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.