Tag Archives: US Forest Service

Today’s Fire Map

Wednesday, August 12th California Fire Map

The Rough Fire is producing smoke that is making  its way into the Eastern Sierra.  The lightning caused Rough Fire located in Fresno County, north of Hume Lake is listed at 0% containment.  While the Rough fire started back on July 31th, it really expanded over the past weekend.  Smoke from the Rough fire first darkened Eastern Sierra views mid-afternoon Sunday.

Statewide_Fires_20150812_0800

us forest service, rough fire, eastern sierra news, drought 2015

Rough Fire Growing, Pumping Smoke into Eastern Sierra

Rough Fire causing Haze in the Eastern Sierra

The lightning caused fire near Hume Lake is having an effect on Eastern Sierra air quality.  The fire started back on July 31st, but has grown rapidly in recent days.  Here is the latest Forest Service update on the Rough Fire:

Summary

At this time the fire continues to follow the terrain, creating a mosaic effect between burned and unburned fuels.  It continues to grow at a slow to moderate rate of spread in all directions; moving north towards Spanish Mountain; east into the Monarch Wilderness, crossing over Brush Canyon and backing down to Tombstone Creek; west into Rough Creek and south towards Kings River.  A rapid rate of spread can be anticipated if the terrain, fuels and weather align together.

Wednesday additional overhead from a National Incident Management Organization (NIMO) team will join the Sierra National Forest, Type 3 organization in managing the fire.

Closures

Currently there are no closures on the Sierra or Sequoia National Forests.  Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks remain fully open with no closures.

Visitors may experience smoke impacts in many popular recreational areas including Wishon Reservoir, Hume Lake and Cedar Grove area. For air quality updates visit http://www.valleyair.org/aqinfo/forecast.htm for more information.

 Fire Restrictions

Fire restrictions are in place for the Sierra National Forest.  Campfires are only allowed in designated developed recreation sites.

statistics
Acres burned:  5,226
Containment:  0%
Fire Start:  July 31, 2015
Cause:  Lightening
Total personnel: 217

COVER PHOTO BY GARY YOUNG.  Monday Evening view from Bishop.

rough fire, us forest service, drought 2015, hume lake, sierra national forest

Current Fire Map

Fires Rage Statewide

The Rough fire grew substantially Sunday.   Fire officials indicate the fire burning north of Hume Lake in Fresno County grew approximately 2,500 acres Sunday.  Smoke from the Rough Fire made its way into the Eastern Sierra mid-afternoon Sunday.  The Rough Fire is currently listed at 0% containment.  The lightning caused fire that started back on July 31st is now 3,777 acres with 282 firefights assigned.

The Willow Fire near Bass Lake and the Cabin Fire in Sequoia National Park are now both over 90% contained.  Both Fires produces a large amount of smoke in the Easter Sierra.  The Willow fire is 95% contained at 5,702 acres and the Cabin Fire is 96% contained at 5,871 acres.  Officials note that while the Cabin Fire is nearly 100% contained, the interior of the fire will continue to smolder.  That will lead to limited residual smoke to the Southern Owens Valley.

The map below details fires statewide.

Statewide_Fires_20150810_0800

hume
view of Rough fire Sunday from Hume Lake. Photo from “Lookouts R Us” Facebook page.
us forest service, rough fire, willow fire, cabin fire, owens valley news, california fires

Office of US Attorney Announces Indictment

MEXICAN NATIONALS INDICTED FOR FOREST MARIJUANA CULTIVATION OPERATION

Statement from the Department of Justice, Office of the United States Attorney, Eastern District of California

FRESNO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment today against Antonio Garcia-Villa (Garcia), 46, and Uriel Silva-Garcia (Silva), both Mexican nationals, charging them with conspiring to manufacture, distribute and possess with intent to distribute, manufacturing, and possessing with intent to distribute marijuana in connection with a large-scale cultivation operation in the Sequoia National Forest, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced. The men were also charged with damaging public land and natural resources as a result of cultivating marijuana near Little Poso Creek, which drains into the Kern National Wildlife Refuge.
According to court documents, Garcia and Silva were found at the cultivation site in May 2015. Agents removed 8,596 marijuana plants from the site, along with pesticides, fertilizer, trash, water lines, and equipment. The cultivation activities caused extensive damage to the land and natural resources. Native trees and plants were cut down and steep hillsides were terraced to plant the marijuana.
This case is the product of an investigation by the U.S. Forest Service, Kern County Sheriff’s Office, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). Assistant United States Attorney Karen Escobar is prosecuting the case.
Garcia and Silva are in custody and are scheduled for arraignment on the indictment on June 24, 2015, in federal court in Fresno. If convicted of the drug offenses, the men face a statutory penalty of 10 years to life in prison and a $10 million fine. If convicted of the environmental crime, the men face a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

us forest service, sequoia national forest, eastern sierra news

Rock Creek Construction Update

Update to the Rock Creek Road Construction

US Forest Service Update:

The second year of major reconstruction on the Rock Creek Road is underway. Work on this project began last year.

