By Joseph Paglia
Special to the Sun
The lightning caused fire started in a remote area on September 4 and quickly grew to roughly 300 acres. Crews were making good progress towards containment and on September 7 a strong wind event blew into the area and took the fire over containment lines and it exploded to 4000+ acres overnight. A type 1 incident management team was called to take command over the fire. When a type 1 team is called it’s due to serious risk to loss of life and property. The team requested a large incident camp and numerous resources to help battle the blaze. The fire roared for days as the crews battled to try and stop it. Fighting against steep rugged terrain and multiple wind events reaching up to forty mile an hour gusts the fire continued to grow and endanger lives. After fourteen days of the type 1 incident management team being on scene they reached the limit for days worked without rest so they turned the fire over to a national incident management organization (NIMO) team to finish out the last few days on camp before giving it to the local forest. Reaching 10,200 acres in a little over two weeks and a long hard battle the fire crews managed to box in three sides of the fire and chose to let the west flank burn into the John Muir wilderness because it was headed for large rock outcroppings with very little vegetation. Once the fire was seventy percent contained and no longer a threat to communities in the area it was turned back over to the Inyo National Forest command and local crews continued to monitor and control the fire.
It has been a rather calm fire season for Southern California in comparison to the last few years but we are not out of danger yet. October is one of the more dangerous times of the year due to the Santa Ana winds and with dry vegetation and high temperatures it only takes a spark to start one of the monster fires that we know all to well. Remember to always report smoke in wilderness areas you could save lives and homes.