Aspen Fire Grows to 22,000 Acres, More Campgrounds Reopen

An Erickson Air-Crane refills its tank for more water drops. | Photo: Courtesy Inciweb
The Aspen Fire, burning for over two weeks now, has now charred 22,090 acres in Sierra National Forest. As containment increases -- now at 80 percent -- more crews are being sent home while remaining personnel continue work along the active fire line to the south and west. Other crews are also patrolling the contained fire line and mopping up (i.e. ensuring hot spots are cold and won't rekindle) 300 feet from the perimeter.

Reduced smoke in the region became apparent Wednesday, but it may persist through the end of the summer, if not longer. "It has been probably the driest year in 100 years," said Gary Wuchner, a fire information officer. "It may take a significant rain storm and/or snow storm to really make fire managers comfortable that this fire is out." He added that a team will be patrolling the fire until then, which could, depending on this year's weather, be a few months.

The fire initially closed 16 campgrounds, 13 which have since reopened (check the original closure list here). Sample Meadow, West Kaiser, and Rancheria are still closed. Also remaining off limits are Stump Springs Road and all trails within Kaiser Wilderness, where the majority of the active fire remains, creeping and smoldering along decomposed granite at high elevation.

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