Lightning starts fires in Inyo National Forest, 625 people evacuated

Lightning starts fires in Inyo National Forest, 625 people evacuated

19 July 2009

published by latimesblogs.latimes.com


USA — Authorities say a lightning-sparked wildfire in the Inyo National Forest near Bishop has grown to 2,000 acres and forced the evacuation of nearly 625 people in a small vacation community and nine local campgrounds.

The Forks fire is one of 23 fires caused by a thunderstorm Saturday about 2:30 p.m. Now the largest of the 23, the Forks fire is burning with the aid of heavy brush, gusting winds and 100-degree heat, said U.S. Forest Service spokesman John Louth.

“It just took off,” Louth said. “It was on a steep slope and ran up the slope and got into some heavy fuels. We had so many resources on other fires, we were overwhelmed with fire, and this one got big.”

The community of Aspendell, with about 75 vacation homes as well as nine campgrounds with about 100 campsites, was evacuated Sunday, Louth said.

About 200 firefighters are battling the blaze, which started 12 miles west of Bishop off Highway 168, Louth said. The fire is now 10 miles west of the city and moving in a northwest direction, Louth said.

Louth could not estimate when the fire would be contained.


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