Mt. Wilson Fire Recap –October 17-26, 2017

At approximately 4am on Tuesday October 17th, a forest fire was reported below the Mt. Wilson Observatory. As fire crews were battling the blaze, the Altadena Mountain Rescue Team was called upon to evacuate hikers, campers and residents in the path of the fire.

Approximately 30 hunters, hikers and campers were instructed to leave the areas of Eaton Canyon, Mt. Wilson Toll Road, Henniger Flats, Spruce Grove, Sturtevant, Chantry Flats, Santa Anita Canyon and the surrounding trails. This specific operation concluded at 2pm.

On Wednesday October 18th, the Altadena Mountain Rescue Team was requested to assist Montrose Search and Rescue in the search for a missing person in the area of the Mt. Wilson Observatory. The missing person’s vehicle was located in an area believed to be near the starting point of the brush fire.

Rescue teams searched the east face of the mountain, locating a body over the side of the road in the burn area. At the time, the extent of damage prevented a positive identification of the remains. It was later confirmed that the body was that of the 18-year-old-man reported missing by his family on October 18th.

By the evening of Thursday October 19th, the Mt. Wilson Fire was 50% contained. However, a strong Santa Ana wind event was forecast to develop over the weekend. USFS and L.A. County fire were preparing an emergency action plan to activate Altadena and Montrose to assist with evacuations if necessary. While the possibility of evacuations was highly unlikely, all parties involved wanted to be sure there was a proper plan in place.

On Friday October 20th, the U.S. Forest Service issued closures for the areas impacted by the brush fire, including many popular hiking trails, roads, and campgrounds.

On Saturday October 21st, AMRT was again requested to patrol the front range of the Angeles National Forest, as it had been reported several hikers were in the closure area. Any hikers that were found to be in the closed area were warned and asked to leave.

Crews would continue to battle the Mt. Wilson fire, with 70% containment as of October 26th. The closure order was also lifted, as it was determined that containment was sufficient to allow use of the impacted trails, road and campgrounds. 

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Overnight search for missing mountain biker - 7-29-2017

On Saturday July 29th, just after 10:00PM, the Altadena Mountain Rescue Team responded to a call to assist Montrose Search and Rescue to locate a missing mountain biker in the area of Switzer Campground. Crews searched Switzer Falls, Brown Mountain and Arroyo Seco Canyon. Due to the large search area, and cloud cover that prevented the utilization of helicopters to aid in the search, Sierra Madre Search and Rescue was also called in to assist.

At approximately 3:30AM, the mountain biker was located in Arroyo Seco Canyon. The 44 year old male residing in Santa Monica had run out of water and lost sight of the trail because of overgrown brush. Rescue team members began hiking the victim out of the canyon, reaching their vehicles at 6:30AM. The uninjured victim was driven to his parents residence in La Canada. This rescue operation concluded at 8:00AM Sunday morning.

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Call to rescue two hikers turns into a K9 rescue - June 19, 2017

On Monday June 19th, at 10:53PM, The Altadena Mountain Rescue Team responded to a call for two hikers on the side of a cliff in Eaton Canyon off the Mount Wilson Toll Road. After making contact with the victims, it was discovered that they were safe, but their dog was the one stranded on a cliff approximately 20 feet over the side.

The dogs owner, a 17 year old female residing in El Monte, was hiking in the area with her four legged companion, a 7 month old Labrador named Bruno. She had stopped momentarily for some water, briefly turning her back on the dog. It was at that point that he disappeared. After searching for an hour, she heard the dogs faint cries over the side of the trail. He was located on a small cliff, high above canyon bottom. After failed attempts to rescue the dog on her own, she left and returned with her older brother. When they had not returned home as expected, a friend called to report them missing and provided a mobile phone number to contact them directly. 

Now on scene, the Altadena Mountain Rescue Team utilized a winch to lower a rescuer down the steep hillside to the awaiting K9. Once secured into a harness, the rescuer and dog were safely hoisted to the road above. 

The dog was reuinted with it's owner, and all three victims were drive by AMRT to their vehicle. 

Bruno was lucky to have survived this ordeal without injury. Had he not landed on the small ledge, he could have fallen 300 feet to the rocky canyon bottom. Upon spotting the rescuer coming down towards him, his cries ceased and he began wagging his tail in excitement. The picture below is just moments before Bruno was reuinted with his owner. 

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Hiker rescued 400 feet above canyon bottom - June 15, 2017

On June 15, just after 2:00PM, The Altadena Mountain Rescue Team was activated for the rescue of a female hiker stranded on a cliff in Eaton Canyon, in the Angeles National Forest. The hiker called 911 but was unable to provide details as to her location other than stating that she “climbed up the side of a mountain in Eaton Canyon”. The hiker was able to send photographs of her location and team members used those to determine her position. A crew began to climb to her location, approximately 400 feet above canyon bottom atop a steep ridge line. The hiker was not injured and was lowered to canyon bottom with a team member’s assistance. The hiker, a 22 year old female resident of Bell Gardens was not on any marked trail. Once safely down, she was escorted to her vehicle near the Eaton Canyon Nature Center. This incident concluded at 6:00PM.

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Lost Hikers' Rescued from Tom Sloan Saddle - June 5, 2017

On Monday June 5th, 2017, just before 8:00PM the Altadena Mountain Rescue Team was activated for the search for two hikers in the area of Switzer Falls, in the Angeles National Forest. The two hikers had called the Altadena Sheriff's Station and stated they were on a three hour hike and become lost. The hikers, a 23 year old male residing in West Hills and 24 y/o male residing in Winnetka were able to send a text message with their location. AMRT members plotted the hikers’ location to be on Tom Sloan Saddle, approximately 3/4 of a mile off the Mt. Lowe Fire Road.


When rescuers reached the hikers they said they were part of a four person hiking group, and had become separated from their two friends they were hiking with, and the location of the friends was not known. The first two hikers were given water, and were able to hike out to the rescue vehicles on their own. The rescued hikers’ were medically cleared by rescue team members and were driven to Altadena Sheriff’s Station. Within thirty minutes of locating the first two hikers, cell phone contact was made the remaining two hikers, a 25 year old male and a 20 year old female both residing in El Monte. The second pair of hikers were not lost and able to hike out of Switzer Falls on their own. All the hikers were not injured and were released just after midnight on June 6th.

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