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As of 5:30 a.m. Sunday (day 4), the acreage consumed remained at 1,906 acres but containment was increased to 78%. Despite progress, officials pushed the blaze's estimated containment time from Sunday to Wednesday.
The three men who started the fireClifford Eugene Henry Jr., Steven Aguirre and Jonathan Carl Jarrellshown in a courtroom artist’s sketch, appeared in federal court on Jan. 22, 2014. (Credit: Bill Robles)
As of about 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 22, (day 7), the fire is 98% contained with 1,952 acres consumed, with a total 299 personnel. Highway 39 is closed again because falling rocks and debris and is projected to be open at 5 p.m. on Jan. 23.
As of Friday evening, January 24 (day 9) the InciWeb page indicates that it was updated about 4:40 pm but shows no changes with the fire at 98% contained, 1,952 acres consumed, with a total 299 personnel. It does not indicate if Highway 39 is reopened yet. These 299 personnel are either totally ineffective in containing the last 2% or someone isn’t giving us updates. It’s frustrating that the forest service does not feel that providing timely information to the public is important. And the Angeles Nation Forest website has no information about the fire or road closures.
According a KCET update at 5:30 p.m., Friday, January 24, Caltrans has extended its deadline for opening San Gabriel Canyon Road (State Route 39) to Sunday. L.A. County has extended its estimated opening date for Glendora Mountain and Glendora Ridges roads to Monday.
As of 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 24 (day 10) the InciWeb page shows no changes with the fire at 98% contained, 1,952 acres, with a total 299 personnel. Glendora Mountain and Glendora Ridge roads are now open.
According to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, U.S. Forest Service officials announced that the Colby Fire was declared 100 percent contained on Friday, January 31. (I could not, however, find any place where the FS communicated that to the general public. There was nothing on the ANF website and as of Feb. 2, InciWeb had not been updated since Jan. 25 and showed the fire at 98% contained. All this is indicative of the Forest Service’s systemic dereliction in communicating to forest users.)
See the InciWeb website for more details: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3766/
The vegetation surrounding Colby Trail in Glendora and Garcia Trail in Azusa was incinerated causing the closure of both trails.
Garcia Trail Closed – Jan. 18, 2014
Colby Trail Closed – Jan. 18, 2014
Update 3-16-14: An official with the Glendora Conservancy said they are hopeful to reopen Colby Trail by May. There is still loose debris falling on the trail. They are also concerned with rogue hikers going off trail and damaging sensitive plant communities and creating soil erosion.
With permission from the conservancy, I was able to hike the closed trail and survey the fire damage. Read it about it in my blog post:
Colby Trail Tree Planting and Hike - March 8, 2014
- Visit the Glendora Community Conservancy to learn more.
- See Conservancy Loss below.
- Visit the my Colby Trail Hike Description at Dan's Hiking Pages for trail updates
Update 2-4-14: The City of Azusa has announced that because of the extensive damage to Garcia Trail and degrading conditions that will continue, L.A. County Fire and Department of Forestry has closed the trail indefinitely. The photos of fire damage to our beloved trail are quite telling. See presentation here: Garcia Trail Update (2-3-14)
See these official links for unfolding information and updates:
- City of Azusa website
- City of Azusa Facebook page
- Azusa Policy Department website
- Azusa Police Department Facebook page
- Photos of trail damage on Azusa PD Facebook
Other social networking sites with discussion regarding Garcia Trail (beware of some misinformed and nonconstructive comments):
1-26-14 - Garcia Trail Damage.
Photo from City of Azusa
1-26-14 - Garcia Trail Damage.
Photo from City of Azusa
The bottom line: It may take years for the mountainsides to be stabilized enough for Garcia Trail to be restored for safe usage.
