A forest fire that reached 1,000 acres forced the closure of the Mount Whitney east trailhead. The hikers are evacuated and some have had to abandon their cars.
The Inyo Creek fire, believed to have been triggered by lightning, was discovered early Saturday in steep terrain southeast of Whitney Portal.
By noon as of Monday, it had burned 100 acres, and the US Forest Service and Inyo County Sheriff’s Office were evacuating all visitors from Whitney Portal, a busy trail with a store and campground. “This is a one-way and one-way road, and evacuating is essential to reduce the possibility of a chaotic situation,” an announcement from Inyo National Forest said.
There was a plan to escort evacuated hikers to the parking lot on Tuesday morning to retrieve their vehicles, but the blaze reached over 1,000 acres overnight and the operation was called off, National Forest said. Inyo.
Rangers are trying to let backpackers on the Pacific Crest Trail and other Sierra trails know that they will not be allowed to exit at Whitney Portal and that they should take an alternate route.
Mandatory evacuation orders have been issued for residents of the Olivas Ranch and Portal Preserve areas and for all homes on Whitney Portal Road west of Horseshoe Meadows Road.
Another wildfire off Whitney Portal Road was brought under control on Monday. The Alabama fire started with lightning on Friday and burned 560 acres west of the Alabama Hills area.