Companion blog: Adventures In Stoving

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Updated Lake Fire Closure Map

This post contains information regarding Forest Closure orders in and around the San Gorgonio Wilderness due to the 2015 Lake Fire.

UPDATES as of 02 May 2017:  The PCT is open through the Lake Fire Closure area, however, overnight camping is prohibited.
High Creek Falls, just off the Vivian Creek Trail in the San Gorgonio Wilderness.
This area is now OPEN to hiking as of 7/16/2015
The Forest Service has issued a map, showing the closure area (see below) and what "recreational opportunities" are currently open (open trails are shown with red dashed lines).  The map is a little hard to read, and it's a little hard to tell what's in and what's out of the closure area.
Official USFS Lake Fire Closure Area map as of 16 July 2015.  The red dashed lines are trails that are open.
Because the above map from the USFS is a little hard to read, I've gone ahead and drawn out the boundaries of the updated Lake Fire closure area on a topo map (immediately below), or you can open the updated Lake Fire closure area map in a separate window.  Hopefully, with my map, you can tell which of your favorite peaks and places are in vs. out of the fire closure.
Note that the boundaries I have drawn are approximate.  I say approximate because I've drawn the boundaries free hand just based on the USFS map  I haven't followed any detailed written legal descriptions of the closure.  That said, I think the boundaries I've drawn convey the sense of the closure.  If you're on a trail I've shown outside the closure, I don't think you have to worry about getting hassled by the authorities.  I have however placed the text of the closure order in Appendix II, below, if there is any question as to what is or is not within the closure area.

While I wish that the Lake Fire had never occurred, I hail this good news from the Forest Service and salute this common sense approach.  There simply was no valid reason to keep the southern portions of the San Gorgonio Wilderness closed; the fire never touched them.

I also greatly appreciate that the Forest Service has made a special "carve out" inside the closure boundaries such that San Gorgonio Mountain, one of the most popular peaks in Southern California, is now open to hikers.

Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) hikers take note:  The PCT is open throughout the entire closure area but you may not camp over night within the Lake Fire closure area.  The closure extends from one mile west of the San Gorgonio Wilderness boundary, roughly mile 237, to Onyx Summit, roughly mile 252.  See map in Appendix I, below.

Errata:  Be aware that the lower section of the Falls Creek Trail, 1E04, is shown as open on the official USFS map, shown above.  This is an error.  The trail was closed about 50 years ago during the 1960's because of private property issues.  The lower part of the trail was destroyed and no longer exists when a series of houses were built.  If you go to the Momyer Creek Trailhead looking for the lower Falls Creek Trail, you simply won't find it.  The USFS map is correct in that the trail is outside the closure area but incorrect inasmuch as it implies that the lower Falls Creek Trail exists in the position shown as an open, official trail.

HJ

Appendix I - A Second Lake Fire Closure Order Map - What is Closed.
This USFS map is the opposite of the first map.  This map shows trails and roads that are closed.
Note however that the PCT is open throughout it's length for hiking.  

Appendix II - Text of the Revised Lake Fire Closure Order

SAN BERNARDINO NATIONAL FOREST
Forest Order No.  05-12-51-15-04
Lake Fire Closure

