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Wildfire closes Highway 395 near Bishop; homes threatened and residents evacuated

March 18, 2011 | 10:45 pm

Firefighters are battling a 2,000-acre wildfire southwest of Big Pine, prompting the closure of state Highway 395 between Bishop and Independence, authorities said.

The fire broke out around 3:19 p.m. Friday, and by 8:30 p.m. it had jumped Highway 395 near Big Pine. More than 200 firefighters have been called to the blaze, according to the Cal Fire website.

About 300 homes are threatened, and mandatory evacuations are under way for everything west of Main Street in Big Pine and the Night Manor, Rolling Green and Terrace neighborhoods, officials said. Voluntary evacuations are in effect on the eastern side of 395 near Big Pine.

Strong winds are fanning the flames, and there was zero containment as of 8:30 p.m. Evacuation centers have been set up in Bishop and Big Pine, authorities said. 

Highway 395 is a heavily-traveled route this time of year for skiers and boarders heading for Mammoth Mountain. Travelers are advised to check with Caltrans for the latest on road closures.

-- Catherine Saillant