Archive for September, 2020

Air quality improved from last night….Update on the Fire from the Chief…….Weather Outlook…

A message from Frank Frievalt Fire Chief, Mammoth Lakes Fire Protection District

The Quick Facts:

  • The Creek Fire is the closest fire to Mammoth Lakes and is the source of the majority of the smoke impacts.
  • There is no current or projected evacuation order for the Town of Mammoth Lakes at this time.
  • Based on the information we have, the fire’s “edge” is about 19 miles from town. A previous social media post indicated that spotting occurred 15 miles from town; however, this was incorrect.
  • There is an evacuation order within Madera County that includes the Reds Meadow area, but it is a massive “zone” which includes the town of Oakhurst. I have been in touch with Sheriff Braun to see if we can get some better granularity on that.
  • We will see dense smoke from this fire as long as prevailing SW winds are present.  If you have sensitivity to smoke, know that these conditions may persist for some time.
  • You should continue to stay situationally aware of the weather and the fire through the various links we are providing on our page.
  • While the fire has a long way to travel here, and must cross some significant barriers, it has already displayed extreme fire behavior and we are giving it our full and complete attention.  I have personally been in Reds Meadows multiple times over the past 72 hours to maintain awareness and stay in touch with the public and private operations in that area.
  • We are actively working with our fire and law enforcement cooperators to create several layers of decision points for various actions, up to and including evacuations.
  • If, over the next few days, conditions on the ground pass our decision points, early notification will be issued through Mono County Code Red Alert system, and also through a program that will send a text to your cell phone if it is connecting to a cell tower in the impacted area.
  • The Town of Mammoth Lakes public information officer will be providing relevant information, similar to the way winter storm, red flag, and other weather emergencies are communicated. Information will be updated frequently regarding the Creek Fire on the Town Website under the News Flash section on the homepage and shared throughout the Eastern Sierra via Public Information Officer communication channels.

While we will attempt to provide an elevated level of information on social media while the Creek Fire is impacting us, please use links to direct authoritative sources below for the most accurate and up to date information.

Important Links:


Air Quality has improved quite a bit this morning from last evenings dystopian event. The PM 10 Count was as high as 1818 . This mornings  PM 10 was below 200.   Not perfect but not nearly as bad as last night.  Winds will be light the next few days.

The upper high will shift SE the next few days. This may actually improve the air quality tonight into Saturday. A light NE flow will develop and this may actually inhibit the transport of smoke through the pass to some extent.  The winds are expected to be NE to about 2 or 3 knots at 800MB. So very little help but well take what we can get..  Over the following days Saturdays winds will continue for the ENE then SSE with the upper center over NW Nevada. Again these changes in the wind direction are accompanied by a flow of air that is pretty light,  so don’t expect miracles.

The west flank of the Omega Block which is currently cut off, opens by Sunday and provides us with a light increase of SW flow later in the day and night. The upper jet does remain to our north, over Oregon. However, the upper flow out of the southwest strengthens during mid week (Wednesday into Thursday).  More details on that next week….


Let hope for the best!!…………..  🙂

Rumors of Fire in Reds Meadow put to bed as drift smoke from Creek Fire moves east…..A Dense Smoke Advisory is in effect for Mono County…..

7:30pm:    Air quality is off the chart;  at 7:30pm air now reported the PM10 count was 1818;  the PM 2.5 was 826. These readings are probably historic for this area.  Stay indoors, do not go outside as air quality is very hazardous this evening..

Update regarding fires distance to Mammoth Lakes.   Fire Chief Frank Frievalt of the Mammoth Lakes Fire Department, indicated in a web briefing this evening that the Creek Fire was actually 19 miles from Mammoth. This is a correction to an earlier comment below.
Rumors of a near by fire got folks in Mammoth very concerned late yesterday and this morning, chatting about plans to evacuate etc.  Web Cams atop Mammoth Mt yesterday picked up on drift smoke from the Creek Fire created quite the stir.   The fact of the matter is, there is no fire in Back of Mammoth Mt, just drift smoke from the SSW. No need for concern.  A Forest Service related plane investigated that site and found no fire.  Please stop the rumors!!

From: Schweizer, Debra A -FS
Date: Wed, Sep 9, 2020, 5:22 PM
Subject: Notice: Smoke Report at Reds Meadow is drift smoke from Creek Fire


Good afternoon:

The Inyo National Forest received a report of smoke in the Reds Meadow area this afternoon.

Inyo National Forest fire engines and Town of Mammoth Lakes Fire Department responded.

