A 2,500-acre wildfire burning in rugged Inyo National Forest on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada is five percent contained.
Fire information officer Jim Wilkins says about 100 people who had to leave isolated rural residences after the blaze broke out yesterday are being allowed to return home. Wilkins reports the blaze, dubbed the Birch Fire, initially threatened 200 residences, most of them unoccupied weekend homes. Campgrounds popular with fishermen and other summer tourists have been evacuated.
Some one thousand firefighters aided by airplanes and helicopters have been deployed on the fire northwest of the town of Bishop. Thunderstorm cells bearing winds and lightning are the main problem for firefighters. The cause of the blaze remains unknown.
Wilkins says, “the brush is at a 30-year low for fuel moisture. Fire behavior is just very dangerous, as it is all over the West.”
No other major wildfires are reported in California.