Dust and smoke issues in the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District

Archive for August, 2011

Avalanche Fire contained for air quality

Posted by admin on August 19, 2011

Yosemite National Park has announced its decision ( to contain the Avalanche Fire at only 1,075 of the 5,800 acres that had been planned for the project.  Smoke monitors set up by the Park and the National Forest Service recorded 24-hour average levels considered “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups.”  The fire, started by lightning on 7/31/2011, reached a southern fire line established at the Old Glacier Point Road along Indian Creek on 8/16/2011 (see map below).  Because weather conditions for effective smoke dispersion were deteriorating and models forecasted no improvements for several days, it was decided to effect final containment rather than just a temporary hold at this line.

(click on image for full resolution PDF)

Posted in Wildland Fires | Comments Off on Avalanche Fire contained for air quality

Lion Fire & smoke perspectives

Posted by admin on August 8, 2011

The Lion Fire is nearly completed.  The Sequoia National Forest shared these photos from yesterday’s fire activity.  From a distance, one might think this is a scorching-hot fire that’s consuming everything in its path.


A closer look shows no crowning (burning to the tree tops) as the fire backs down the hill.

Looking from directly above, it can be seen that the only things burning are the lower level shrubs, grass, duff, litter (dead, fallen branches) and very small trees.  Most of the Lion Fire burned in this very desirable manner, reducing fuels and the potential for future catastrophic fire in dryer years.

Posted in Wildland Fires | Comments Off on Lion Fire & smoke perspectives

Avalanche Fire in Yosemite

Posted by admin on August 5, 2011

On July 31, 2011, lightning ignited the Avalanche Fire at 37.6633, -119.7037, in the Yosemite National Park.  This fire is being considered for management to achieve fire protection and resource benefits.  It could potentially grow to 5,800 acres, as decribed in detail by the Smoke Management Summary, Final Smoke Management Summary Avalanche2011, that the park submitted to the Mariposa County Air Pollution Control District.  The fire was only 8 acres in size as of yesterday when the document was written.



Posted in Wildland Fires | Comments Off on Avalanche Fire in Yosemite

Lion Fire nearing end

Posted by admin on August 5, 2011

About 300 more acres will have burned today on the Lion Fire.  The smoke shown below from south of the fire this afternoon is already making it into the Owens Valley.  The incident commanders expect nearly this same burn rate for the next 2-3 days, after which the progression will drop off and the mop-up stage will begin.

Much of the smoke appears to be staying aloft and continuing east, as seen below from south of Owens Lake, looking north.  Hopefully, this will mean less of an impact to the valley than yesterday.

Posted in Wildland Fires | Comments Off on Lion Fire nearing end

Last stages of the Lion Fire

Posted by admin on August 4, 2011

It may be hard to believe based on today’s smoke, but the Lion Fire ( is actually winding down.  The incident commanders from the Sequoia National Forest have been in daily contact with the California Air Resources Board, the San Joaquin Air Pollution Control District and with us at the Great Basin APCD.  They report that the fire has only 5-7 more days during which it will be actively growing.  There are just a few hundred more acres around a private property that need to be secured.  They will be hand-igniting some of that area in order to accomplish this goal safely.  In response to APCD requests, the Sequoia has reevaluated and cut in half the number of acres they feel are necessary to complete this stage.  This is greatly appreciated.

This morning the smoke could be seen approaching Bishop.

And by noon, it arrived.

The area producing this smoke is only about 250 acres versus the 2,500 acres per day that burned on 3 consecutive days last week.  Today the dispersion conditions just didn’t allow for the smoke to move as quickly through the valley.

Posted in Wildland Fires | Comments Off on Last stages of the Lion Fire