Mono County requested the funding and the work is being completed on Mono County roads. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has contracted and oversees the project that will improve the road, widen it, and provide a bicycle lane along a nine-mile stretch between the Rock Creek Pack Station and Crowley Lake Drive. Work this year is between the Rock Creek Pack Station to the lower end of the construction near Tom’s Place.

Here are important updates to the construction plan so that recreationists can plan their visit.

Paving

Starting June 15th, there will be no parking the last six miles of the construction area while they pave the road. Weekend work is necessary to complete this paving. In addition to 30 minute delays during the week, there will also be 30 minute delays on Friday, June 19th, Saturday, June 20th, and Friday June 26th. Crews will not be working on Sunday, June 21st. This paving will be completed on June 26th.

Pulverizing

Starting June 22nd, there will be no parking on the lower three miles of construction while they pulverize the road.

Bridge Slab Work: Four Hour Delays

As was announced earlier, there will be one week when there will four-hour delays twice per day while they are working on the bridges. This work is anticipated to start the week of July 6th and the closures are as follows:

July 7th: 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Wednesday July 8th: 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Thursday July 9th:  8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Friday July 10th:  8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m.to 5:00 p.m. {only if needed}.

Equipment Mobilization

The contractor will be mobilizing equipment to the job site this weekend. There may be very short delays with flaggers as the transport vehicle gets into position to off load equipment.

Surveyors

Surveyors will also be working weekends the next few weeks but will not be stopping traffic.

us forest service, rock creek road, mono county news, eastern sierra news, kibs/kbov

Reds Meadow Road Opening Friday

Reds Meadow Road to Open May 22

The Reds Meadow Road is scheduled to open on Friday, May 22th, weather permitting. Although California is in its fourth year in a severe drought, late spring storms, including those forecast for this week, may affect the opening of the road. While the road is still scheuled to open, visitors should expect that the road will not open or will re-close if winter storms prevent safe travel to the Reds Meadow Valley.

The Reds Meadow area is a popular recreation destination for visitors and locals alike and provides access to the Devils Postpile National Monument, trailheads that access the John Muir Trail and destinations such as Agnew Meadow, Thousand Island Lakes, Rainbow Falls, and the Minarets. Fishing, camping, horseback riding, and the Reds Meadow Resort are also popular with visitors.

Employees with the Inyo National Forest and Devils Postpile National Monument have been working to clear snow and trees from roads, trails, and campgrounds as well as repairing potholes, and currently working on water and sewer systems.

The Devils Postpile National Monument will open with the opening of the road. Bring potable water as the water systems are not yet fully functional. Vault toilets will be available.

Camping opportunities will be available in the Reds Meadow Valley through the US Forest Service. Devils Postpile Campground is anticipated to open on June 12th  and be open until early to mid September.

The mandatory Reds Meadow Shuttle Bus, operated by the Eastern Sierra Transit Authority, will run for Memorial Day weekend, weather permitting. Only exception vehicles will be allowed to drive into the Reds Meadow Valley.

After Memorial Day weekend, the mandatory shuttle bus will not resume operation until June 13th and run through Labor Day.
The roads in the Reds Meadow Valley are narrow and visibility is limited. All vehicles should use caution on both the Reds Meadow and Devils Postpile roads. For more information about Devils Postpile National Monument, visit nps.gov/depo, or contact Devils Postpile at 760-934-2289 or at depo_visitor_information@nps.gov.

cover photo by Devils Postpile National Monument

reds meadow, us forest service, devils postpile national monument, eastern sierra news

White Mt Visitor Center Closing for renovation

White Mountain Visitor Center Temporarily Closing for Re-Design

 The White Mountain Visitor Center, located in Bishop, California, is temporarily closing for a re-design. The visitor center will close after business hours on April 3, 2015.

