Tag Archives: Inyo National Forest

Inyo National Closes Group Camps Under Forest Order

The Inyo National Forest is extending the closure of all group campgrounds and two remote campgrounds under a forest order closure The closure can be terminated or extended depending in conditions.

Please see Exhibit A (in the link above) for a full list of campgrounds included in this order.

The decision is based upon recommendations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and state and local health authorities.

Developed recreation group campsites on the Inyo National Forest typically draw large groups of people, creating mass gatherings and concentrated groups of forest visitors. This results in significant management oversight. especially during the high use conditions now being experienced.

Additionally, due to lack of personnel it is necessary to close two developed campgrounds, Grandview Campground and Kennedy Meadows Campground, located in remote areas of the Inyo National Forest. These facilities are located in areas that timely and routine cleaning cannot occur.

This closure is an interim measure. The Inyo National Forest will follow guidelines from the CDC, as well as state and local health departments, to ensure that the safety of our employees and our visitors is a priority.

Visitors are also urged to take the precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) along with local health and safety guidance. For tips from the CDC on preventing illnesses like the coronavirus, go to: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention.html.

Inyo National Forest Implementing Fire Restrictions

Inyo National Forest is implementing fire restrictions effective on all Inyo National Forest lands.

 

We want to support a strong fire prevention program, limiting human-caused fires, to keep our firefighters healthy and ready for when we need them in the coming months,” said Tammy Randall-Parker, Forest Supervisor.

 

The forest is basing this decision on increased fire danger, local fire activity, and the availability of firefighters for response. Effective May 13th and through December 31, 2020 or until rescinded, the following restrictions will be in effect:

 

  • No campfires, briquette barbeques, or stove fires are allowed outside of designated developed recreation sites and specifically posted campsites or areas. However, for now, campgrounds are closed on the forest.
  • Persons with a valid California Campfire Permit are not exempt from the prohibitions but are allowed to use portable stoves or lanterns using gas, jellied petroleum, or pressurized liquid fuel.
  • No fireworks. It is prohibited to possess or discharge any fireworks, including “safe and sane” fireworks.
  • No smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable material.
  • Please refer to the webpage for the forest order, the list of developed recreation sites, and full list of restrictions.

 

Resorts, pack stations, recreation residences and other sites operated under special use permit from the U.S. Forest Service may be exempt from the special orders, as long as any fire activity is conducted in compliance with their permit.

Residents and visitors are reminded that additional simple steps can help prevent human-caused fires. Fire crews regularly respond to vehicle fires along the Sherwin Grade on Hwy 395.

  • Prevent vehicle related fires by maintaining proper tire pressure, ensuring adequate tire tread, and checking your brakes for overheating. Avoid traveling or parking on brush or grass. Ensure chains are not dragging while towing.
  • Use of exploding targets, such as Binary Explosive Targets, and tracer rounds, while recreationally shooting is both a fire hazard and illegal. The use of steel-core ammunition, although legal, can greatly increase the chance of a wildfire.
  • Motorcycles, ATV’s and chainsaws require an approved spark arrestor.

https://www.readyforwildfire.org/

Inyo National Forest Provides Updates on Recreation Closures

On March 25, 2020, Regional Forester Randy Moore issued a Closure Order for all developed recreation sites across all National Forests in the Region.  This closure order is likely to be in place through early May.  Additional details will follow later this week.

The USDA Forest Service’s highest priority is ensuring our employees and visitors remain safe as we support mission critical functions for the people and communities we serve.

This closure excludes trails and trailheads. However, the Inyo National Forest has cancelled the issuance of Wilderness permits, including Mt. Whitney day and overnight permits, through May 15. Typically, the Wilderness quota system begins for the forest on May 1 and reservations for permits are issued via recreation.gov. Inyo County has advised that people do not engage in high risk activities. Mt. Whitney, especially this time of year, is an area where rescues and recoveries are common. People who have been awarded a permit reservation for Mt. Whitney or any other trailhead on the Inyo National Forest will receive a notice from recreation.gov that notifies them that their reservation has been cancelled and a refund have been issued.

While trails remain open for day use, we recommend complying with local and state guidance and not traveling for your recreation needs.

