Resolved to hike 100 times by 2010

UPDATED: Station Fire Burn Area Map

Posted By on September 5, 2009 in Blog, much ado about nothing | 36 comments

I’ve been pretty depressed about what this fire has done to my mountains. Twenty-one of the last forty-seven hikes have been done in the Angeles National Forest. Of those, seven are in the burn zone. I have created a map using the information provided by InciWeb. I’ll try to update it as more information comes in. Below the map, I have included a few photos I took on the seven hikes within the burn zone. The area might not be the same again for at least a few years, if we’re lucky.

UPDATE: (08/30/09 at 5:00 pm). The Station Fire continues to burn out of control. Overnight, the wildfire wiped out another 15,000 acres bringing the total to 35,200 acres. 1,804 fire fighters have the beast just 5% contained.

UPDATE (08/31/09 at 2:33pm). I have added the estimated burn area for today. The fire has grown 22,398 acres on Sunday and through the night and is now 85,760 acres in size. Governor declared a state of emergency which brought in firefighters from around the country. There are currently 2,575 personnel working to control this fire, but it is only 5% contained. Yesterday’s total burn area is the smaller lighter color within the dark red shape (current burn zone). If map below is not being displayed, click here. Data to create this map was from multiple sources, but mainly from satellite imagery map at wildfiretoday.com.

UPDATE (08/31/09 at 11:33pm). I’ve made modifications to the map below. The earlier versions (now colored in dark red and purple) were “fire perimeters” and not “burn areas”. From what I now understand, fire perimeters are the defensive lines for firefighters. With this information, I have made a more accurate map of what parts of the Angeles National Forest the Station Fire has actually burned. This has caused the size of the area to shrink a bit in areas and expand in other areas. The fire has grown to 105,296 acres, expanding further east and crossing the Angeles Crest Highway near Charlton Flats. It has also expanded northwest towards Bear Canyon. Sunland is also seeing more fire this evening, where a friend took video of 100-foot flames licking the steep hillsides.

UPDATE (09/01/09 at 11:03am). I’ve been using data from GeoMAC (Geospacial Multi-Agency Coordination) to update my Google Map. The most current map is dated 08/31/09 but I did not see this data on their site late last night. So either it is dated incorrectly or it was the condition of the fire yesterday evening. Comparing the current burn area with yesterday’s, it looks like the fire has spread mainly to the east and west, growing to 121,762 acres. The foothills above La Canada-Flintridge, La Crescenta, Acton, Soledad Canyon, Pasadena and Glendale burned last night. I haven’t seen any updates on Mount Wilson, which has a swath of “active burning” red on the GeoMAC image.

UPDATE (09/01/09 at 2:45am). An afternoon update at GeoMAC (Geospacial Multi-Agency Coordination) to update my Google Map. The most current map is dated 09/01 and updated within the early afternoon hours. The fire is spreading rapidly to the west, up to as far as Lake View Terraces, growing to 121,762 acres. Mt Wilson has heavy smoke but no visible flames from the observatory area of the summit. Within the next hour, a DSC_1917 Martin Mars Tanker will be dropping water onto the summit. Enough to “make it rain.” Check out the live feed helicopter footage on CBS News.

UPDATE (09/02/09 at 10:45am). I found a KML Google Earth file distributed by USGS and GeoMAC. The land area seems a little smaller than the Geothermal data I’ve been using to draw my map – especially in the west near Lake View Terraces. The size of the burn area is 140,150. Mt Wilson was spared yesterday, thanks to the water drop by the DSC_1917 Martin Mars Tanker.

UPDATE (09/03/09 at 2:00pm). Added fire line data (fromUSGS and GeoMAC) onto map (dark red). This is the fire line as of 3:27am this morning. The orange outline on the map is yesterday’s fire line. Here is the most recent Geothermal data with a map legend for deciphering the colors. The size of the burn area is 144,743 acres anhttp://www.kolbykirk.com/news/wp-admin/d is 38% contained (as of 1:30pm).

UPDATE (09/03/09 at 2:00pm). Newest addition (09/03) is the fire line (red) created by KML data distribution by USGS – geomac.usgs.gov.

