Lightning Fires located on High Sierra Ranger District

Contact(s): Alex Olow

Lightning Fires On High Sierra Ranger District

PRATHER, Calif., – Sierra National Forest Fire Officials report several lightning caused fires burning in the wilderness and on National Forest systems lands. On Friday evening June 12, 2020, a quick moving storm system moved over the Sierra bringing wind, rain and lightning to the area. On Saturday June 13, 2020 the first of four fires were discovered. 

Rube Fire: Lat-37 29.6 / Long-119 07.834, Acres: 1, Containment 100%
Reported on the morning of 6/13 by Mt. Tom fire lookout, confirmed by an Air Attack 15 reconnaissance flight the Rube Fire was .10 acres. Located on the High Sierra District in the Ansel Adams Wilderness, 1.25 miles to the Northwest of Pincushion Peak.  When reported the fire was .10 acres. On 6/15, helicopter 520 delivered 8 personnel to begin suppression efforts. Initial ground observations showed fire behavior as actively burning in heavy timber, grass, and brush on the middle 1/3 of the slope, on steep ground, including standing dead trees, the fire was one (1) acre. Smoke impacts have been moderate. Due to the active fire, and steep terrain, firefighters took an indirect approach to containing fire utilizing non-combustible natural features of the land, and minimal impact suppression tactics (MIST) with hand tools. This strategy, and tactics also helped to reduce the threat of injuries to firefighters. As of 6/16 at 1519 hrs, the Rube Fire was contained, with expected control of Rube Fire on 6/17.  All personnel will be extracted from incident on 6/17, and fire placed in a patrol status. Little to no smoke is showing as the interior burns down. 

Tennessee: Lat-37 32.09 / Long-119 07.473, Acres 35, Containment 30% 
The Tennessee Fire reported was reported on 6/14 by helicopter 520 which was conducting a reconnaissance mission on the Rube Fire. Located on the High Sierra Ranger District just inside of the Ansel Adams wilderness, two miles northwest of Portal Forebay, estimated to be a 10’X10’ ground fire, creeping and smoldering. Sierra engine 343’s was dispatched and on initial size up found the fire three (3) acres, with active burning, in heavy dead and down timber, and brush. Minimal impact suppression tactics (MIST) are being utilized to contain the fire. Smoke impact was moderate, and visible from the High Sierra station on Kaiser Pass road. Resources are on the fire. Crews will continue engaging the fire using a full fire suppression strategy. There is no immediate threat to life or property at this time.

Fox: 37 32.09 / 119 05.09, Acres 1, Containment 100%
This incident was reported on 6/14 by helicopter 520 while conducting a reconnaissance mission of the Rube Incident.  This incident is located on the High Sierra District, within the John Muir Wilderness near Pond Lily Lake, 6 miles to the Southeast of Devils Post Pile. Fire was reported to be a single tree lightning strike with .10 acres of ground fire, on a South aspect, with high potential for fire growth.  At this time the fire is being fully suppressed by the Inyo National Forest.

Pumice: 37 32.42 / 119 02.48, Acres 40, Containment 100%
This incident was reported on 6/15 by helicopter 520 while conducting operational support missions for the Rube, and Tennessee Fires. This fire is located on the High Sierra District within the John Muir Wilderness and is located 2 miles to the East of the Fox Fire on a steep, knife edge ridge in a mixture of brush and mixed conifer forest. Initial report on 6/15 from helicopter 520 estimated the fire to be at .5 acres, with a high potential for fire growth. As of 6/17 the Pumice fire is being suppressed by the Inyo National Forest. Fire crews have mapped the Pumice Fire at 40 acres and are showing 30% containment. A third fire crew was assigned on 6/17. Yesterday, crews  constructed and strengthened the fire line for containment  and began mop up, the process of cooling and extinguishing the fire along the containment lines. Today crews will continue mop-up, looking for areas of smoke or other hotspots. 
Two of the crews will be released from the fire Saturday 6/20 morning, but one crew will remain assigned to the fire through Sunday. 

Smoke may be visible from the Mammoth Lakes vicinity. There remains no threat to life or property. The fire is in a remote location in the wilderness in the Fish Creek area (west of Mammoth Lakes). The forest helicopter is being used for logistical support for the crews and with bucket drops to cool the fire’s edge and may be visible due to smoke production.