If you do plan on visiting the Inyo National Forest, please be aware that:

  • No trash removal is currently offered – please pack out all trash and waste
  • All toilet facilities are currently closed – please plan accordingly
  • Avoid high-risk activities – law enforcement and search and rescue operations may be limited
  • If an area is crowded, please search for a less occupied location

All Inyo National Forest campgrounds are closed. This includes Kennedy Meadows, Lone Pine, Mt. Whitney Trailhead, Lower Grays Meadow, Grandview, Sage Flat, Bitterbrush, Big Trees, Four Jeffrey, Forks, Intake 2, Holiday, Tuff, and French Camp, Convict Lake, New Shady Rest, Old Shady Rest, and Sherwin Creek, Oh Ridge, June Lake, Gull Lake, Aerie Crag, and Lower Lee Vining. The remaining campgrounds in the Bishop Creek drainage, Rock Creek drainage, Lakes Basin, Reds Meadow Valley, June Lake Loop, Lee Vining Canyon, and along Hwy 395 between Mammoth Lakes and Lee Vining are typically closed for winter conditions this time of year.

As a reminder, many roads that access these areas may also be closed for winter conditions.

All visitor centers are closed. This includes the Eastern Sierra Visitor Center in Lone Pine, the White Mountain Ranger Station, the Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center, and the Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center in Lee Vining. The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest Visitor Center is closed for the winter.

All picnic areas are closed. South Tufa (Mono Lake), Convict Lake, Hot Creek, and June Beach Day Use areas are closed. All campground restrooms, trailhead restrooms, picnic area, and day use restrooms are closed.

Customers needing information may call during regular business hours (Monday-Friday, 8:00 am- 4:30 pm, closed for lunch 12:00 pm -12:30 pm). Please be patient since call volume is significant.

  • Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center:760-924-5500
  • White Mountain Ranger Station and Bishop Supervisor’s Office: 760-873-2400
  • Eastern Sierra Visitor Center, Lone Pine: 760-876-6200 

Closing any site for any reason is not one we take lightly, but protecting our visitors and employees remains our highest priority. We are working with our state and local partners to determine the best path forward to safely reopening closed sites.

 

Springs Fire Grows Sixty-Nine Acres

Current Situation: The Inyo National Forest Type 3 Incident Management Organization is managing the Springs Fire. Firefighters continued with holding and mop-up operations through the day. Crews assigned to night shift continued with tactical firing operations, for a total fire growth of 69 acres yesterday. This continues to provide more depth to the control line securing the established anchor point. A cold front is expected to move through the area today and possibly linger into tomorrow, bringing the potential for strong downdraft and erratic winds. Fire managers and crews on the fireline anticipate a growth of approximately 60 acres today, dependent upon the incoming cold front. Early morning light smoke/haze is also likely farther down the hill toward the Benton/Hammil Valley area, possibly as far as the Bishop/Owens Valley. Fire management have based strategic and tactical decision making on historical and scientific data for the purpose of managing for multiple objectives including protection, suppression and resource benefit.

The Who’s Who of the Incident Management Organization: Every Type 1, 2, and 3 Incident Management Organization must have a Medical Unit Leader. The medical unit provides for basic needs at camp, with some units able to go as far as providing cortisone shots for severe poison oak reactions. The basic supplies provided are things such as antihistamines, foot powder, bandages, lotion, and sunblock. These basic necessities provided make a huge difference for a firefighter working away from home for weeks at a time. The Medical Unit Leader also manages the line Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians that are on the fireline for all operational shifts. They render immediate care for any injury that happens, from a twisted ankle or bee sting to a hazard tree falling on a firefighter. The safety of our firefighters is always the top priority on any incident. The Medical Unit plays a critical role in providing medical care to all personnel on the incident.

Soft Closure Order: A soft closure order is in effect for some roads leading into the Springs fire to provide for public and firefighter safety. Forest Roads 1S17 from HWY 120 East to the Junction of 1S04. Forest Road 1S04 is closed from Forest Road 1S17 junction to Forest Road 1S02. Forest Road 1S12 is closed from the 1S17 junction to 1S02. The Springs Fire Incident Commander asks that all motorists observe and obey all posted signs and barricades to ensure for the safety of all public and firefighters

PERSONAL FUELWOOD PERMITS

Staff shortages result in early permit sales.