UPDATE (09/05/09 at 2:00pm). Added two new layers to the fire line.  The KML data for both the Sept 4th (9:31am) and the Sept. 5th (6:25am) were distributed by USGS today.  I don’t know why they didn’t post any updates for the last day, but there you go. This will be my last update until Tuesday, Sept 8th.

UPDATE (09/09/09 at 12:09am). This will be my last update until the fire is out. InciWeb has really stepped up their reporting to a whole new level in the last week. Along with their excellent written coverage, they’ve added multiple ways to view the burn area on maps. Thus, I no longer feel the need to make my own maps. I’ll update my map (below) again when the fire is out.

[iframe http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&t=p&msa=0&msid=101611590601077508984.0004725f103c710086686&ll=34.318487,-118.140106&spn=0.283556,0.408554&z=11&output=embed 595 500]

To view larger map, click here.

Hike 2 – Colby Canyon Trail

Looking southwest towards La Canada Flintridge.

Looking southwest towards La Canada Flintridge.

Hike 4 – Mount Lowe

A view to the west from Mt. Lowe Road.

A view to the west from Mt. Lowe Road.

Hike 5 – Lower Arroyo Seco

Fern Canyon

Fern Canyon

Hike 13 – Switzer Falls

Switzer Falls Canyon

Switzer Falls Canyon

Hike 18 – Millard Canyon

Upper Millard Canyon

Upper Millard Canyon

Hike 41 – Haines Canyon (not blogged yet)

Near Sister Elsie Trail looking south

Near Sister Elsie Trail looking south

Hike 43 – Millard Canyon II (not blogged yet)
Millard Canyon

Millard Canyon

Millard Canyon

Millard Canyon


  1. Melanie August 30, 2009

    Well, now that you put it that way, I'm devastated! Those were great hikes!

  2. Kolby August 30, 2009

    Yes, that is an informative map. Thanks for sharing!

  3. tamaraeden August 30, 2009

    Millard! As in Altadena Millard :( I have spent lots of time there, rock hopping and such. Switzer falls and lower Arroyo are a great loss as well, let's hope they somehow make it.

  4. lindak_reporting August 31, 2009

    what about the area around Haines Canyon resevoir- There are all kinds of animals up there- bears included- I am devastated for all these animals whose habitat was being reduced by man's greedy building binges, and now by these fires, whose causes are also tinged with doubt. lindak.reporting

  5. Julia August 31, 2009

    I am with you on this. I can't believe what is happening to our mountains. There a few photos of the Switzer Falls hike on my blog. We go there often. I don't know how or when we'll know if anything is left in the canyons, but I am hoping beyond hope.

  6. wilberfan August 31, 2009

    Amazingly, catastrophically tragic… My late fiance and I spent many beautiful Sundays up in those mountains. Several of the peaks on my One Hundred Peak list are up there. It looks like my absolute favorite campground (Buckhorn) has been spared so far? But who knows where this will end? I've heard the fire is burning East and North–with containment coming AFTER Labor day? (Another full week.) Yikes.

  7. frank m September 1, 2009

    I also feel devastated. I've been hiking and camping in the San Gabriel mountains for over 20 years. I have plenty of fond memories associated with these experiences. The absolute mismanagement of this fire has now taken the source of those memories away. The National Forest Service simply does not have the needed tactics and appropriate philosophy. They consider all of the vegetation “fuel” to be burnt and controlled. The animals are never mentioned in their dialogue. From the perspective of houses and lives lost this fire-fight, so far, seems a success to them. However, if you think of the amount of needed green vegetation and habitat (remember global warming) that has been lost and the thousands (maybe millions) of animals who have died then this is a “Katrina”.

