Los Padres National Forest officials announced that the entire La Brea Fire area will be open for non-motorized use (hiking, mountain biking and equestrians) in time for the start of rifle hunting season, August 14. The sensitive drainages within last summer’s La Brea Fire area will remain closed to motorized vehicle use until vegetation recovers further.
An emergency closure order for motorized vehicle use remains in effect for La Brea, Pine and Rattlesnake Canyons within the burned area. Sierra Madre Road from California Highway 166 through Bates Canyon Road are open to motorized vehicles – vehicles must remain on the roads. The closure order and map of the closure area can be found on the Los Padres web site, .
The closure is allowing drainages affected by the La Brea Fire to mend. Soils and vegetation remain very fragile in the area and are susceptible to damage by vehicles. Failure to remain on the roads along Sierra Madre Ridge and Bates Canyon will result in the entire area being closed again. Visitors should be careful of hazards that could be present in the burned area, such as falling trees and rocks.
“We are trying to maximize public access to the burned area while protecting sensitive resources. Thus, we opened the entire fire area to non-motorized use. Motorized use is restricted to the main roads around the perimeter. Public patience is requested while vegetation recovers” said Santa Lucia District Ranger Kathleen Phelps. “Because the burned area is more open since the fire and is still in fragile condition, I encourage people to enjoy this area while staying on roads and trails so that the landscape can heal.”
Forest visitors are encouraged to contact the Santa Lucia Ranger District at (805) 925-9538 for more detailed information about this area and for the latest conditions.