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Station fire update and the effect on Labor Day weekend plans in Southern California

The charred hillside left by the Station fire north of La Canada (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
The charred hillside left by the Station fire north of La Canada (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

   The sunrise through smoke from the Station fire (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Station fire update:

Heading into the Labor Day weekend, firefighters continued to make progress against the Station fire throughout Thursday and Friday morning. 

  • View latest Station Fire photos

To date the fire has now burned over 230 square miles or about 148,000 acres making it one of biggest wildfires in Southern California history.

Check out more photos of the Station fire

While firefighters have now contained 42% of the blaze, the flames are still burning strongly along the eastern edge through the San Gabriel Wilderness.  The difficult terrain in this section of the national forest makes containment difficult, but given the area's isolation, it's not expected to threaten homes or major structures.  Fire officials also grew cautiously optimistic that the fire would not inflict major damage on the Mt Wilson Observatory.

helicopter drops water on Station fire
   A helicopter drops water on the Station fire (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Fire officials took a step further today and announced that the origin of the fire was arson.  Given the deaths of two firefighters earlier in the week, the massive blaze has now turned into a homicide investigation. Anyone with information about start of the fire should phone the LA Sheriff's Department at 323-573-2387.

The Station fire's effect on Labor Day weekend plans:

Given the current economy, it's expected that many Southern Californians will be staying closer to home for the long Labor Day weekend.  Normally, this would mean a boost in visitors to places like the Angeles National Forest as locals look for cheap ways to get away over the long weekend.

As mentioned in Thursday and Wednesday's posts, many popular campgrounds and trails throughout the eastern section of the Angeles National Forest have now been ravaged by the Station fire.  Continued fire activity also means that the air quality for most of the national forest will remain poor.  Visitors to any open sections of the Angeles National Forest should take extra care to avoid strenuous activity which could trigger health problems because of the surrounding smoke.

Chula Vista campground
  Chula Vista campground in Mt Pinos ranger district

As an alternative to the Angeles National Forest, Southern Californians might consider looking for outdoor recreation activities in the Los Padres National Forest to the North, the San Bernadino National Forest to the east, or the Santa Monica Mountains along the coast between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. All these destinations are approximately two hours or less away from LA.

For those looking to make last minute plans, check out Mt. Pinos in Los Padres National Forest, where there is a first come first serve campground and good opportunities for backpacking, hiking and stargazing.

While firefighters are expected to make progress over the Labor Day weekend, full containment of the Station fire is not expected for at least another week.