Two engines have/ are  patrolling the Reds Meadow Valley and have been unable to detect a new start. Additionally, helicopters flew the area searching for a new plume and air attack has also traced the smoke to drift smoke from the Creek Fire. This is due to the shift in prevailing winds and transport patterns that are bringing smoke up the San Joaquin drainage and into the Eastern Sierra.  We should anticipate that smoke will be moving into the Eastern Sierra under a more typical transport pattern.

Nonetheless, because of the seriousness of the fire situation in California, firefighters will be patrolling this area into the evening.

Comment:  I believe that the fires of past years to our west and south, that crested smoke that we all complained about, have done much to create fire breaks from future fires.  I would imagine that we have now have some good protection in many areas to our west.

Nevertheless… is a good idea to be prepared for any emergency, earthquake, fire or??.  The fire is some 15 miles away, there is always some chance that it could become a problem for the residents of Mammoth Lakes if the weather conditions becomes severe enough. That would take stronger dry winds from the Southwest which are not forecasted anytime soon through this weekend. There is the chance that they may develop the middle of next week. Well see…..



We have had a pattern change that is favorable for smoke transport through the eastern sierra over the days to come.   Higher heights will also allow for some warming as well with 70s expected this weekend and temps will depend upon the amount of smoke in the area.  Lows at night will moderate from the 30s of recent mornings to the 40 this weekend.




A trough of low pressure will increase southwest flow later this weekend into early next week. With further deepening of this trough toward mid week next week.  That may be of concern….Again…well see….


Dr Howard and the Dweebs……:-)




Record Smashing Heat Wave on this holiday weekend for California….Clearing up misconceptions about Mammoth Lakes temperatures….

Sunday 3:40PM September 6th.

For documentation, excerpt from LOX discussion:


EPIC Heat Event:

The ingredients for this unprecedented heat wave were perfect today, with morning soundings showing a warm layer of 96 to 102 deg from about 1600-3200 feet, LAX-DAG gradient were significantly offshore to the N and E and continued offshore into the afternoon (at 21Z LAX-DAG was -1.5 mb and LAX-BFL was -2.7 mb), and 1000-500 mb thicknesses of 590-592 dm, which are probably some of the highest ever for the region. Overall, hi temps today will wind up in the 110-122 degree range for the valleys and lower mtns, and generally in the 100-116 deg range for the inland coastal areas. These highs are 15-30 deg or more above normal.


Of mention….the Valleys of San Gabriel and San Fernando highs today were warmer than the lower deserts of Coachella Valley….EPIC!


I have been hearing about the extreme high temperatures reported by the media here in Mammoth Lakes. They are incorrect. I would like to give some information so that one can determine actual highs and lows to better prepare for the days ahead during anytime of the year.

The Mammoth Airport is the source of the high and low temperatures in the Mammoth Area for periodicals like new papers, TV and other sources. The AP elevation is about 7000 feet which is lower than Mammoth. . Mammoth is about 8000 feet. At the normal rate of cooling per thousand feet, (Lapes Rate), would suggest that Mammoth is significantly cooler during free air conditions, (Summer days).  In winter, the differences are even greater, as strong temperature inversions  especially in the winter,  can result in temps 15 to 30 degrees difference where by the AP is cooler. ,  The Mammoth AP is an unreliable source for the temperatures for the Town of Mammoth anytime of the year.

So what can one do?  First of all, the National Weather Service does put out a temperature forecast for the Town of Mammoth. (bookmark this link)

Scroll to the bottom and you will find Mammoth Lakes forecast temps from the NWS.   They are very accurate, not perfect but very good.  Unfortunately, unless you know where to look, you will not find the actual high and low temps readily available for Mammoth.  (Very Sad)

I use a RAWs site that is very near the Forest Service office in town. Why? Because that area used to be the official Mammoth Lakes reporting site. It was used for climatic data for years. The daily reporting was accomplished by diligent members of Forest Service. They no longer report on a reliable bases.

In a moment I am going to give you all, the site to get actual high and low temperatures for the Town of Mammoth Lakes. I believe that this data is within 1 degree of true.

Today, the 4th of September, the high temperature at the Mammoth Lakes Airport was 91 degrees. That is what was reported for the Mammoth Area. NOT TRUE!!

The actual high in Mammoth was 85.3  As you can see, that is a huge difference at this altitude.   Do not use the Mammoth AP for Mammoth Lakes temperatures.

Here is a better source for the Town of Mammoth Temperature’s.

Dr Howard and the Dweebs……………………….