Angeles National Forest to raise fire danger to high

Dry brush lines the trails at Eaton Canyon Natural Area near Altadena.
(Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)

The Angeles National Forest is raising its fire danger level from moderate to high on Friday because of the virtual absence of rain so far this year and forest lands full of tall, dry grasses.

Nathan Judy, a spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service, said the designation is an effort to raise public awareness about just how vulnerable the forest is to a potentially devastating and fast-spreading wildfire.

While the raised fire danger level does not mean new campfire restrictions, Judy said visitors are urged to be especially careful, including making sure that they do not park their vehicles on tall grasses. He noted that last year’s 4,192-acre Williams fire was caused by a car parked on top of dry vegetation.


Though dry lightning has sparked some wildfires, virtually all fires in the Angeles National Forest are related to human activity, Judy said.

“In the Angeles, over 90% of wildfires are caused by human factors,” he said, adding that some of those factors are people carelessly tossing a cigarette or not minding a campfire, as well as arson.

Judy said the vegetation in the forest is becoming increasingly dry, raising concerns. Last weekend, a fire started in the foothills above Monrovia and caused the evacuation of about 200 homes. Fire crews battled successfully to keep it from spreading into the Angeles National Forest’s dry chaparral.

Southern California is going through one of its driest years since 1877. In downtown L.A., only about five inches of rain has fallen since July 1, keeping the city on track for recording its fourth-driest year since records have been kept, according to the National Weather Service.


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