Eastern California Wildfire Stopped, Evacuations Lifted

A wildfire burns in eastern California's remote Owens Valley.
Cal Fire San Bernardino Unit

A wildfire in eastern California's remote Owens Valley was 30% contained early Friday after firefighters stopped its forward progress and evacuation orders were lifted, authorities said.

The fire scorched more than 6 square miles but there were no injuries, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

“Firefighters continued to make good progress throughout the night despite below freezing overnight temperatures,” Cal Fire said.

The Airport Fire erupted Wednesday near Eastern Sierra Regional Airport outside the town of Bishop and winds drove it south toward the small town of Big Pine, where evacuations were ordered for the east side of the community.

The fire also threatened the California Institute of Technology's Owens Valley Radio Observatory and the University of California's White Mountain Research Center.

Caltech said Thursday afternoon that the site appeared to be safe and all buildings appeared to be intact but some power systems needed repair.

Personnel planned to return to the observatory on Friday to complete a full assessment of the buildings, instrumentation, and antennas in the field.

The White Mountain Research Center was undamaged.

Bishop, population 3,800, is about 15 miles (24 kilometers) north of Big Pine, home to about 1,700 people in Inyo County.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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