Portions of Cleveland National Forest Reopen After Wildfire

The more than 7,000 acres of Cleveland National Forest left charred by the Chariot Fire are beginning to reopen. Today, officials announced that all trails and campgrounds closed by the blaze, including the popular Laguna Mountain Recreation Area, can be used by the public again.

The wildfire began July 6 on the desert floor near the forest's Descanso Ranger District, located in eastern San Diego County. 149 structures were destroyed, most of them at Al Bahr Shrine Camp. "An 87-year-old lodge, a dining hall, more than 100 cabins and numerous outbuildings were consumed," reported U-T San Diego.

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Remaining closed are two areas off Sunrise Highway, noted in the following Forest Service description and map:

Closure Part One
The boundary of part one of the Chariot Fire Closure Area begins at the Big Laguna Trailhead, then continues to the west and south along the southern edge of the Big Laguna Trail to its intersection with the El Prado Campground, then continues east along the north side of the El Prado Campground Road to its intersection with the entrance to the Laguna Campground, then east to the intersection of Laguna Campground road and Sunrise Highway,  then continues north/northwest along the western edge of the Sunrise Highway back to the starting point. 
Closure Part Two
The boundary of part two of the Chariot Fire Closure Area begins at the entrance to the Sierra Club Foster Lodge, then continues southeast ¼ mile along the north side of the Sunset Highway, then continues northeast along the flagged line to its intersection with the Pacific Crest Trail, then continues southwest, along the southeast edge of the Pacific Crest Trail back to the starting point.

The yellow border siginfies areas stilled closed. Part one is on the left, part two on the right.

Update: The following trails and campsites reopened:

Big Laguna Trail
Burnt Rancheria Campground
Desert View Interpretive site and Picnic area
El Prado Group Campground
Garnet Peak Info Site and Trail
Horse Heaven Group Campground
Indian Creek Trail
Kwaaymii Cultural Interpretive Trail
Laguna Campground
Noble Canyon Trailhead and Trail
Pioneer Mail Picnic Site
Wooded Hill Group Campground
Wooded Hill Nature Trail

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About the Author

Zach Behrens is KCET's Director of News, Region and State, working on digital and on-air news products that relate to Southern California and beyond.
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