The lighting-caused Cow Fire is burning remotely in the Golden Trout Wilderness on the Inyo National Forest. The wildfire is being managed as a suppression fire with a confine and contain strategy. Firefighters have been successful in reinforcing natural barriers to confine and suppress the fire in a safe manner, with minimal impact to the wilderness. The fire has grown to 1,975 acres and crews have secured 30 percent containment.
There will no long be regular updates on the incident unless there are significant changes to report. The public is encouraged to avoid the fire area. Post-fire hazardous such as fire weakened trees and burning stump holes may be present.
Minimal smoke may be visible from the Cow Fire until the area receives significant rainfall. Firefighters will continue to monitor the fire to ensure it stays within control lines. Containment will steadily increase as crews further secure control lines by identifying and extinguishing sources of heat along the fire perimeter.
The ecosystem within the Cow Fire footprint will benefit from the low-intensity fire effects observed on the landscape. Lightning-caused wildfires have a natural role to play in Eastern Sierra forest ecosystems. Burned materials recycle nutrients back into the soil which enriches it and stimulates vegetation growth. New grasses, shrubs and trees replenish and grow stronger while old growth stands become more resilient. Wildlife habitats are created and an increase in food becomes available for animals to forage. The hazardous accumulation of logs and overgrown surface fuels on the forest floor are reduced which diminishes the risk of severe wildfires in the future. Heat from fire opens the strong resin which holds seeds inside of the serotinous cones of Lodgepole Pine, allowing the species to reproduce.