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#44062 - 08/21/15 03:24 PM Smoke Coverage?
Chris B Offline


Registered: 07/18/11
Posts: 66
Loc: Denver, CO
I was curious what the smoke coverage from the Rough Fire looks like around the Sierra right now. I can tell from the webcam that's it's pretty saturated on the East side, at least by Whitney. I assume places just south (like Cottonwood Lakes area) are in similar conditions. From what I gather from wind maps, it looks like the wind is pushing North East, but with smoke coverage south of the fire (in Whitney, for example), that may not be accurate? Some of my typical fire sites and resources offer more smoke coverage information than I've seen for this particular fire, so I'm having a harder time piecing it together.

I assume most of the Eastern Sierra is in the same shape. Can that be confirmed? What about SW Sierra (Mineral King and south)? I had permits and was planning a trip late next week to Cottonwood Lakes with my 6-year old, but don't want be hacking lungs the whole time or staring into a blanket of smoke. I've lived in forest fires areas long enough to realize winds can shift quickly and conditions could be very different 5-6 days from now (especially as the fire spreads), but just wondering what it looks like out there now.

Thanks in advance smile

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#44067 - 08/21/15 09:14 PM Re: Smoke Coverage? [Re: Chris B]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 6882
Loc: Fresno, CA
As bad as it is on the east side, I think I would maybe head up the west side to Yosemite. I realize it is dry and crowded in the summer, but I think they would n't have the smoke trouble.

Maybe a hike up on the Tioga road.

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#44068 - 08/21/15 09:57 PM Re: Smoke Coverage? [Re: Steve C]
RenoFrank Offline


Registered: 08/06/11
Posts: 394
Loc: Reno, NV
If you do consider Tioga Road I recommend a loop trail in Lakes Basin near Saddlebag Lake. I was there two weeks ago. It was fun riding the water taxi across Saddlebag Lake. However there is not much shade and it's around 10,000 ft elevation. I got too much sun and was uncomfortable for days. My face is still peeling.

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#44069 - 08/21/15 10:16 PM Re: Smoke Coverage? [Re: Chris B]
WanderingJim Offline


Registered: 02/09/15
Posts: 114
Loc: California
I guess I was lucky and only had one morning of haze and smokey smell during my three days climbing Whitney at the start of the month.

Planning on Yosemite for Labor Day weekend, so hopefully it's clear up there.

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#44070 - 08/21/15 10:37 PM Re: Smoke Coverage? [Re: WanderingJim]
SoCal Jim Offline


Registered: 06/09/10
Posts: 17
Loc: Santee, CA
Just read on another site that SEKI is advising no one go into their wilderness areas right now due to worsening smoke conditions and fire threat to trails. Doesn't sound like a hard closure but a strong recommendation.

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#44073 - 08/22/15 08:26 AM Re: Smoke Coverage? [Re: Chris B]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 662
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
It was very smoky in the Owens Valley yesterday; category one poor air quality. Also smoky in the nearby Eastern Sierra. Yesterday was the first time we had seen a lot of smoke above 9,000 feet. The Pine Creek drainage was quite clear on Thursday, but conditions changed to hazy by Thursday night.

The Bishop creek area has been especially hard hit with smoke, as smoke drifts over Bishop Pass from the fires in the Kings Canyon area.

Forecasts indicate continued smoke in the Owens valley and the rest of the east side. Clearing to begin on Monday...we hope.





Edited by Bob West (08/22/15 08:35 AM)

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#44074 - 08/22/15 08:34 AM Re: Smoke Coverage? [Re: Bob West]
bruce Offline


Registered: 09/27/13
Posts: 60
Loc: Novato, CA
Highway 180 into Kings Canyon is closed. The road into the canyon was closed a few days ago and now they are closing it at the 198 junction. I have a 3 day hike planned at Roads End for Labor Day weekend, so hopefully the road will be open by then. The fact that the fire jumped the river and highway 180 and is only 3 percent contained worries me. I was in the park 2 weeks ago when the Rough Fire was much smaller, and there was some smoke but not a whole lot.

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#44075 - 08/22/15 08:37 AM Re: Smoke Coverage? [Re: bruce]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 662
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
Here is the latest inciweb map of the Rough fire:

http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4456/

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#44076 - 08/22/15 10:48 AM Re: Smoke Coverage? [Re: Chris B]
Chris B Offline


Registered: 07/18/11
Posts: 66
Loc: Denver, CO
Excellent updates! I appreciate all of the responses. I will have to look into some alternative options in case things don't clear up next week, and Yosemite will certainly be on the list!

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#44087 - 08/23/15 11:09 AM Re: Smoke Coverage? [Re: Chris B]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 6882
Loc: Fresno, CA
These pics were posted by Kurt W on WPSMB:

Quote:
The smoke is definitely coming in and out. I was on the summit of Whitney on Thursday and it was clear. Smoke could be seen from fires to the north and south of us but the skies were clear and blue. That evening smoke came in thick and ashes were falling from the sky. When we woke up Friday morning it remained very smokey.


Looking south from the summit. Smoke in the distance and blue skies above.


