California wildfire spurs evacuations in remote Owens Valley

February 17, 2022 GMT

BISHOP, Calif. (AP) — Evacuations were ordered after a wildfire broke out Wednesday near a remote California airport and spread swiftly through dry brush.

The blaze erupted near Eastern Sierra Regional Airport just outside the town of Bishop in the Owens Valley, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire.

Winds around 20 miles an hour (32 kph) drove the flames south through the valley toward the town of Big Pine. The blaze charred about 1,800 acres (728 hectares) acres of brush with no containment.

The Owens Valley Radio Observatory and the White Mountain Research Center were among the structures threatened, Cal Fire said on Twitter.

Bishop, population 3,800, is about 15 miles (24 kilometers) north of Big Pine, home to about 1,700 people in Inyo County.

The cause of the fire wasn’t immediately known.