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Inyo County fire grows to 2,800 acres; evacuation orders still in place

UPDATED: Mon., Feb. 19, 2018, 7:20 p.m.

This Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, photo taken by the  California Highway Patrol and released by the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office shows smoke rising from wildfires near Bishop, Calif. (Associated Press)
This Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018, photo taken by the California Highway Patrol and released by the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office shows smoke rising from wildfires near Bishop, Calif. (Associated Press)

Evacuation orders were still in effect Monday morning as firefighters tried to gain ground on a wind-fueled, 2,800-acre blaze burning in rural Inyo County.

About 400 firefighters worked to contain the so-called Pleasant fire, which broke out Sunday afternoon near the Pleasant Valley Reservoir and Highway 395. But Monday’s forecast – specifically, the potential for stronger winds – has fire officials keeping a wary eye on the day ahead.

“We are anticipating more wind activity, so that does slow some progress down,” said Cathey Mattingly, an information officer for CalFire.

The winds were also a “contributing factor” in keeping the evacuation orders – which affected about 200 people Sunday night – in place, Mattingly said.

The fire exploded quickly Sunday, growing from 100 acres to 900 in a few hours and forcing the shutdown of Highway 6, a major traffic artery to Nevada. Sheriff’s deputies went door-to-door in some neighborhoods, urging residents to leave.

As of Monday morning, Mattingly said, there were no reports that the fire had destroyed any structures. One of the areas threatened is home to the Laws Railroad Museum, a historic railroad station built in the 1880s.

The cause of the blaze remains under investigation.


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