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Springs fire reaches popular trails in Santa Monica Mountains

May 03, 2013|By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
  • An aerial view of the Springs fire burning in the Santa Monica Mountains between Malibu and Newbury Park on Friday.
An aerial view of the Springs fire burning in the Santa Monica Mountains… (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles…)

A popular hiking and mountain bicycling route that follows a 10-mile course from Newbury Park to the ocean and a hiking trail known for its impressive stand of California native grasses were in the path of the Springs fire Friday, though the extent of the damage isn't yet known.

Firefighters contending with shifting winds continued to fight the massive blaze Friday. Point Mugu State Park and parts of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area remained closed due to the fire.

The Sycamore Canyon Trail that follows a tree-lined route from the inland valley to the Pacific Ocean was burned in part.

"It burned Sycamore Canyon just south of Danielson Ranch," Michael Wilson, fire communication and education specialist for the National Park Service, said Friday. "It crossed Sycamore and headed south and east." The landmark ranch house sits about halfway along the trail.

Trails in La Jolla Canyon where native grasses can be shoulder high in spring also were in the burn area, and flames reached the back of Sycamore Canyon Campground near Pacific Coast Highway, Wilson said. The campground, which has 58 tent and RV spaces, was evacuated Thursday.

Farther north and east, Circle X Ranch, Sandstone Peak and the Mishe Mokwa Trail, as well as the Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa Visitor Center, were unscathed so far, Wilson said. Cheeseboro/Palo Comado Canyon park land north of the 101 Freeway has been closed as a precaution.

Wilson said it was too early to know when trails might reopen once the fire is put out.

Firefighters are hoping to get a break in the weather. Santa Ana winds are supposed to subside as early as Friday evening, with a drop in temperature predicted from a low-pressure system moving in. "We're really hoping Mother Nature will help us out," he said.

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