Category Archives: wildfire

After the Woolsey Fire: Ladyface from the Backbone Trail

Ladyface, a peak in Agoura Hills, stands above a sea of fog filling the low areas of Malibu Creek State Park.

Ladyface, a popular peak in Agoura Hills, stands above a sea of fog filling the low-lying areas of Malibu Creek State Park.

The photograph is from a section of the Backbone Trail near Saddle Peak. None of the Backbone Trail EAST of Malibu Canyon was burned in the Woolsey Fire.

Here is a 18 second video panorama of the scene.

Related posts: Woolsey Fire Map with Perimeter and Selected Trails, Woolsey Fire Preliminary Burn Severity and Selected Trails

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Woolsey Fire Dozer Line Near Calabasas Peak

Woolsey Fire Dozier Line Near Calabasas Peak

The Woolsey Fire’s eastward progress through the Santa Monica Mountains was stopped a little less than two miles west of this dozer line along Calabasas Peak Mtwy fire road.

The ridge along this fire road and up to Topanga Lookout more or less divides the Santa Monica Mountains range in half.

Related posts: Woolsey Fire Map with Perimeter and Selected Trails, Woolsey Fire Preliminary Burn Severity and Selected Trails

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Woolsey Fire Preliminary Burn Severity and Selected Trails

Google Earth image of a preliminary burn severity map for the Woolsey Fire from NASA Earth Observatory with selected trails added.

The Google Earth image above shows a preliminary burn severity map for the Woolsey Fire from NASA Earth Observatory, as posted by NASA’s Rehabilitation Capability Convergence for Ecosystem Recovery (RECOVER) web site on November 15, 2018. Here is a larger version of the map.

The initial burn severity estimate is based on a Burned Area Reflectance Classification (BARC) derived from satellite data before and after the fire. In the map above the burn severity classes are high (red), moderate (orange) and low (yellow). Note that areas within the fire perimeter that are not included in these classes may still have burned. Also note the fire was still burning when this assessment was made.

GPS tracks of the Backbone Trail and some other trails in the region have been added. Trail and placename locations should be considered approximate.

Related post: Woolsey Fire Map with Perimeter and Selected Trails

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Woolsey Fire Map with Perimeter and Selected Trails

2018 Woolsey Fire Map with Perimeter and Selected Trails

The Google Earth image above shows a recent perimeter for the 2018 Woolsey Fire along with GPS tracks of the Backbone Trail and some other trails in the region. The Hill Fire perimeter and 2013 Springs Fire perimeter (purple area) are also shown. Trail and placename locations should be considered approximate. Here is a larger version of the map.

The perimeter was was downloaded from GEOMAC and timestamped November 18, 2018 at 5:59 a.m. If the timestamp of the perimeter of the displayed map doesn’t match, try refreshing/reloading this page. The perimeter has been refined and the acreage is a slightly less than previously specified.

As of November 21, 2018 6:11 p.m., the Cal Fire Incident Page for the Woolsey Fire indicated that the fire had burned 96,949 acres and was 100% contained. The fire started on November 8, 2018 2:24 p.m.

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailby feather

After the Station Fire: Back to Bear Canyon

Bigcone Douglas-fir burned in the 2009 Station Fire. September 1, 2018.

It’s been nine years since the Station Fire burned 160,577 acres in Angeles National Forest. The Red Box – Bear Canyon – Gabrielino loop is a long time favorite adventure run that I’ve enjoyed doing many years before and after that 2009 fire.

The loop was the first I did when the area reopened in May 2011. The trails were in poor shape — overgrown and damaged from flash floods. The notorious fire-follower Poodle-dog bush had flourished in the wake of the fire and was particularly bad along the Gabrielino Trail between Switzer’s and Red Box. Thinking I was “immune” to the plant, I brazenly plowed through it, and as a result spent several inflamed nights trying to sleep in a reclining chair.

Each year Bear Canyon and upper Arroyo Seco recover a little more. Poodle-dog bush is in decline and in many areas nearing the end of its life-cycle. The chaparral, bay trees and oaks are all recovering; and the bigcone Douglas-firs that survived the fire have become more fully-foliaged.

Bear Canyon from the upper Bear Canyon Trail.
Bear Canyon from the upper Bear Canyon Trail. Click for larger image.

This year Bear Canyon was a little drier than last. The creek was a trickle, disappearing in the sand in some areas and creating small pools in others. The path in the upper part of the canyon, above Bear Canyon Camp, was better defined, but still tricky to follow in some spots.

With the dry conditions, most of the poison oak had already turned red. It was easy to spot, but difficult to avoid. The “stinging nettle” creek crossing higher in the canyon wasn’t as overgrown as last year, but I still managed to brush against a plant or two.

Bear Canyon ends at Arroyo Seco, downstream of Switzer Falls. After turning upstream on the Bear Canyon Trail, I hadn’t run far when I encountered a couple of mountain bikers. They asked me, “is this the trail to JPL?”

This wasn’t the first time that I’d encountered misplaced riders or hikers on this section of trail. Some get misplaced looking for the falls and others mistakenly follow the Bear Canyon Trail down into Arroyo Seco instead of continuing high in the canyon on the Gabrielino Trail. Because of the completion of the restoration of the Gabrielino Trail there were a few more riders on the trail than usual.

Here are a few photos taken along the way.

Some related posts: Bear Canyon Loop: If the Poison Oak Doesn’t Get You, the Stinging Nettle Will; After the Station Fire: Red Box – Bear Canyon – Gabrieleno Loop; After the Station Fire: Contact Dermatitis from Turricula parryi – Poodle-dog Bush

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Cottonwood Pass – New Army Pass Loop 2018

Upper Rock Creek Basin.

The smoke in the Owens Valley was as thick as PCH fog, and I wondered if it would extend into the higher elevations of the Sierra.

From Whitney Portal Road I couldn’t see any of the ridges on Lone Pine Peak and the visibility at the bottom of Horseshoe Meadow Road wasn’t much better. Gradually, as I drove up one long switchback and then another, the smoke thinned. At Horseshoe Meadow the sky in the direction of the crest was a decent Sierra blue, but smoke still spoiled the views down the canyons and over the valley.

As usual, I parked at the equestrian and overflow parking area for the New Army Pass Trail. From here, the start of the Cottonwood Pass Trail is a 5 minute walk SSW through the trees and downhill. I prefer to do the loop clockwise, going over Cottonwood Pass first, and then New Army Pass later in the run. Late season, I’ve also done the loop using (old) Army Pass, but that is more of a mountaineer’s route and is often blocked by snow and ice.

New Army Pass is fairly high — 12,300′ — and the east side is quite steep near the top. Depending on the year, snow and ice can be an issue, even in mid-summer. When doing the loop clockwise, confirm in advance that New Army Pass will be passable with your level of experience and the equipment you’ll be carrying.

For more details see the related posts below.

Here are a few photos from the run.

Some related posts: Cottonwood Pass – New Army Pass Loop 2013, Cottonwood – Army Pass Loop, Cottonwood Pass – New Army Pass Loop 2011

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailby feather