Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Aftermath of the Chariot Fire in the Laguna Mountains

I took a drive along the Sunrise Highway today, to observe the damage from the Chariot Fire, which started on July 7. In general, most of the forest in the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area is still intact and unburned. The worst damage occurred on the northern edge of the forest, and in the chaparral to the east of Sunrise Highway.

Driving south on the Sunrise Highway, the first signs of the burn occur just after entering the Laguna Mountain Recreation Area. The burn was confined to the east side of the road at this point. The west side of the road was burned in the Pines Fire in 2002, so has had over ten years of recovery time.

The patchiness of the burn in the chaparral.

The beginnings of the pine forest. This is a view of the east side of Sunrise Highway, but the fire jumped the road in this area, slightly south of the previous photo's location. There was a lot of mist here from a mass of moisture that moved into the area today.

Partially burned pine.

The west side of the Sunrise Highway, north of the Al Bahr Shrine Camp.

The worst hit of the camps and retreats along this stretch. 

Al Bahr Shrine Camp. Green, unburned forest is visible in the background here.

Some of the damage at the Al Bahr Shrine Camp.

Just past the Al Bahr Shrine Camp (heading south) and across from the Foster Lodge, is the entrance to these campgrounds and hiking areas. As shown, there was no access, so I could not see how this spot fared in the fire. 

Just south of the Horse Heaven Campground, which is just south of the Laguna/El Prado Campgrounds shown in the previous photo, the fire ended, at least as far as what was visible from the Sunrise Highway.

Some typical forest south of the Horse Heaven Campground, green and alive!


  1. Was the big log cabin at the Al Bahr Shrine Camp lost? What about Foster Lodge? How about the viewing deck across the road from the Shrine Camp? Thanks in advance from PA.

    1. I believe the Foster Lodge itself didn't burn, but one Sierra Club cabin did. A lot of buildings at the Shriner Camp did burn, but not 100 percent sure about their big one. The viewing deck and placards looked perfect - untouched!

  2. Robyn, Thank you for the time and consideration you took in posting the sad, but appreciated photos. Really appreciate it.

  3. Not too bad. And necessary for the health of the forest and even more so the chaparral.