  8. mahernandez September 1, 2009

    I'm so sad because I was just hiking at Switzer falls 06/21/2009
    and I found a homeless cat…I bet the kitten didnt make it :(
    <IMG SRC=”http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2594/3876133395_c70e50e84b.jpg”>

  9. ginadimassa September 2, 2009

    Thank you for these excellent updates. It is tragic and depressing. I know that nature is resilient and their has been tremendous effort to control this fire, but it is hard to watch these mountains burn, given the severity of the conditions. I am a longtime resident of Altadena and have spent some of my happiest days on these trails, they provide solace, serenity and wild, rugged beauty within one of the busiest urban settings – A precious resource for all of us!

  10. wilberfan September 3, 2009

    Such a helpless feeling: the fire is burning East, and is just a couple of miles from two of my favorite spots: Mt. Winston and Buckhorn Campground…

    And to think all this destruction is now believed to be due to arson…

  11. tamaraeden September 4, 2009

    Is there a simple bulleted list of the trails that are no more? Using my books with trails in the San Gabriels and Angels Crest are pointless now. A simple list of each hike or trail would be SO useful.

  12. Leo September 4, 2009


    Good thing Millard campground is not badly damaged. So is Gould Mesa, but I think Fern Canyon and Switzer are probably burnt to the ground. I hope now Chilao will not be badly burnt, as well as the Christian camp(forgot its name) near Sulfur Springs.

  13. Kolby September 4, 2009

    Hi Leo. Thanks for the link. Although it doesn't look like the campground was badly damaged, the article ominously reports that the trail is gone, along with the canyon leading up to the fall. “A nearby trail that runs along the creek has been destroyed. The burned hills have left mounds of dirt sitting in the water, forming muddy pools.” Good news is that, as of last night, Chilao Visitors center is OK. The team in the area were able to save it. The fire did come close, as I've heard reports that portions of the Chilao Flats might be burned. But everything in the higher range is hearsay until the BAER team begins to assess the damage.

  14. Kolby September 4, 2009

    Hi Tamara. Unfortunately, until the fire is extinguished and the Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team is able to enter, we'll have no idea of the extent of the damage. I talked to Judy Noiron, the US Forestry Service supervisor for the San Gabriel Mountains, and she didn't even know the full extent of damage within the burn area. (You should watch the YouTube videos I just posted here:
    http://www.100hikes.com/blog/?p=700). Believe me: Once I know, you will know. I'll post updates on the site.

  15. Kolby September 4, 2009

    Hi Frank. Thank you for your passionate note. Learning that this fire was started by an arsonist has made me furious. I feel your pain with the great destruction this has caused and I wish there was more to be done. Unlike Katrina, however, it seems that the LACFD was ontop of this fire immediately. There are now over 5,000 firefighters on the ground trying to save our forest. I listened to Incident Commander Mike Dietrich, a resident of Asuza, explain at the “town hall” meeting yesterday how difficult it is to save some of the forest from burning due to the steep terrain. He said the fire is going to be put out by men on the ground and when you can't get the firefighters into the deep canyons, the fire is going to burn. Add that to the extremely low humidity and high heat and you have a very serious fire that will be difficult to extinguish. This fire might rage on into mid September, unfortunately.

  16. Harold Nelson September 5, 2009

    I am the architect of the Chilao Visitor Center and am unable to get confirmation that the building has not burned. I am glad to hear that at least as of yesterday it was believed to be OK.

  17. Harold Nelson September 5, 2009

    I am the architect of the Chilao Visitor Center and am unable to get confirmation that the building has not burned. I am glad to hear that at least as of yesterday it was believed to be OK.

  18. Kolby September 5, 2009

    Harold, I talked with Judy Noiron, the US Forestry Service supervisor for the San Gabriel Mountains, on Thursday night and she said she doesn't believe the visitor center was burned. She mentioned that the fire crew were stationed in Chilao (they have a helipad there) so it was well protected.

  19. Harold Nelson September 6, 2009

    Thanks Kolby. I have dreaded this sort of event for years. The site is beautiful but very vulnerable to wild fire. Sounds like it dodged the bullet (barely) this time.

  20. kathyboyett September 6, 2009

    We spend a lot of time camping at Chilao and Buckhorn Campsites. It seems like it is impossible to get a factual answer anywhere if those sites have survived the fire. Does anyone know the latest, up to date report and answer? This is such a sad and tragic loss for nature, the animals that live there, and those that love this beautiful part of Southern California. What a devasting loss!