Posted by Seth Conners
According to Deb Schweizer at Inyo National Forest, the Inyo National Forest is offering early sale of personal use fuelwood permits for the 2017 season. Because of staffing shortages, permit sales will begin earlier than normal to help alleviate lines at the visitor centers. Locals are encouraged to purchase early to avoid crowds in the visitor centers as spring visitation season begins.
The personal use fuelwood season is scheduled to begin on Monday, May 1. Permits will be on sale beginning Monday, April 17 at local U. S. Forest Service visitor centers. Maps showing areas open to cutting are available with a purchased fuelwood permit. New this year, copies of fuelwood maps will be available on Avenza. Fuelwood permits are still $15.00 per cord with a two cord minimum.
The forest requests that fuelwood permits are purchased between the hours of 9:00 a.m-12:00 noon and 1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m., unless otherwise specified. Fuelwood permits may be obtained at the following locations:
Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center in Lee Vining; (760) 647-3044
Permits on sale, Thursday – Monday only (beginning April 27).
Mammoth Lakes Welcome Center in Mammoth Lakes; (760) 924-5500
Permits on sale 7 days/week.
White Mountain Ranger Station in Bishop; (760) 873-2500
Permits on sale Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m.-11:30a.m, 1:00 p.m.-4:30p.m.
Please call ahead to your local visitor center to confirm hours of operations.
The Fuelwood Strategy, developed with public participation in 1998, remains valid and will be implemented this year. Large ends of all downed logs (those portions greater than 30 inches in diameter) are required to remain on the forest floor for wildlife habitat and recycling of soil nutrients. The majority of funds collected from permit sales are directly returned to the forest for continued implementation of this program. Comments on this strategy and fuelwood program are always welcome. For further information on the fuelwood program, contact your local ranger Station or visitor center.

OHV GRANTS

INF AND BLM TEAM UP TO GATHER PUBLIC IDEAS FOR GRANT APPLICATIONS.

By Seth Conners

According to Deb Schweizer from the US Forest Service, the Inyo National Forest and the Bishop Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management will hold an open house on Thursday, Feb. 2 to gather public ideas for requesting off-highway vehicle grant funds.
The informal open house will run from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Forest Service/BLM office, 351 Pacu Lane, Bishop.
The agencies plan to request grant funds from the State of California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division (OHMVR) to enhance and manage motorized recreation in the area. Interested citizens are invited to drop in at any time during the open house and provide ideas for projects and opportunities that could be incorporated into the grants. Representatives from the two agencies will be available to answer questions about the grant process and to receive input for developing the grants.
Preliminary grant applications will be submitted to the OHMVR Division by March 6. The public will then be able to comment on the preliminary applications from March 7 to April 3. Final applications must be submitted by May 1. For more information about the state grant process and requirements, visit the OHMVR Division website at www.ohv.parks.ca.gov
For more information, to submit your ideas through other means, or if you have special needs for accommodation to participate in this open house, call Forest Trails Coordinator Marty Hornick at (760) 873-2461; or BLM Outdoor Recreation Planner Sara Manley at (760) 872-5033.

U.S. FOREST SERVICE GOING SOLAR

Eastern Sierra Visitor Center in Lone Pine switches to solar power.

By Seth Conners

According to Deb Schweizer at INF, The Inyo National forest is pleased to announce that the solar photovoltaic system at The Eastern Sierra Visitor center in Lone Pine was turned on in December.  This system should meet nearly 100% of the facility’s electrical demand.

“The solar photovoltaic system installation at the visitor center in Lone Pine exemplifies the Forest Service’s commitment to leading by example,” said Nora Gamino, Acting Forest Engineer.  “This is one of several projects underway on the Inyo National Forest that demonstrate our dedication to sustainable practices.”

This project directly supports energy reduction and net zero goals specified in the Energy Policy Act (2005), Energy Independence and Security Act (2007), and Executive Order 13693 (Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade).

