McNally Smoke 8/1/02 - Trona to Big Pine

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Posted by David A. Wright on August 02, 2002 at 00:52:02:

In Reply to: McNally Fire posted by LeRoy Johnson on July 31, 2002 at 10:03:01:

Left this evening my job in Trona for my home in Big Pine (7pm - 9:30pm)

Trona cleared this afternoon to near normal visibility. I was very relieved, I have emphysema. It has been a hard week at work.

Crossing into Panamint Valley, the southern half of the valley clear, the north looked smoky. Stopped at the borrow pit in the mid valley and changed out of my work clothes into comfy shorts and t-shirt. For the ten minutes I was there, there was noticible clearing. The evening sunlight on the Panamint its usual loveliness. There was smoke in the sky to the west mixed with some cumulous clouds, but landscape clear. Remained that way while climbing above Panamint Springs.

Passing the Darwin turnoff and into Centenniel Flats, there was a wall of smoke crossing the Coso Range north to south. The Sierra invisible. Hit the smoke wall where CA190 hits the wash at the lower end of the flats. Had the windows and sunroof open and enjoying the pleasant temps (I always climb the grade from Panamint Springs with the AC off) but had to slam everything shut and turn on the AC onto recirculate and still smelled smoke.

Crossing through the cut and into Owens Valley, visibility about a mile. Inyo Range only visible to Cerro Gordo Peak, area near Dolomite and Swansea invisible. I could not see the lights of Crystal Geyser bottling plant at Olancha from CA136.

It was nearly dark when I got to Lone Pine, but the visibility seemed to improve a bit. I could see the Alabama Hills at about Dolomite Loop Road, but not the Sierra. Stopped at the racks in front of the Dow Villa for an Inyo Register and a bite to eat at Carl's Jr. and the smoke was rather pungent.

North of Independence, the sky was just light enough to silohuette the Sierra crest. I could not smell smoke by then, so opened the sunroof and the vents back to fresh air and didn't smell any smoke the rest of the way back home.

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