by a park trail crew and spent the night in the wilderness with the trail crew until a rescue flight can take place on Tuesday, July 29.

Additional details will follow when available.

UPDATE JULY 29: New fire starts near old Aspen Fire site, 1,000 acres and growing

July 28, 2014

Another fire is taking off right now, this time very close to where the Aspen Fire started a year ago last week, near the Mammoth Pool Reservoir on the west side of the Sierra crest (in the Shaver/Huntington Lake area), according to Inyo National Forest Public Affairs Specialist Deb Schweizer.

This puts the fire, called the French Fire, west of Bishop about 40 miles and over the Sierra range crest as the crow flies from the Owens Valley.

The fire is about 1,000 acres, burning in heavy fuel, with limited access, as of late Monday evening, July 28.

Chemical spill near Bridgeport likely caused by driver swerving to avoid deer

July 28, 2014

A chemical spill that temporarily closed U.S. 395 south of Bridgeport and forced the evacuation of some nearby residents on Saturday, July 26, was likely caused by a driver of a semi truck swerving to avoid a deer, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The road is now open with no travel restrictions.

The incident occurred on the morning of July 26 as a driver of a semi truck was traveling northbound on U.S. 395 near Point Ranch when the driver braked for deer crossing the roadway and the cargo inside the box trailer shifted and began to leak, according to the CHP.

Fire near El Portal grows to 2,600 acres

July 28, 2014

The El Portal Fire that started yesterday, July 26, near the community of El Portal near the S.R. 140 entrance of Yosemite National Park is now at 2,600 acres and is still threatening the communities of El Portal on S.R. 140, and the community of Foresta. The fire is five percent contained as of Monday, July 28 noon, according to fire officials. There is no estimate of full containment at this time.

Here is the latest from Yosemite National Park about park facilities and roads:

Roads closed:

Reno men avoid injury after vehicle collides with rock

July 25, 2014

On July 22, 2014, at approximately 2:50 p.m., Andrew Hickey, 26, Reno, was driving a 2001 Dodge Durango northbound on U.S. 395 south of Swauger Canyon Road at 55 miles per hour. A shoe box size rock began to roll from the southbound dirt/rock embankment and across the highway, then rolled into the northbound lane causing Hickey to take evasive action and steer the vehicle to the left.

Storms damage roads in White, Inyo Mountains

July 22, 2014

The series of storms that passed over the Eastern Sierra last week have caused damage to the several roads in the White Mountains and Inyo Mountains, where road washouts have occurred.

Roads in the Crooked Creek drainage, including the Crooked Creek Road (Forest Road 05S01), the Cottonwood Road (Forest Road 35E315) and the Wyman Canyon Road, require the ability to deal with difficult road conditions due to the damage done by the washouts.

The Forest Service is completing repairs on forest service roads.

Bad weather triggers multiple backcountry rescues

July 22, 2014

A backpacker who got lost in the Cora Lake area near Sonora Pass spent the night of July 18 in the backcountry during the monsoon-driven rainstorms last weekend, before he was rescued the following day.

The rescue efforts began on the evening of Friday, July 18 at approximately 9 p.m., when Mono County Sheriff’s dispatch received a call regarding a lost backpacker in the area of Cora Lake, approximately 12 trail miles south of S.R. 108, the Sonora Pass Road.

CHP in Conway Summit 'cat-wrestling match'

July 22, 2014

Highway patrolmen have it tough. On some days they also have it weird.

There are the usual feats of derring-do: uncooperative drunk drivers, the occasional OMG moments when weapons are involved, and … the ever-so-rare, 3 o’clock in the morning cat-wrestling match.

It happened on U.S. 395 near Conway Summit on Tuesday, July 22, according to a CHP spokesman in a news release.

June Lake (finally) gets road rehab

July 18, 2014

Six years after the idea of improving June Lake’s streets, the long-awaited $3.6 million rehab project will begin in September, the Mono County Board of Supervisors learned this past week.


In all, eight miles of pavement are to undergo resurfacing, beginning with the main drag through June Lake Village.

A 'National Wounded Warriors Center' for Mammoth

July 18, 2014

Having built Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra into a thriving entity, Kathy Copeland says she has set her sights on something bigger.

Town crews clear graffiti; cops hunt for tagger

July 18, 2014

A graffiti artist known as “ZURG” is on the loose in Mammoth, but law enforcement artists known as “COPS” are in hot pursuit.


Police Chief Dan Watson said officers had not made any arrests in the case as of Wednesday, July 16, but the investigation “is continuing.”

Meanwhile, Town Manager Dan Holler said cleaup crews worked this week to erase the graffiti in advance of Jazz Jubilee, a popular event drawing tourists from throughout the United States.

'What's up, up here?' for July 17-23; starring Tim Alpers, and MMSA's Rusty Gregory and Ron Cohen

July 18, 2014

The Mountain Boys are back in town. That would be Rusty Gregory and MMSA Vice-Prez Ron Cohen, who joined Tim Alpers in the sweltering capital for a little more arm-twisting on the Land Exchange bill, still awaiting the Senate’s blessing. The legislation already has been through the House twice. “I don’t want to find out if three times is a charm,” quipped an optimistic Cohen upon his return to the (relatively) cool mountains. …

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