Looking NW from the summit. Smoke from the Rough Fire.


Friday morning from Upper Boy Scout Lake.


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#44091 - 08/24/15 09:17 AM Re: Smoke Coverage? [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 6882
Loc: Fresno, CA
Dennis Mattinson, weather forecaster in Independence, called to say the PM10 readings were extremely high, and that smoke from the Rough Fire is funneling right over Kearsarge Pass.

Nobody should be hiking that area at all until the fire is contained. This morning I heard a 7% containment figure.

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#44093 - 08/24/15 09:24 AM Re: Smoke Coverage? [Re: Steve C]
Snacking Bear Offline


Registered: 08/09/11
Posts: 409
Loc: Saugus, CA
Originally Posted By: Steve C
Dennis Mattinson, weather forecaster in Independence, called to say the PM10 readings were extremely high, and that smoke from the Rough Fire is funneling right over Kearsarge Pass.

Nobody should be hiking that area at all until the fire is contained. This morning I heard a 7% containment figure.


As ever Steve is spot on, here's an article. I can see how the smoke just funnels right up Bubbs Creek.

Though the Rough is not as big as the Rocky Fire, but at 50K, growing with 7% this may expand to 100k in such remote and rough terrain (I couldn't resist, sorry).
_________________________
@jjoshuagregory (Twitter & Instagram) for landscape and mountain photo spamming...

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#44094 - 08/24/15 09:30 AM Re: Smoke Coverage? [Re: Snacking Bear]
Snacking Bear Offline


Registered: 08/09/11
Posts: 409
Loc: Saugus, CA
Update: 17% containment as of this morning.
_________________________
@jjoshuagregory (Twitter & Instagram) for landscape and mountain photo spamming...

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#44095 - 08/24/15 10:26 AM Re: Smoke Coverage? [Re: Steve C]
Brent N Offline


Registered: 01/20/11
Posts: 277
Loc: Orange County, CA
Steve, which areas in particular are you recommending against hiking in? Does that include the Whitney Zone?

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#44096 - 08/24/15 10:34 AM Re: Smoke Coverage? [Re: Brent N]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 6882
Loc: Fresno, CA
It is the Kearsarge Pass (Onion Valley) area that people should avoid. The fire is directly down the canyon from Kearsarge. I've seen reports of backpackers being sent out over Kearsarge who had planned on exiting in Kings Canyon / Bubbs Creek. That area of KC (Roads End / Cedar Grove) is closed to public access right now.

The Whitney Zone is affected on and off. For instance, this morning's webcam shows pretty clear skies. But that all depends on the wind direction, so you could go and then encounter rotten conditions.

On the other hand, you might find it very nice. It's a toss up.

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#44097 - 08/24/15 11:30 AM Re: Smoke Coverage? [Re: Steve C]
Brent N Offline


Registered: 01/20/11
Posts: 277
Loc: Orange County, CA
Hmmmm. I have reservations for 9-22. with 17% containment, maybe we'll be ok.

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#44098 - 08/25/15 05:27 AM Re: Smoke Coverage? [Re: Steve C]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 662
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
Latest briefing on the Rough fire:

http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4456/#

Scroll down the briefing report and click on the link to air quality.

The Owens Valley was clearing yesterday with winds from the SW, but as the afternoon progressed, the winds shifted and now it is smoky again. North of Lee Vining the air was relatively clear as I drove to Minden, NV.

Mammoth Lakes is almost invisible...


Edited by Bob West (08/25/15 05:29 AM)

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#44107 - 08/25/15 05:44 PM Re: Smoke Coverage? [Re: Bob West]
John Sims Offline


Registered: 04/20/12
Posts: 490
Loc: Sunnyvale, California
Hiked up to Cloud's Rest today.

No smoke at all. Blue sky.

Staying in Mammoth. Mammoth is now also nearly clear. Some light haze.


Edited by John Sims (08/25/15 05:45 PM)

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#44108 - 08/25/15 09:02 PM Re: Smoke Coverage? [Re: John Sims]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 6882
Loc: Fresno, CA
You're lucky, John. This afternoon, there was yet another giant forest fire thunderhead east of Fresno.

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#44111 - 08/25/15 10:10 PM Re: Smoke Coverage? [Re: John Sims]
RenoFrank Offline


Registered: 08/06/11
Posts: 394
Loc: Reno, NV
Dang, I'm jealous. I had plans to hike Clouds Rest 2 weeks ago but Tioga Road was closed because of a fire. Several in my hiking group (including my wife) have hiked Clouds Rest in the last several weeks.

I plan to go there soon and camp one night at one of those many campgrounds off Tioga road, start early and hike Clouds Rest the next day, and drive back to Reno that night. I figure I can do that on my two days off (Wed & Thur).

Occasionally when my group encounters a solo hiker someone always says they don't want to hike alone. I'm kind of looking forward to it. I notice that John and Steve mostly hike alone. I figure I won't have to wait for anyone. I like short breaks not taking off my backpack. Waiting for others sometimes drives me crazy. But I do enjoy the fun we have as a group.

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