Mammoth Mountain Closed Due to Extreme Fire Danger
8th September 2020 | Jane Peel, Chief Reporter
Last modified on May 20th, 2021
The ski resort in California has been forced to shut down its summer operations as a massive wildfire burns out of control nearby.
The US Forest Service has announced extensive closures to eight National Forests and campgrounds across the state.
They include the Inyo National Forest in the Eastern Sierra, where Mammoth Mountain is situated.
“In compliance with this order, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area will be suspending summer operations including the Bike Park, Scenic Gondola rides, Via Ferrata and Camp High Sierra at the end of the day today,” the resort announced on Monday.
“We will remain closed until the order is lifted and conditions are safe to resume.”
The closure took effect at 5pm local time on Monday 7th September and will be reviewed daily.
Update from Mammoth,15th September: “Due to U.S. Forest Service mandated closures and continued fire danger, Mammoth Mountain summer activities will remained closed for the remainder of the summer (original closing date was Sep 20).”
Local officials in Mono County have warned residents to have a personal evacuation plan, and a ‘go-bag’ ready.
“The wildfire situation throughout California is dangerous and must be taken seriously. Existing fires are displaying extreme fire behavior, new fire starts are likely, weather conditions are worsening, and we simply do not have enough resources to fully fight and contain every fire,” said Randy Moore, Regional Forester for the USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region.
“We are bringing every resource to bear nationally and internationally to fight these fires, but until conditions improve, and we are confident that National Forest visitors can recreate safely, the priority is always to protect the public and our firefighters.
“With these extreme conditions, these temporary actions will help us do both.”
One of the biggest of the California wildfires – some commentators are calling it unprecedented – is the Creek Fire.
It is burning about 20 miles south west of Mammoth as the crow flies and moving in all directions.
This video of the blaze was shared by A J Fox from KSEE24 News:
Just 24 hours earlier it was said that Mammoth Mountain and the Mammoth Lakes area itself was not at risk from the rapidly growing Creek Fire which started on Friday evening.
We reported on the blaze in News In Brief (Monday 7th September).
“An example of extreme fire behavior is the Creek Fire on the Sierra National Forest which began on Friday Sep 4th and grew rapidly on Saturday, Sep 5th,” a news release from the US Forest Service, issued on Monday 7th, says.
“The fire made a 15-mile run in a single day and burned 36,000 acres, prompting evacuations and life saving measures.
“The California National Guard evacuated at least 200 people from Wagner Mammoth Pool Campground and assessed them for medical needs.”
Smoke in the Mammoth Lakes area is causing a major problem with the air quality “very unhealthy”, according to the Mammoth Lakes Fire Department.
The fire is continuing to move towards Mammoth up the San Joaquin River drainage – the same path that winter storms take to bring snow to Mammoth Mountain.
CalFire – the California Department Of Forestry and Fire Protection – reported on Monday night that the Creek Fire now covers more than 135,000 acres, none of which has been contained.
It said the fire continued to grow in all directions and more than 1,000 firefighters have been deployed.
A total of 65 structures have been destroyed by the blaze with 5,296 threatened.
Some mountain communities are under mandatory evacuation orders and roads have been closed.