Crews Block Spread of 10,500-Acre Wildfire That Stranded Hikers in Eastern Sierra

The Taboose Fire burning in Inyo National Forest is seen in an image released Sept. 8, 2019, by the U.S. Forest Service.

The Taboose Fire burning in Inyo National Forest is seen in an image released Sept. 8, 2019, by the U.S. Forest Service.

Crews were battling a large wildfire Monday that had stranded hikers and consumed cars as it spread to more than 16 square miles in the Eastern Sierra.

Several trails and campgrounds remained closed as containment the 10,500-acre Taboose Fire rose to 30% Monday night, according to an incident report from Inyo National Forest.

The blaze erupted last Wednesday southwest of Big Pine, a mountain town just outside Kings Canyon National Park.

Firefighters were able to halt flames’ progress Monday, with no acreage gained despite high winds and a red flag warning in place through Tuesday morning.

Over the weekend, stranded backcountry hikers on the Red Lake Trail had to be evacuated by helicopter, and four vehicles were destroyed at the trailhead, officials said.

Mandatory evacuation orders were in place for Baxter Ranch and Big Pine Canyon, including Glacier Lodge, Cone Road, Sugarloaf Road and the Bernasconi Center.

The communities of Aberdeen and Birch Creek were under evacuation warnings.

An evacuation center was set up at the Eastern Sierra Tri-County Fairgrounds in Bishop.

The following campgrounds were closed as of Monday:
• Goodale Creek
• Tinnemaha
• Sage Flat
• Upper Sage Flat
• Big Pine Creek
• Big Pine Creek Group
• Palisade Group
• Clyde Group

The following trails were closed as of Monday:
• Birch Lake Trail
• Red Lake Trail
• Taboose Creek Trail
• The south, middle and north forks of Big Pine Creek Trail
• Baker Creek Trail

About 360 personnel remained engaged in the firefight Monday night.

The fire’s cause remains under investigation, but officials said it was believed to have been sparked by lightning.

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