The redesign is expected to take three weeks to complete. The visitor center should re-open by April 27th, 2015. In the interim, visitor center staff will be partnering with the Bishop Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center to continue to provide information services, issue permits, etc.

The re-design is much needed.  A new visitor services desk, shelving, flooring and paint are part of the effort to more efficiently use space in this small, but busy, visitor center to provide better services to our visitors.  Many of the furnishings and flooring date back to the late 1970s.

The Inyo National Forest would like to thank the Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association (ESIA) for donating part of the funds for the re-design and the Bishop Chamber of Commerce for sharing their space to ensure visitors to the Eastern Sierra continue to receive the range of information and services while the work is completed.

bishop news, us forest service, bishop chamber of commerce

Road to Schulman Grove Open

The Road to Schulman Grove is open

According to the Forest Service, due to  the warm, dry winter, road crews have been able open the road to the Schulman Grove. It had been previously closed at Sierra View. The Visitor Center remains closed. The road is gated one-half mile beyond the Schulman Grove parking lot and substantial snow still exists along Patriarch Grove Road.

Visitors should still expect snow in the shaded slopes in the Schulman Grove. Currently, the Methuselah Trail is under snow; however the sun-exposed Discovery Trail is free of snow. Please expect limited services if you travel to the grove. Lastly, although California is experiencing a serious drought, light snow pack does not mean no snowpack. Please travel prepared for winter conditions at 10,000 ft.

The road will close again in the event of a winter storm.

us forest service, bristlecone pines, schulman grove, oldest living organism

Mono Controlled Burn

Prescribed Fire in Mono County

Crews plan to continue ignitions on the Aqueduct Prescribed Fire, weather and air quality conditions permitting, on Tuesday, March 17th. Ignitions should take one day to complete.

This 125-acre project in the Jeffrey pine forest is east of Highway 395 near Bald Mountain (northeast of Deadman Summit).

Smoke from this project will be visible from Highway 395, Highway 158, Highway 120 East, June Mountain Ski Area, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, and the Bald Mountain Road.

Prescribed fires are conducted when weather and fuel moisture conditions are within prescription to safely accomplish the project objectives. By prescribing the fire under optimum weather conditions, managers simulate the natural role of fire. This reduces forest competition, opens gaps in the forest canopy for sunlight to shine through, and recycles nutrients to the soil for re-growth. Fire was a frequent event in the Jeffrey pine forest, occurring naturally every 10-15 years.

mono county news, us forest service, mammoth lakes, june lake

5 years prison for pot grower

BAKERSFIELD RESIDENT SENTENCED TO 5-YEAR PRISON TERM FOR GROWING MARIJUANA ON ECOLOGICAL RESERVE

Press release from US Attorney Benjamin Wagner

FRESNO, Calif. — Cruz Soria, 29, of Bakersfield, California was sentenced today to 5 years in prison for conspiring to manufacture, distribute and possess with intent to distribute marijuana in the Fay Canyon area of the Canebrake Ecological Reserve, U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.  Soria was also ordered to pay $2,568.85 in restitution to the High Sierra Trail Volunteer Crew for the cost of cleaning up the grow site.
The Canebrake Ecological Reserve is located 10 miles east of Lake Isabella in northeastern Kern County.  It was first inhabited in about 1000 B.C. by the Tubatulabel culture and is currently home to numerous rare and protected plants and animals, including the federally-protected golden and bald eagles and peregrine falcon, the federally-threatened California red-legged frog and Valley elderberry longhorn beetle, and the endangered Southwestern willow flycatcher.
Soria’s sentence follows his guilty plea last year.  In pleading guilty, Soria acknowledged he was responsible for cultivating 454 marijuana plants in the ecological reserve.  Law enforcement officers arrested Soria at the grow site and seized the plants, about twelve pounds of processed marijuana, and a firearm.  The officers also found several highly toxic chemicals, including Fosfuro de Zinc or zinc phosphide, a rat poison illegal to use in the United States without a license, and Furadan, an insecticide banned by the EPA for usage on crops consumed by humans.  Dead coyote, snakes and other animals were found at the grow site.  Upon completion of his prison sentence, Soria will be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for 4 more years.
This case is the product of an investigation by the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Department of Homeland Security – Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), California Department of Fish and Game, and Kern County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Karen Escobar prosecuted the case.

eastern sierra news, lake isabella, war on drugs, us forest service