Holy Fire Burned Area Closure


Holy Fire Closure and BAER Reports

Updated: May 12, 2022  


District Contact

(951) 736-1811 

Additional Information:

News Release

Closure area Map

Forest Order NO. 02-21-15


Trail Closures

Trabuco, West Horsethief, and Holy Jim above the Falls

Campground Closures


Areas closed to public use after the 2018 Holy Fire, have reopened with a few exceptions. The North Main Divide Road, Trabuco and Holy Jim Canyons including, the Holy Jim Trail to Holy Jim Falls, are now open to visitors. Due to safety concerns, other area trails remain closed, including Trabuco Trail, West Horsethief Trail, and Holy Jim Trail above the Falls. Because of substantial erosion work is ongoing to reopen these trails in the futrue.

The Holy Fire was initially reported in Holy Jim Canyon on the west side of the Santa Ana Mountains in Orange County on August 6, 2018 at 1:21 pm. After initial assessment, it was determined the fire was burning within Trabuco Canyon in an area with minimal fire history. Over 1,500 resources were dispatched to the fire, but due to high temperatures, steep rugged terrain, and very dry fuels aided it ultimately consumed 23,025 acres by the time it reached full containment on September 13, 2018. The Holy fire reached full containment on September 13, 2018 with acreage at 23,025. On October 17, 2018 the Holy Fire was declared 100% controlled. 

The U.S. Forest Service Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Team completed their assessment of the Holy Fire burned area. The BAER report identifies risks to life, property, and critical natural or cultural resources in and around the fire area on forest service lands.

An increase in flows and erosion rates are predicted to be higher than normal for several years with the greatest increases during the 1st and 2nd year before returning back to normal levels. Given the size and scope of the Holy Fire burned area, the sensitive soils and vegetation may require additional recovery time before recreation can safely resume. 

Assessments of the Holy Fire burned area revealed numerous hazards, including the high potential for debris flow, flooding, mud flows, erosion, and rock fall, all of which could impact roads, trails, recreation areas, and long-term natural recovery. Emergency treatment will include area closures, stabilization of roads and trails, barrier installation, hazardous materials stabilization, and other prescriptions.