Aspen Fire Chars Over 14,000 Acres, Injuries Reported

Smoke from the Aspen Fire rises over Mammoth Pool Reservoir. | Photo: Courtesy John Smith/Inciweb

[Update: For the latest on this fire, read our most recent story here.]

A team of nearly 1,700 people are working on a wildfire deep in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It has been burning for over a week, and as of 7 a.m., the Aspen Fire had burned 14,147 acres and was 25 percent contained. Efforts have cost an estimated $7.8 million so far.

The first two injuries, although minor, have been reported: a broken finger and an infected foot. Three structures -- what kind is unclear to public information officers -- remain threatened.

The conflagration began last Monday in Sierra National Forest during a lightning storm. It's located seven miles north of the town of Big Creek and is between Mammoth Pool Reservoir and Huntington Lake, but recreation and businesses at Huntington, along with Shaver Lake, Lake Thomas Edison, Florence Lake, and the Mono Hot Springs area remain open at this time, according to fire officials.

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Campground Closures

Sample Meadow
West Kaiser
Jackass Rock Organization
Lower Chiquito
Little Jackass
Soda Springs
Placer
Sweet Water
China Bar
Rock Creek
Wagners Mammoth Pool Resort
Mammoth Pool
Fish Creek
Rancheria
Badger Flat
Midge Creek

Remaining closed since last week are 16 campgrounds, all trails in Kaiser Wilderness, and Stump Springs Road. Residents who live within the following area may enter with valid I.D.: Minarets Road from Fish Creek to Jackass Rock Organization Campground and Grizzly Road between Beasore and Minarets.

Smoke from the blaze prompted air quality agencies yesterday afternoon to advise residents. Merced, Madera, Fresno, and Tulare counties were issued a health cautionary statement. And a Stage 1 Health Advisory was issued for the Mammoth Lakes area and southern Mono County.

Because the fire is located in steep and rugged terrain, fire crews on the ground have been building an indirect line away from the fire's active edge. An indirect line is a defensible place where, if the fire comes to it, fire crews can safely attack the blaze, either with fire engines, hand crews, air tankers, or some combination. The line has been completed on the northeast and southwest sides of the fire, and "good progress" has been reported on the northwest side.

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About the Author

Zach Behrens is KCETLink's Editor-in-Chief of Blogs, where he oversees website editorial and advises on projects. When he does write, he mostly covers local government, environment, and the outdoors.
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