Spring Season Melting Conditions – Mammoth Lakes Fire Department

Spring Season Melting Conditions

As the long winter ends, there are several conditions that visitors and locals in the Sierras need to be aware of. The creeks are rising fast, backcountry trails are covered with snow, and weak ice conditions prevail on most snow-covered lakes. Extreme caution is necessary to make your time in the Sierras enjoyable and without incident.

The creeks in the Eastern Sierras are beginning to rise because of the warmer temperatures and the melting snow pack. The creeks are going to fill to their banks, the temperature of the water will be cold, and the swiftness of the water will make for very dangerous conditions. Be watchful of children, pets, and the closeness of anyone in your party to the stream channel. Respect the velocity and strength of the streams, recognize that being in the water has the potential of being life threatening, enjoy the beauty from a distance, and stay safe.

Trails throughout the Sierras are going to take much longer to become snow free this year. What may start out as a dry trail, may become snow-covered and impossible to follow and cause you to get disoriented. Be careful of voids below the snow that you may fall through, slick surface conditions that may cause you to slide into unwanted areas or into rocks resting just below the snow surface, and a range of hiking conditions from icy conditions in the morning and slushy conditions in the afternoon. Be extra careful hiking this time of the year.

Snow covered lakes pose a big problem during the spring as the lake appears snow-covered, but the ice below may not be structurally sound. Many high elevation lakes still have snow covering them and the lakes will become more dangerous as the warmer temperatures increase during the next several weeks. Ice conditions are questionable at best and use extreme caution in and around all ice-covered water bodies.

If you would like more information on this or any other fire safety related matter, please feel free to contact the Mammoth Lakes Fire Department at (760) 934-2300.