A fire broke out on the north side of McGee Creek in the Buttermilk Boulder area west of Bishop shortly after 1 p.m. Wednesday, trapping several campers behind the fireline.
The Bishop Volunteer Fire Department, U.S. Forest Service the Inyo County Sheriff’s Department and other state, federal and local fire agencies immediately responded to the blaze, but moderate winds and the rugged, sloping hills of the Buttermilk area and a number of unattended camp sites made evacuations and fire suppression efforts a difficult task.
Throughout the afternoon, firefighters struggled to locate and evacuate the numerous campsites located along McGee Creek in the area but many campers could not be accounted for.
Inyo County Sheriff Bill Lutze and members of the California Highway Patrol were escorting the people out that they could locate.
The fire was jumping sporadically up and down slope and had jumped the Buttermilk Road from the south to north at 2:20 p.m.
Firefighters also reported that a camp site near McGee Creek could not be checked for campers or evacuated, as the only way to reach it would be to go directly through the fire.
As of press time Wednesday, it was unclear what caused the fire, how many, if any, campers were still at risk, and how many acres of vegetation had been burned, as crews were still working to contain the fire.
For more information on the fire, see Saturday’s edition of The Inyo Register.