Evacuation orders lifted as crews begin to control 4,100-acre wildfire near Bishop

An aerial view of the Airport fire burning east of Bishop in the Owens Valley.
An aerial view of the Airport fire burning east of Bishop in the Owens Valley on Wednesday.
(California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection)

Firefighters began to gain control of a wind-driven wildfire burning east of Bishop in the Owens Valley, which grew to 4,136 acres by Thursday night, officials said.

The Airport fire broke out late Wednesday afternoon and continued to burn south overnight, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

With steady winds of about 10 to 15 mph out of the northwest, evacuation orders and road closures remained in place for much of the day.


Cal Fire officials lifted all evacuation orders and the closure of Highway 168 east of Highway 395 as of 6 p.m. as crews stopped the fire’s forward progress north of Highway 168.

As of 7 p.m., the fire was 20% contained, according to Cal Fire.

Dozens of structures were threatened, but there have been no reports of homes destroyed or damaged, officials said. There have also been no reports of injuries.

Warm Springs Road east of Highway 395 remained closed to traffic Thursday night, according to Cal Fire. Approximately 690 personnel were battling the blaze.

“Firefighters continue to construct containment lines and mop up on the north end of the fire,” officials said in a 7 p.m. update.

Authorities expect to have the fire fully contained on Feb. 24, according to Cal Fire.

Driven by wind, the Airport fire was the largest of three wildfires to have broken out so far in 2022, according to Cal Fire statistics.


The Emerald fire, which ignited in Laguna Beach on Feb. 9, burned 154 acres amid unseasonable heat and Santa Ana winds. The Colorado fire started on Jan. 21 in Big Sur and burned 687 acres after high winds blew embers from a pile-burning operation onto nearby brush.

By this time last year, Cal Fire had recorded 10 wildfires, but none burned more than 700 acres.