Pursuant to 16 USC 551 and 36 CFR 261.50(a) and (b), to provide for public safety and protect natural resources, the following acts are prohibited within the Mountaintop and Front Country Ranger Districts of the San Bernardino National Forest.  This Order is effective from July 16, 2015 through July 15, 2016.
1.  Going into or being upon National Forest System lands within the Lake Fire Closure Area.  The Lake Fire Closure Area boundary begins at the intersection of the Santa Ana River Trail (Forest Trail No. 2E03) and State Highway (SH) 38, then continues east along SH 38 to its intersection with Jenks Lake Road, then continues west along the south side of Jenks Lake Road to its intersection with the east fork of Barton’s Creek, then continues south by southeast along the south and east side of Forest Trail Nos. 1E16 and 1E06 to its intersection with Forest Trail No. 1E04, then continues northeast to east along the north side of Forest Trail No. 1E04 to its intersection with Forest Trail No 1W07, then continues east along the north side of Forest Trail No 1W07 to its intersection with San Gogornio Mountain, then continues southeast west of  Forest Trail No 1W07 around     San Gogornio Peak, then continues south along the section line between Sections 12 and 13, Township 1 South, Range 1 East, San Bernardino Base and Meridian (SBB&M), and Sections 7 and 18, Township 1 South, Range 2 East, SBB&M, then continues east along the southern section line of Sections 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13; in Township 1 South, Range 2 East, MDB&M, to its intersection with the Forest boundary, then continues north and east along the Forest Boundary to its intersection with the southern section line of Section 34, Township 2 North, Range 3 East, SBB&M, then continues northwest along Heartbreak Ridge to its intersection with the western section line of Section 32, Township 2 North, Range 3 East, SBB&M, then continues south along the western section line of Section 32, Township 2 North, Range 3 East, and Section 5, Township 1 North, Range 3 East, SBB&M, to its intersection with Onyx Peak, then continues west along the northern section line of Section 7, Township 1 North, Range 3 East, SBB&M, to its intersection with the west side of the Pacific Crest Trail, then continues in a southerly and southwestern direction along the west side of the Pacific Crest Trail to its intersection with Forest Road No. 1N37, then continues northwesterly on the north side of Forest Road No. 1N37 to the intersection with the Santa Ana River Trail, then continues westerly along the north side of the Santa Ana River Trail back to the starting point, as shown on the attached map.  36 CFR 261.53(e).
2.  Being on any National Forest System trail within the Lake Fire Closure Area, as shown on the attached map.  36 CFR 261.55(a).
3.  Being on any National Forest System road within the Lake Fire Closure Area, as shown on the attached map.  36 CFR 261.54(e).
Pursuant to 36 CFR 261.50(e), the following persons are exempt from this Order:
1.   Any Federal, State or local officer, or member of an organized rescue or fire fighting force in the performance of an official duty.
2.   Persons with a permit from the Forest Service specifically authorizing the otherwise prohibited act or omission.
3.      Owners or lessees of private land within the Lake Fire Closure Area, to the extent necessary to gain access to their land.
These prohibitions are in addition to the general prohibitions in 36 CFR Part 261, Subpart A.
A violation of these prohibitions is punishable by a fine of not more than $5000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization or imprisonment for not more than six months, or both 16 USC 551 and 18 USC 3559, 3571, and 3581.
Executed in San Bernardino, California, this 16th day of July, 2015
                             
/s/ JODY NOIRON
Forest Supervisor
San Bernardino National Forest

5 comments:

  1. Sounds like work has started clearing on the PCT section affected by the lake fire: http://www.sgwa.org/content/sgwa-trail-crew-work-pct, the article states that it would be open 'in a few weeks' at time of writing (4/13/16). Any idea when they might start clearing the other trails?

    I was hoping to do a 2-nighter to bag San B and San G via San Bernardino divide trail, but looks like I will end up camping at Barton flats and doing day hikes up to both.

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  2. There is definitely work going on through the SGWA on the PCT section that goes through the Lake Fire Closure. The SGWA trail crews have not been allowed into other closure areas.

    I was getting hopeful for awhile that they might re-open the PCT in May, but that now looks like that won't happen. Maybe June or July. Maybe. The Forest Service apparently has a lot of protocols they have to go through.

    HJ

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  3. http://sgwa.org/2016/07/updated-wilderness-closure-order/

    The Wilderness areas closed due to the Lake Fire will remain closed until July 2017 per the Forest Service. An exception has been made for long-distance hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail.
    The updated order may be found here: Closure Order. Revised Closure Map

    Note that East Flats dispersed campground, and the Santa Ana River trail south of Highway 38 are no longer part of the closed area.

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