Wind Damage >> Tree Damage Cleanup Hints From Wind

The winds that blew throughout the state Wednesday night brought down approximately 300-400 trees in the Mammoth Lakes Basin. Most of the trees were located in the vicinity of the Mammoth Lakes Pack Station. Many of the uprooted trees have not completely fallen to the ground, but rather are leaning on other trees or Tree Damage Cleanup Hints From Wind other blowdown. 

Due to this hazardous situation, and the fact that the winds are still blowing, the Forest Service has temporarily closed off portions of the area with yellow "Restricted Area” tape and Tree Damage Cleanup Hints From Wind closure signs. At this time the Forest Service is highly discouraging pedestrian traffic in the Lakes Basin. 

Unfortunately high winds are predicted for the next several days, so until they subside the Forest Service cannot safely go into the Lakes Basin to do a full assessment of the damage, and Tree Damage Cleanup Hints From Wind begin to clean it up. Forest Service engineering crews and equipment will be made available next week to begin the clean-up work once it is safe to go into the area, weather permitting. 

At this time damage assessments are being conducted throughout various areas of the Inyo National Forest hit hard by the high winds. The Forest Service encourages the public to report observations of damaged property, trees across roads or trails, or Tree Damage Cleanup Hints From Wind downed utility lines. 

It is important to stay clear of areas where it appears damage has occurred and to report it to the Forest Service as soon as possible. Forest Service crews are working to fall hazards in this campground. Coldwater Creek and Heart Lake Trailheads have over 100 trees down, Tree Damage Cleanup Hints From Wind with restrooms at these trailheads receiving minor damage. 

Many trees fell in other areas in the Lakes Basin, including along the backside of Lake Mary, in the Lake George Campground, and near the Lake Maime outlet. Most roads in the Lakes Basin have been cleared and Tree Damage Cleanup Hints From Wind are ready for spring snow removal, however campground openings for the summer of 2012 may be delayed until hazard trees can be fallen and removed. 

The number of down trees past the trailheads and into the wilderness is unknown at this time. Reds Meadow Valley – An enormous number of trees have fallen throughout the Reds Meadow Valley, Tree Damage Cleanup Hints From Wind many of them in the 2-3 foot diameter range, with some 4 feet or over. 

Over 100 trees fell across the Reds Meadow Road and the full extent of the road damage is currently being assessed. Structures at Reds Meadow Resort, Reds Meadow Campground, Devils Postpile National Monument, and Tree Damage Cleanup Hints From Wind Agnew Meadows Campground were hit by trees and damaged. 

All campgrounds, trails, and trailheads have downed or partially downed trees that need to be removed. Species of downed trees vary, but it seems that most downed trees are red and Tree Damage Cleanup Hints From Wind white fir. There are a few areas of lodgepole blowdown lower in the valley in campgrounds. Many of the trees have fallen on steep slopes and present logistical and safety challenges. 

Mammoth Mountain Ski Area worked with Forest Service staff to clear a path down the Reds Meadow Road to facilitate access for cleanup efforts and to ensure the ability of snow-cats to rescue lost skiers and Tree Damage Cleanup Hints From Wind snowboarders. 

Mammoth Mountain, the Forest Service, the Town of Mammoth Lakes, and Tree Damage Cleanup Hints From Wind the National Park Service are all working together to clear roadways to minimize interference with spring snow removal operations. The Town of Mammoth Lakes is providing assistance with heavy equipment on days that Forest Service engineering crews must use their equipment elsewhere. 

The number of down and hazardous trees present has prevented the Forest Service from entering some of the campgrounds and recreation sites. Assessments continue and Tree Damage Cleanup Hints From Wind Forest Service crews will be taking advantage of the weather window to clear secondary roads and gather information that will help determine how to best deal with the large volume of downed trees. 

Given the extent of damage and the number of trees that need to be removed, there is a high probability that the spring opening of the Reds Meadow Road and Reds and Agnew Valley Campgrounds, trails, and Tree Damage Cleanup Hints From Wind day use facilities will be delayed. The winter closure of the Reds Road is currently in place at the Mammoth Mountain Inn. 

However, the road and valley remain open to visitors wanting to hike in, but use is strongly discouraged at this time given the hazards that exist and Tree Damage Cleanup Hints From Wind the cleanup efforts that are ongoing. Many hazards will persist through the winter and winter visitors are strongly encouraged to consider the hazards in the area and use extreme caution. 

Whitney Portal - The Whitney Portal Area, including the Mount Whitney Trailhead, suffered damage due to numerous trees that have fallen or Tree Damage Cleanup Hints From Wind been weakened by the wind. Final damage totals continue to be tallied as crews are able to clear and safely enter hazardous areas. To date it is calculated that over 20-30 trees were downed or affected by the storm, possibly more. 

No observed damage to the Whitney Portal Summer Home tract has been reported. Cleanup efforts are now focused on removing downed and Tree Damage Cleanup Hints From Wind hazardous trees affecting the developed recreation area that is currently being used or that will be used this winter. 

As weather allows, Tree Damage Cleanup Hints From Wind additional cleanup efforts will commence in developed recreation sites used during spring and summer months, such as campgrounds and trailheads. The public is advised against visiting the Whitney Portal Area while cleanup efforts are in progress. The possible hazard of falling trees and/or falling branches in that area is very real. 

Some areas have been temporarily posted "closed” with caution or warning tape, or Tree Damage Cleanup Hints From Wind with signs. It is illegal to enter these posted areas. The Portal Road is closed at this time of year by the Inyo County Road Department. What was with these winds? 

While the Sierra Nevada forests are accustomed to strong winds, Tree Damage Cleanup Hints From Wind the November 30 wind storm blew from the north steadfast and strong. New weather instruments at the top of Mammoth Mountain were unable to record gusts past 150 mph, which were numerous. 

The National Weather Service used several area weather stations to calculate that gusts on the top of Mammoth Mountain exceeded 180 mph and wind speeds did not drop below 120 mph for over three hours. Wind storms of this magnitude do occur in the Sierra Nevada on a somewhat regular basis, Tree Damage Cleanup Hints From Wind but very rarely do they come from the north. 

The trees in this area have grown and adapted to fighting strong westerly winds. Inspection of the root systems of many of the trees that were blown over on November 30 reveals larger, thicker and Tree Damage Cleanup Hints From Wind more numerous roots on the south, southwest, west, and northwest sides of the trees. 

Roots on the north to southeast sides of the trees are fewer and thinner. The unusual direction and magnitude of this wind event overwhelmed the root system of many trees, Tree Damage Cleanup Hints From Wind resulting in widespread blow down.

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