Hikers stranded, cars burn at trailhead

A wildfire burning just east of Kings Canyon National Park has closed several recreational trails and required the helicopter evacuation of stranded backcountry hikers.

As of Monday morning, the Taboose Fire had burned 10,500 acres (16 square miles), the incident report from Inyo National Forest said. It was 10 percent contained.

The fire started Wednesday of an unknown cause 8 miles south of the town of Big Pine, on Highway 395. On Saturday night, high winds accelerated its spread to the west and north, from sagebrush high desert to conifer forests on the Sierra’s eastern slope.

On Sunday, a helicopter belonging to Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks was used to evacuate campers who had hiked to Red Lake, a mile east of the park border. Four vehicles were destroyed at the Red Lake trailhead.

Evacuation orders have been issued for Baxter Ranch and Big Pine Canyon, including Glacier Lodge and Bernasconi Ranch, a science education camp and retreat center. The emergency shelter is at the fairgrounds in Bishop.

Closures as of Monday:

  • Tinemaha Campground
  • Red Lake Trail
  • Taboose Creek Trail
  • Birch Creek Trail
  • Tinemaha Road
  • Taboose Creek Road
  •  McMurry Meadows Road

The communities of Aberdeen and Birch Creek were under evacuation warnings, and a public meeting was held Monday afternoon in Big Pine to update residents about the fire.

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