A fire of unknown cause is burning near the historic Scotty's Castle in Death Valley National Park, and part of the park near the castle has been closed to visitors while crews try to get the fire under control, hopefully by the end of the week.
The fire, which was sparked around 4:00 P.M. Tuesday, is burning in an area of heavy brush in a canyon north of the Castle in the Grapevine Mountains.
With the 24,000-acre Springs Fire fully controlled, officials in the Santa Monica Mountains are beginning restoration, making sure habitat and recreational opportunities get back to normal. On Friday, volunteers will take to Rancho Sierra Vista, removing tracks made by fire trucks so hikers don't mistake them for official trails and trample on sensitive soils and habitat. Then on Saturday, they will remove jointed goatgrass, a highly invasive weed abut the burn area that could now easily take hold in the burn area.
Miles of pathways throughout the Santa Monica Mountains will reopen after full control of a wildfire that ripped through 24,000 acres earlier this month. The National Park Service said Circle X Ranch and parts of Rancho Sierra Vista will be open to hiking beginning Tuesday morning.
Trails west of Yerba Buena Road like Mishe Mokwa to the top of Sandstone Peak in Circle X were not touched by the Springs Fire, but were closed as a precaution shortly after it ignited May 2. They, including the Backbone Trail to the Point Mugu State Park boundary, will reopen without restrictions.
But that's not the case for all of them.
A mountain lion was killed by state officials last night after it attacked an off-duty ranger in Redwood National and State Parks. The ranger, accompanied by his dog, was fishing around sunset at Crescent Beach. At some point, he noticed the canine being chased by a mountain lion. It then began to approach.
This year's early and intense fire season made an unfortunate visit to the Santa Monica Mountains last week, charring 24,000 acres, mostly in parks. Although the Springs Fire is nearly contained, it will be longer until open spaces and trails begin to open.
Much of the public outreach to the National Park Service and California State Parks has been to ask how they can help the 14,000 acres of burned parkland. To that, the two agencies this week announced a list of "three things you can do to help nature recover."
No big announcement was made, but the paved road in the White Mountains to Schulman Grove, along with the unpaved section leading beyond to the turnoff for Patriarch Grove is now open. Those are the two main groves for taking in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, home to some of the most gnarled and photogenic trees you may ever see. If that's not impressive enough, it's also where the oldest known tree in the world can be found, along with many of its elderly brethren.
White Mountain Road closes seasonally for winter, but as the story has been throughout this spring, California mountain arteries that traditionally see a May or June opening had their gates unlocked early. John Louth, who manages the 29,000-acre pine forest calls it an "exceptionally early" opening.
With the two groves accessible and the visitor center at Schulman Grove opening May 18, here's what you need to know:
San Bernardino County public health officials want to talk to a man who had a bat land on his neck at the Kelso Depot visitor center in the Mojave Preserve on April 30. The bat has since tested positive for rabies, and health officials are trying to locate the man to make sure he gets appropriate medical attention.
This is urban hiking at its best: two days, 35 miles, 15 Los Angeles neighborhoods, some 80 public staircases, more than two dozen parks, and -- most importantly -- making new connections and friends. Yes, it's that time of the year to carve our some weekend time for The Big Parade.
Now in its fifth year, the event that has helped popularize L.A.'s network of public staircases leftover from an era when streetcars outnumbered plain ol' cars comes back for two days on May 18 and 19.
[Update, 8:25 p.m., May 4: Trails east of Yerba Buena Road, including the Grotto Trail at Circle X, will reopen Sunday morning. Areas west, such as the Mishe Mowka to Sandstone Peak will stay closed. The fire's size remains at 28,000 acres, but containment has increased to 56 percent.]
[Update, 12:15 p.m., May 4: As of this morning, the fire remained at 28,000 acres, but containment increased to 30 percent. Full containment is expected on Monday.]
A wildfire that has quickly spread within the western Santa Monica Mountains forced the closure of trails and park areas today. The Springs Fire, named after its starting point off the 101 Freeway at Camarillo Springs Road, had charred 28,000 acres in less than 48 hours, as of 10 p.m. Friday. Crews set containment at 20 percent.
Driving along the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, you might think there are only a handful of beaches to choose from. That's an easy conclusion to arrive at, considering all the pricey real estate lining the coast, sometimes accompanied with official looking signs "prohibiting" beach access. But don't let all of that fool you. California's coast is public, and Malibu is no exception.
Take the Malibu coast as a whole and you've got about 27 miles. Seven are easily accessed via the traditional beaches flocked to by the summertime crowds: Leo Carillo, Zuma, Surfrider, and so on. The remaining 20 are all lined by private development, making access no easy feat. But all of that is going to change.