(UPDATE at 7:05 a.m. PDT, July 30, 2013)
On the map of the Aspen Fire above, the red line is the perimeter at 1 a.m. July 30; the pink line is from about 24 hours before. On Monday the fire continued to spread on the south and east flanks, and moved over a mile on the north side.
Businesses remain open in the Shaver Lake, Huntington Lake, Lake Thomas Edison, Florence Lake and the Mono Hot Springs areas.
(UPDATE at 8:10 p.m. PDT, July 29, 2013)
Some of our web site visitors have told us the maps of the Aspen Fire on InciWeb are not very useful to them. So until that changes, we will at least occasionally post a map here that we hope fits the needs of the general public.
In the maps below, the red line is the fire perimeter at 10 p.m. PDT July 28, 2013. The pink line is the perimeter about two days before that.
The fire has burned 11,000 acres. Monday, east winds promoted increased growth along the northern, eastern and southeastern perimeter of the fire. Helicopters worked the southern edge of the fire in the Aspen Creek drainage and other areas of heat. Fixed wing aircraft, including a Very Large Air Tanker (a DC-10) are pre-treating with retardant the Kaiser Creek area.
We have a photo of the DC-10, which is reloading at Santa Maria Air Tanker Base.
(UPDATE at 7:45 a.m. PDT, July 28, 2013)
Over the past two days fire activity has been increasing in the late afternoon on the Aspen Fire when the smoke inversion layer lifts. It is expected to dissipate earlier on Sunday. On Saturday the smoke kept aircraft grounded until 3 p.m.
The incident management team reports that because of the extremely steep, rugged and inaccessible terrain, fire crews are using a tactic called indirect attack which creates control lines away from the fire’s active edge. Air resources, including several helicopters and air tankers, have been working along the edge of the fire after the inversion breaks to slow the forward progress. As the situation changes and firefighters can safely gain access to the fire, a more direct attack will be implemented.
Firefighters will continue to build a contingency fireline from Mushroom Rock to the San Joaquin River south of the fire, and will use the ridge north of Kaiser Creek as a northern contingency.
- Acres burned: 8,927
- Cost: $4.0 million
- Hand Crews: 22
- Helicopters: 8
- Engines: 35
- Total personnel: 1,012
- Fire first reported: July 22, 2013
The incident management team is now producing maps for the public, so we will scale back our effort in that direction.
(UPDATE at 8 a.m. PDT, July 27, 2013)
The Aspen fire continued to grow Friday on the north and east sides, and has now burned 6,693 acres. Firefighters are using boats to access portions of the fire near the Mammoth Pool Reservoir. Yesterday helicopters dropped water on the north end of the fire while fixed wing air tankers worked to the south. Smoke from the fire continues to impact the San Joaquin Valley and the local communities.
About 993 personnel are assigned to the fire, as well as 19 hand crews, 8 helicopters, and 35 engines.
The weather forecast for the fire area predicts 90 degrees, southwest winds at 3 to 11 mph, relative humidity around 40 percent, and a 20 percent chance of thundershowers — fairly moderate conditions unless gusty winds out of thunderstorms cause a problem.
(UPDATED at 5:50 a.m. PDT, July 26, 2013)
The fire burned actively throughout the day on Thursday growing to 4,500 acres and reached the slopes above the east side of Mammoth Pool Reservoir. On Friday firefighters will continue to construct firelines and aircraft will be utilized when possible. Heavy smoke and steep terrain makes access to the fire difficult and has inhibited the use of aircraft.
The wind on Friday should be a little stronger than on previous days, increasing to 8 to 10 mph out of the southwest in the afternoon. This may help the visibility problem for the aircraft, but could promote growth of the fire.
(UPDATED at 7:25 a.m. PDT, July 25, 2013)
The Aspen fire northwest of Big Creek, California was active throughout the night and has burned between 2,500 and 3,000 acres. It moved to the north to come within half a mile of Mammoth Pool Reservoir.
The weather forecast for Thursday still calls for moderate conditions, with a two to six mph wind out of the north, becoming west and southwest in the afternoon. The relative humidity should be in the mid-twenties.
(Originally published at 6:42 p.m. PDT, July 24, 2013)
A new fire on the Sierra National Forest in California could turn out to have some potential. Started by lightning, the 2,500-acre Aspen Fire is in an area that last burned in 1938. The Forest got hammered by lightning over the last few days and this is one of 15 fires, but all of the others are less than a quarter of an acre. Estimating from the heat detected by a satellite, (shown in the two maps) it is approximately three miles long by one mile wide, just south of Mammoth Pool Reservoir, 16 miles south of Yosemite National Park, and 5 miles northwest of Huntington Lake.
Evacuations are occurring at Sample Meadow and West Kaiser Campgrounds.
The South Central Sierra Incident Management Team, with Incident Commander David Cooper, will be assuming command of the fire at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
It is burning in very steep country, with the elevation varying from 2,600 feet in the drainage to almost 7,000 near the head of the fire.
The weather forecast for the fire area on Thursday calls for moderate conditions — 92 degrees, west to southwest winds of 2 to 9 mph, 25 percent cloud cover, and a relative humidity around 30 percent. However the extremely dry drought-affected vegetation could bump up the fire behavior to levels higher than warranted strictly by the weather conditions. You can monitor the real time weather at the Minarets weather station 6 miles north of the fire.