  21. mariastone September 6, 2009

    We Are saddened too. We also have been unable to get ant real current info on the campsites. I do appreciate having this forum to share our feelings about these mountains. What a great community!! Perhaps if an opportunity arises, we can all roll up our sleeves and rebuild if we can. I know I would. Thanks for this opportunity to share with you all!

  22. melindakier September 6, 2009

    I just saw photos of Deukmajian Park and cried. I am so sickened by all the devastation, all the trees that have burned and the hiking trails destroyed. I wish we could find out about Buckhorn. I am thankful that Placerita Cyn. Nature Center didn't burn. What a diseaster, though!!!

  23. mankeny September 12, 2009

    Hi all
    Im interested in finding out if an old hiking camp has burned below mount wilson

    It is/was called camp sturtevant. It was operated by the methodit church and was used by churches and scouting alike. Any news??

    It was out of Chantry Flats.

    Thanks all for any info


  24. Julia September 14, 2009

    I have a little bit of GOOD NEWS! It looks like at least part of the Switzer Falls hiking trail escaped the fire. There is terrible devastation all around it, but the fact that some of our older-growth forest survived brought tears to my eyes. This is my trail! Read about it here: http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/news/ci_13328806

  25. Danny September 15, 2009

    I am happy to hear that. I thought the whole Switzer would go to ashes.

  26. Name September 15, 2009

    Any news on Buckhorn campground if it's ok?

  27. wilberfan September 16, 2009

    First publicly available video of driving Angeles Crest Hwy after Station Fire? (via LA Times and YouTube): http://ow.ly/pF2H

  28. wilberfan September 19, 2009

    “Basically, it's the entire road that has to be fixed.”

    (From the LA Times today):

    “On another front, two Caltrans crews were alternating 12-hour shifts to fix the 33 miles of Angeles Crest Highway that have been closed because of the fire, from 2.2 miles north of La Cañada Flintridge to just west of Wrightwood.

    It will cost an estimated $12 million and take more than three months to fix the highway, which was heavily damaged by a wildfire that has scorched 160,500 acres, according to Kelly Markham, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Transportation, which maintains the road.

    Four miles’ worth of guard rails must be replaced, since the wooden posts to which their metal beams were attached have burned and the beams are now lying on the ground. Hundreds of road signs burned, and many of the thermoplastic markings dotting the pavement have melted.”

  29. Ralpht1965 September 21, 2009

    Has anyone heard any news about Horse flats campground. I heard Newcomb's Ranch was saved.

  30. haroldnelson September 22, 2009

    I received confirmation from the Forest Service today in the form of a picture that the visitor center I designed for Chilao had escaped the fire.

  31. Kolby September 22, 2009

    That's excellent, Harold! If you would like, I can publish the photo on my blog for people to see. Send me an e-mail if you're interested: kahunna at gmail dot com

  32. haroldnelson September 22, 2009

    I received confirmation from the Forest Service today in the form of a picture that the visitor center I designed for Chilao had escaped the fire.

  33. Kolby September 22, 2009

    That's excellent, Harold! If you would like, I can publish the photo on my blog for people to see. Send me an e-mail if you're interested: kahunna at gmail dot com


  1. FIRE UPDATE | Little Homestead in the City - [...] fire is still raving our beloved San Gabriels not only did it char many a hikers favorite trails and ...
  2. Putting out (information about) the fires « West Coast Grrlie Blather - [...] From Eye Level Pasadena: A link to CBS News on Ustream (As I watch this live feed, I have ...
  3. 100hikes.com » » The Future of 100hikes.com - [...] However, during the day on Sunday, I would get a rush of emotion – a strange primal excitement – ...
  4. 100hikes.com » » 100 Parks - [...] many of us grieve the loss of a large portion of Angeles National Forest due to the Station Fire, ...
  5. STATION FIRE AFTERMATH | Little Homestead in the City - [...] Read more about how the Station Fire completely devastated many of the most popular hikes in the San... [...]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>