Meanwhile, here are a couple nearby trials to hike:
- Mt. Bliss via Van Tassel Fire Road (Azusa)
- Mystic Canyon Trail & Lower Monroe Road to Summit 2760 and Summit 3397 (Glendora)
For those who love and will miss Garcia Trail, visit my Garcia to Colby Farewell Tour photo album (12-31-13)
Colby Trail, the namesake of the Colby Fire, is on property owned by the Glendora Community Conservancy, which has held, managed, and stewarded the open space for more than two decades. The fire ravaged the environs surrounding Colby Trail. The losses of wildlife, plant communities, endangered species, and natural resources are immeasurable and uncountable.
Glendora Community Conservancy to learn more.
Visit the my Colby Trail Hike Description at Dan's Hiking Pages for trail updates
Read San Gabriel Valley Tribune Stories:
- Conservation group creating Children’s Forest in Glendora
- Fire Followers: Dazzling display of plants to follow California wildfires
When I turned on the news this morning at about 6:25 my heart sank. “Breaking News: Fire north of Glendora.” The images were horrifying. Wildfires are part of life, but when they occur next door, they invade and alter our reality.
I grab my camera and race outside, hoping maybe the newscast got the wrong city...maybe it's Glendale. Nope. A plume of smoke billows into the predawn sky. The orange glow of flames colors the ridgeline just a few miles east from my house in Azusa. I let out a cry that could wake neighbors. No, this can’t be happening to my mountains! I had just hiked in that area a couple weeks ago.
I wrestled with the thoughts of what my beautiful mountain will look like in months and years to come. These are my mountains, my trails, my backyard! Hiking Garcia Trail or Colby Trail will not be the same for many years. I’ve hiked a lot in burn areas—Curve Fire, Williams Fire, Morris Fire, Station Fire—and I know firsthand the devastating effects of wildfires. Well-meaning people try to console me by saying the fire causes seeds to germinate. That’s like telling a woman who lost a child that she is still fertile and can have more! Not much comfort!
I decide to leave work early and head for home at 2 p.m. My bus ride east on the I-10 provides some good views of the distant mountainside. The huge plume has dissipated into a smoky sky. Little white plumes rise from hot spots. Yellow super scoopers circle overhead but don’t appear to be attacking the fire. The news says 1,700 acres burned so far.
an interview with Rick Chambers from KTLA5.
Read about it in my Garcia Trail to Colby Trail Hike blog post
Visit my Garcia to Colby Farewell Tour photo album (12-31-13)
And people have misconceptions about ecosystems and fire suppression and the balance of nature. I posted a picture on Facebook showing the naked mountainside with this caption: “The environmental loss is horrible. I’m stunned that officials chose to just to let this ‘fuel’ burn.”
A good friend responded by saying: “In my opinion...if smaller fires didn't occasionally burn, then larger and much more damaging ones would take place due to overgrown fuels. Although, this is a tragedy...could it be a blessing as well??
This was my response:
Thanks for trying to find the silver lining. However, this fire is not a blessing at all. It's a tragic loss of beautiful native habit that will take many decades to recover. That the firefighting community uses the term “fuel” like military commanders refer to death of innocent people as collateral damage. But they are people...moms and dads, sons and daughters, people who laugh and cry and dream and worship...gone! We didn’t lose “fuel” and it certainly wasn’t overgrown. We lost a mature native plant community...laurel sumac, toyon, chemise, lemonade berry, bay, coast live oak, sugar bush, coastal sagebrush, brittlebush, yucca, honeysuckle, yerba santa, prickly pear cactus, bush sunflower, hollyleaf cherry, clematis, elderberry...and habitat for bear, mountain lion, bobcat, deer, coyote, fox, rabbit, squirrel, and numerous birds and reptiles. It’s all gone and it’s a horrible tragedy. See my Plants on Garcia Trail to see some of what we've lost.
Read San Gabriel Valley Tribune story by Steve Steve Scauzillo:
Fire Followers: Dazzling display of plants to follow California wildfires
See Trail Descriptions on Dan's Hiking Pages: