Two pack mule teams help fight Sierra wildfire

Karen Hack of the Klamath National Forest leads a mule team fighting fires in the Ansel Adams Wilderness area of the Inyo National Forest. U.S. Forest Service photo.
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INYO NATIONAL FOREST, Calif. (KOLO)-- Two pack mule teams are helping in the Lions Fire in the Ansel Adams Wilderness west of Mammoth Lakes. As of Saturday morning, the Lions Fire grew to 3,300 acres and is 7 percent contained.

The five- to 10-mule strings can make trips of up to 16 miles, round trip, with 150 pounds of gear or more, the U.S. Forest Service said in a press release.

The mules carry tools to the fire, clothing, medical supplies and food to firefighter spike camps near the fires.

“The mules are fed a diet of weed free hay plus grains and alfalfa cubes to keep up their weight and stamina for the arduous work,” the Forest Service reported.

The Forest Service said it has used mules for a century, but using them in fighting wildfires is new.

Lightning started the Lions Fire June 11 at about noon. About 349 personnel are assigned to the fire.