7 Sep 2009, 9:57pm
Latest Fire News
by admin

L.A.’s nature haven, reduced to wasteland

Residents mourn the loss of trails, campgrounds, picnic areas and lookout towers in Angeles National Forest. The Station fire has burned about a quarter of the forest, closing it indefinitely.

By Joe Mozingo, LA Times, September 6, 2023 [here]

The relentless Station fire has scoured nearly 242 square miles of the Angeles National Forest, burning through not just picnic areas and campgrounds, but the raw, solitary beauty that has long been a refuge for a sprawling city.

Ridge after ridge is a ghostly gray, laid bare of vegetation from the plunging foothill canyons to the Mojave Desert. Only scattered islands of trees are un-charred — in the deepest draws and in remote, rocky cornices on a few high ridges.

“What I saw was a pretty complete burn,” said U.S. Forest Service spokesman Stanton Florea.

The 154,000 acres burned as of Saturday constitute about a quarter of the national forest.

The area’s proximity to the urban heart of Los Angeles — and its easy access via the Angeles Crest Highway and dozens of trails switchbacking out of the foothills — makes it one of the most heavily used parts of a forest visited by 3 million to 5 million people every year.

“This is the playground of L.A.,” Florea said. “More than 70% of the open space in L.A. County is in the Angeles National Forest.”

The Station fire, the largest in the modern history of Los Angeles County, has been devastating on many levels, most notably claiming the lives of two firefighters and destroying 76 homes. Authorities said the cause was arson and have launched a homicide investigation.

With 49% containment Saturday, fire officials said they had controlled the last hot spots on the western edge, including Little Tujunga and Pacoima canyons.

But the battle wore on in the east, the fire belching out yet another ominous smoke plume as it burned into the roadless San Gabriel Wilderness Area, where bighorn sheep sometimes roam on exposed ridges up to 8,000 feet high, less than 25 miles from the downtown skyscrapers.

Ground crews cut fire lines in the remote area, and a DC-10 dropped retardant on the flame front, officials said. By nightfall, the fire had burned northeast and was five to eight miles from the town of Juniper Hills about 20 miles south of Palmdale. But no evacuations were ordered Saturday. … [more]

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