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Georges Fire Update: Whitney Portal Evacuated

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avatar Fire Crews Respond to Georges Fire
July 10, 2018 11:42AM
Fire crews are responding to the Georges Fire, located west of Highway 395 between Georges and Hogback Creeks northwest of Lone Pine. The fire is estimated to be 150 acres and is burning in sage brush. Numerous crews from the forest, BLM, CALFIRE, and local fire departments are responding. Gusty winds and inaccessible terrain are concerns for response. The Hogback and Whitney Portal Roads are closed to uphill traffic at this time. Please avoid the fire response area. The cause of the fire is under investigation; although substantial lightning activity has been observed in the area.
avatar Georges Fire Update: Whitney Portal Evacuated
July 10, 2018 11:44AM
Due to increased activity on the southern flank of the fire, the Whitney Portal area has been evacuated. This evacuation was done in coordination with the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office. This includes campgrounds, residents, and the Whitney Portal Store. The Hogback and Whitney Portal Roads are closed. Hikers who exit at Whitney Portal that do not have a vehicle may call a shuttle service to arrange to be picked up. Shuttle services will only be assisting exiting hikers as conditions permit. Additional road closures include the Foothill Road and Moffat Ranch Road as well as any other roads that enter the fire area. Please avoid the fire area for your safety and for our firefighters’ safety.
avatar Georges Fire Update
July 10, 2018 11:47AM
The Georges Fire (lightning-caused) has grown to an estimated 2,500 acres and is 10% contained. Command of the fire has transitioned to SoCal Team 3, a Type 2 incident management team. Last night, fire behavior decreased when the winds died down. Crews used this opportunity to strengthen initial firelines to improve containment.

Today, fire crews continue to focus their suppression efforts on the southern flank of the fire because of concerns for the Whitney Portal area. Steep terrain and thick fuels are a challenge for crews in this area. Crews will continue to improve fireline along the east and north flanks. The west flank is burning into steep, inaccessible terrain. In this area, the fire will eventually “rock out” as the fire reaches the granite cliffs and the absence of fuel. The fire is burning in sage brush and transitioning to a pinyon-juniper forest at higher elevation. The monsoonal weather pattern will continue to bring lightning storms and gusty winds to the fire area.

The Whitney Portal area has been evacuated. This includes campgrounds, residents, and the Whitney Portal Store. The Hogback and Whitney Portal Roads are closed. Additional road closures include the Foothill Road and Moffat Ranch Road as well as any other roads that enter the fire area. Please avoid the fire area for your safety and for our firefighters’ safety.

Hikers with permits for the Mt. Whitney Trailhead and the Shepherd Pass Trailhead cannot begin their hikes today from these trailheads. Hikers who picked up their permit to hike Mt. Whitney in advance may not hike the trail. The National Recreation Trail (from Lone Pine Campground) is also closed and may not be used as an alternative to get to Whitney Portal. The Inyo National Forest is also working with campers who hold reservations at Whitney Portal. The forest will re-evaluate access to these areas on daily basis based upon fire behavior and fire containment. The primary concerns are for the safety along the road and at Whitney Portal, not to the trail networks themselves.

Hikers who exit at Whitney Portal that do not have a vehicle may call a shuttle service to arrange to be picked up. Shuttle services will only be assisting exiting hikers at this time as conditions permit.

There are 611 personnel assigned to the incident, including 20 crews, 27 engines, four dozers, five helicopters, three air tankers, and three water tenders assigned to the incident.
avatar Georges Fire Update
July 12, 2018 11:29AM
Lone Pine, CA, July 12, 2018 - The Georges Fire (lightning-caused) is currently at 2,883 acres and is 42% contained. The fire is in Unified Command with SoCal Team 3, a Type 2 incident management team (assigned to the Inyo National Forest), and CAL FIRE. The fire started the afternoon of July 8, 2018. With a moderation in fire behavior, the evacuation has been lifted for the Whitney Portal area, including campgrounds, residents, and the Whitney Portal Store. The Whitney Portal Road was opened under the authority of the Inyo County Sheriff. The area was closed for the public’s safety due to the fire. The Eastern Sierra Visitor Center and the Wilderness Permit Office will return to normal business hours today.

Yesterday, fire crews worked on strengthening containment lines. Helicopters continued to support fire suppression efforts with water drops as needed.

There was no precipitation over the fire overnight. Firefighters will continue to mop up and patrol in the fire area. A general light southeast flow aloft will keep transporting moist and unstable air over the eastern Sierra leading to increased chances for showers and thunderstorms Thursday and Friday. Today will be mostly sunny becoming partly cloudy with isolated thunderstorms in the morning, scattered showers through the day, and thunderstorms in the afternoon. Tonight, scattered showers and thunderstorms are expected with showers and thunderstorms after midnight.

There are 627 personnel currently assigned to the incident, including 19 crews, 31 engines, 4 dozers, 8 helicopters, and 8 water tenders. Fixed wing aircraft is available upon request.
avatar Georges Fire Morning Update
July 14, 2018 11:46AM
The Georges Fire (lightning-caused) is currently at 2,883 acres and is 42% contained. Today, management of the fire transitioned to a local Type 4 team, comprised of your local firefighters from the Inyo National Forest. The complexity of the fire has diminished due to increased containment, favorable weather, and precipitation over the fire. Crews will continue suppression repair and patrol. Much of the fireline of the Georges Fire is in steep, inaccessible terrain. Firefighters cannot safely gauge if these areas are contained or if pockets of heat still remain. However, the monsoonal moisture has substantially diminished the fire activity.

Moist air will remain in place through the weekend, keeping humidity well above critical thresholds. Moisture will fuel thunderstorms each afternoon, which may produce gusty winds.

The Georges Fire started on July 8th in an area north of Lone Pine, west of Manzanar National Historic Site, and south of Bairs Creek. Due to fire activity, the Whitney Portal area was evacuated and closed for two days. No structures have been destroyed.

SoCal Incident Management Team 3 and its Commander, Mike Wakoski, would like to take the opportunity to thank the local communities, visitors, and backcountry users for their support and patience during the fire. At this time, 271 personnel remain assigned to the incident, including 8 crews, 7 engines, 1 helicopter, and 4 water tenders.

Cooperators: CAL FIRE, Inyo County Sheriffs, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Inyo County Road Department, Big Pine Fire Department, California Highway Patrol, Inyo County Emergency Management Department.
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