The Forest Service has committed to achieving net zero energy, water, or waste at 30 facilities over 5,000 square feet by 2025.  Given that the system will offset nearly 100% of the facility’s electrical demand, the agency is now one facility closer to meeting its goal.

The agency’s Net Zero Network encourages projects at Visitor Centers, which are not only some of our largest energy-consuming facilities, but also provide educational opportunities for those recreating on National Forest System land.

Other notable projects on the Inyo National Forest include the installation of the PV systems at the Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitors Center and Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest Visitor Center, which is completely off the grid and received Gold Certification from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.

LOCAL CONTROLLED BURNS

Pile burning continues in Inyo National Forest.

By Seth Conners

Photo courtesy of Inyo National Forest

Fire crews continued pile burning near Smokey Bear Flat on Tuesday.  According to Deb Sweizer at Inyo National Forest, crews were working with the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District to take advantage of favorable wind dispersal.  Crews were expected to complete up to 51 acres.  Since this burn unit is close to Highway 395, motorist should plan to see smoke in the area and should slow down for firefighters along the road corridor.

Also, weather and air quality conditions permitting, fire crews plan pile burning near June Lake and Mammoth Lakes today and tomorrow.

In June Lake crews will burn up to 5 acres between Fern Lake Trailhead and over to the Double Eagle Lodge.  If condition remain favorable, crews will also be looking to complete 4 acres of piles near the Peterson Tract.

In Mammoth Lakes crews will burn up to 164 acres of piles over the next 2 days along Sherwin Creek Road near the Sherwin Creek Campground.  Expect to see smoke from both June Lake and Mammoth Lakes, as well as along major roadways including Highways 395, 158, and 203.

The piles were created as part of a fuels reduction plan to remove ladder fuels that could carry fire from the forest floor up to the canopy.  The main focus is community protection from wild fires.

FIRE RESTRICTIONS

Inyo National Forest Announces more fire restrictions due to start today

July 29th
by Seth Conners

The Inyo National Forest is expanding fire restrictions to include wilderness areas of the Inyo National Forest.  Beginning today (Friday July 29th) the following restrictions will be in effect.
No campfires, briquette barbeques, or stove fires are allowed outside of designated developed recreation sites and specifically posted campsites or areas.  A list of designated campgrounds and recreation sites is available at visitor centers.  Persons with a valid California campfire permit (available free of charge at visitors centers) are not exempt from the prohibitions but are allowed to use portable stoves or lanterns using gas, jellied petroleum, or pressurized liquid fuel.
It is also prohibited to possess or discharge any fireworks including “safe and sane” fireworks.
Also, no smoking is allowed except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable material.
Resorts, pack stations, recreation residences and other sites operated under a special use permit from the U.S. forest service may be exempt from the special orders, as long as any fire activity is conducted in compliance with their permit.

Inyo National Forest, Fire Restrictions, Fire Permits, Wilderness Areas, U.S. Forest service, No Campires

Crews Monitor Ash Fire

Fire Crews Monitor Ash Fire

June, 15, 2016
submitted by Deb Schweizer, US Forest Service

The Ash Fire, a lightning-caused fire, was ignited and detected on June 12th. It is approximately two acres in size and is burning in the Golden Trout Wilderness southeast of Mulkey Meadows.

Smoke may be visible along the Highway 395 corridor north of Olancha. Please do not report this fire.

There is currently no threat to life or property. The fire is burning is a mixture of mahogany, pinyon pine, and Jeffrey pine at 8,500 ft. The fire is burning in steep, rugged, and inaccessible terrain. Fire spread is primarily from rollouts; burning material that gets loosened, rolls down the steep slope, and ignites vegetation below.

Fire crews are monitoring the fire and using bucket drops from helicopter to help direct and slow the fire spread. The fire behavior is low intensity, burning the sparse dead and down vegetation in the area. Crews plan to use a confine/contain strategy to slow the fire’s spread towards Wormhole Canyon.

More than 300 lightning strikes occurred in the southern district of the forest. Crews will also continue to monitor the area for sleeper fires, which may have ignited during the storm, but will begin to show smoke as conditions get warmer and drier.

From air
Photo provided.
inyo national forest, ash fire, olancha area fire, lightning caused fire june 12, smoke on highway 395 inyo county