As a result of the Lake Fire, the entire San Gorgonio Wilderness is closed through October 1, 2015. For a copy of the order closing the wilderness click Here. After such a bad fire, the area definitely needs time to heal and recover, and the actual area that burned will likely be closed for much longer. U.S. Forest Service officials have determined the Lake Fire was sparked by human activity. The U.S. Forest Service is still investigating what caused the fire, but officials have ruled out natural causes like lightning. Human-caused could mean intentional, accidental or due to an electrical wire malfunction. Since the Lake Fire was first spotted on June 17, 2015, the Lake Fire has burned 31,359 acres, destroyed one home and three outbuildings and injured six firefighters. Currently the Lake Fire is 98 percent contained, but the last 2 percent is not going to be an easy finish. Remaining pockets of flames are almost impossible for firefighters on the ground to reach. Any visible smoke that occurs is within the containment area and most likely it will take a season-ending event, such as heavy rain or winter snow to fully extinguish the fire.
All Forest Service lands in the area of the fire remain closed to recreation purposes including the day-use areas of Barton Flats Visitor Center, Greyback Amphitheatre, and Jenks Lake Day Use Site. Campgrounds along Highway 38 are expected to re-open today including Barton Flats, San Gorgonio, South Fork, Skyline, Council, Heart Bar, Oso, Lobo, Heart Bar Equestrian, Wildhorse Equestrian, Coon Creek Cabin, Coon Creek Yellow-post Sites, Mission Springs, Green Spot, and Juniper Springs. And, all hiking trails into the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area remain closed, as well as the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) between Whitewater Preserve to Onyx Summit. (Photographs credited to The Desert Sun.)