A 25-year-old Bishop man was arrested Wednesday evening after admitting to a CalFIRE arson investigator and an Inyo County Sheriff’s deputy to starting the Rattlesnake Fire near Independence Wednesday afternoon, according to the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office.

The suspect, Leon Eddy, was located in the area at approximately 6:17 p.m. when he reportedly told the investigator and deputy that he had started the blaze.

Eddy was booked into the Inyo County Jail on a felony arson charge. Bail has been set at $100,000.

The Inyo County Sheriff’s Dispatch shortly after 2 p.m. Wednesday received information of a brush fire above Independence, north-east of Lower Grays Meadow Campground. Fire personnel responded and the Sheriff’s Office initiated an evacuation order for Lower and Upper Grays Meadow campgrounds and Seven Pines area.

The fire is active on CALFIRE San Bernadino’s Inyo and Mono unit responsibility lands. However, it is burning close to Inyo National Forest land and recreation sites. Strong winds Wednesday afternoon began pushing the blaze towards the Lower and Upper Grays Meadow campgrounds as well as Seven Pines, which prompted the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office to evacuate them. 

The Inyo National Forest reported Wednesday evening that the Rattlesnake fire was estimated at around 25 acres. Crews, engines, dozers and three retardant drops have helped the fire to slow its progress.

There is 0% containment at this time but low temperatures in the 30s Wednesday night, along with winds slowing after midnight look to give firefighters a chance to increase containment. 

The Inyo National Forest is in Unified Command with CALFIRE and the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office on this incident. Notifications will be made once it is safe to lift the evacuations, according to the agencies.

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