Extremely Hazardous Air Quality Conditions continue throughout Mono County…..Cold Front approaching Mono County Thursday…..All eyes are on the Weather!

  1. If you weren’t able to tune in to last night’s community presentation about the Creek Fire, you can view it here: https://www.facebook.com/townofmammothlakes/videos/685327858759647
  2. Its been reported by other media sources that the Creek Fire has burned over 220,000 acres.
  3. Great Basin Monitoring had extremely hazardous air quality conditions for Mammoth the past few days. It appears that best air quality is around the noon hour. See:  https://www.gbuapcd.org/cgi-bin/tabularViewer?siteName=AirVision/Mammoth%20Lakes
  4. For up to date information on the Creek Fire, go online to:  https://on.mono.ca.gov/creekfire



Although our air-mass remains unseasonably warm, little in the way of anomalous warmth is reaching the surface in many areas of Mono County. The reason? Smoke. Smoke has extensively limited he incoming solar radiation. Areas under thick smoke, especially the Sierra Nevada are running more than 5 degrees cooler than forecasted.  The smoke will provide for hazy skies once again today across much of
our region.  Light winds will prevail until the ridge of high pressure weakens and shifts eastward, or by Thursday when a low pressure system begins to moves inland over the Pacific
Northwest.  This pattern change will usher in the first fall air of the season. Temperatures are expected to be 5 to 10 degrees cooler through the weekend.

Of concern to everyone, are the winds that are expected to develop Thursday into Friday. According to the NWS,  there appears to be two critical time frames for winds. They are expected to be during the afternoons primarily and last for some 3 to 6 hours each. The strongest winds according to the models are expected Friday with a bit more westerly direction.  They could gust upwards to  40 mph. Winds will diminish Friday night.

Of note, I have heard from reliable sources, that there is a large area of Granite between the fire and Mammoth Lakes. It is hoped that this area of granite acts as a barrier to help mitigate or slow down the effects of the fire.

Other Thoughts:

In speaking with a fireman earlier today, I has asked him questions like, how can one prevent flying embers from starting fires on my property.  Well,  he told me that we are all supposed to create a defensible space around our dwelling. If that has been done, then here are a couple of other thoughts.  If you burn with wood, and wood is stacked on a deck, there are fire resistant tarps that one can purchase and cover a wood pile with.  Also, be aware of vents coming out of a home. It is known that embers can fly into vents, and catch fire in an attic.

Dr Howard and the Dweebs………………….:-)



Zephyr Breezes to transport more smoke…..Troughing this week increases SW flow……Dry weather the next 7 days….

Once again smoke moved into our area from the SW with resulting poor air quality.  The advancing cloud of smoke from the Creek Fire, seen by many was the leading edge of a late afternoon zephyr that brought hazardous air quality to our immediate area. PM 10 counts were well over 600 parts per million.  The process is pretty straight forward.  The fire is burning some 18 to 19 miles to our SW.  The diurnal heating of the deserts provides for lower pressure to our east.  with higher pressure to the west, pressure gradient sets up drawing the smoky air into the greater Mammoth Area. Expect a repeat of the same today, so get your outdoor activities done early as the smoke will ride the Mono Zephyr into Mammoth once again, later this afternoon.

3 to 5 day outlook:

The upper high over Nevada will break down over the next few days allowing for an increase of SW flow through the pass. This will provide for both, a stronger Zephyr and one that is likely to begin earlier in the day.  The Breeziest days look to be this Tuesday and especially Thursday next week.  Needless to say, more critical fire weather conditions are expected next week. High temps will be in the low to mid 70s, cooling to the 60s by Thursday or Friday. Night time temps in the 30s and 40s next week.

Sunday PM Update

The National Weather Service did mention in their fire weather discussion AFD Today about the potential for a widespread critical condition event sometime during the Thursday/Friday timeframe of this week. That it was still early and things could change. The forecaster cited that the overall timing of the gusty southwest winds could change but for the most part it looks to be windy due to more upper-level support rather than just the thermal gradient of a typical zephyr.



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!!…………..  🙂