San Gabriel Valley Tribune

San Gabriel Valley Tribune
Article Published: Friday, September 24, 2004 - 7:45:47 PM PST

High fire danger closes Forest
Many recreational areas to be off-limits
By Sonya Geis, Staff Writer

ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST -- About 80 percent of the 656,000-acre Angeles National Forest, including some of the most popular recreation areas near Pasadena, will close Monday because of extreme danger of wildfire, officials said.

Chantry Flat near Arcadia, Millard Canyon above Altadena, Upper West Fork of the San Gabriel River near Azusa, and Clear Creek above La Canada Flintridge are among the affected areas.

"We're trying to avoid a repeat of last year,' Forest Supervisor Jody Noiron said in a statement released by the U.S. Forest Service.

Fires during the 2003 Southern California season burned more than 750,000 acres, destroyed 3,710 homes and killed 24 people. The Angeles Forest was closed for 11 days.

Hikers, campers and picnickers will not be allowed into the closed recreation areas until significant rainfall reduces the risk of wildfire, even if temperatures drop, officials said.

State highways and county roads, however, will remain open. The Angeles Crest Highway and San Gabriel Canyon Road will be open to commuters and people accessing businesses along those roads.

Several popular recreation areas will also remain open. Most of San Gabriel Canyon, Pyramid Lake and the Mount Baldy area in San Antonio Canyon have less dangerous vegetation conditions and are easier to evacuate, so they also will stay open.

For business owners in the forest, even a forest closure that doesn't directly affect their location can be bad news.

Deborah Cavanaugh, owner of Burro Canyon Shooting Park, a public shooting range near San Gabriel Canyon Road, said her business lost about $40,000 during forest restrictions last year, even though none of the roads to her business ever closed.

"People can still come up here, you just can't stop and lollygag along the way,' she said.

Restrictions on campfires, cooking stoves and smoking have been in place in the Angeles National Forest since July and will remain in effect in open areas.


Sonya Geis can be reached at (626) 578-6300, Ext. 4496, or by e-mail at sonya.geis@sgvn.com

Copyright 2004 San Gabriel Valley Tribune
Los Angeles Newspaper Group