Valley Fire containment increases, some hiking areas to reopen

Release Date: Aug 14, 2018

Contact(s): Zach Behrens, 909-382-2788

Containment on the Valley Fire in the San Bernardino Mountains has been increased to 82% from 56%, officials with San Bernardino National Forest announced today. The 1,350-acre fire, which started on July 6 near Forest Falls, CA, continues to burn in steep, inaccessible terrain. Ground and air resources remain assigned to the fire and its cause is still under investigation.

The increase in containment has prompted a new forest order, which reduces the footprint of the Valley Fire Closure Area beginning Wednesday, August 15, 2018. The new order allows a number of popular trails, backcountry campsites and destinations to be accessed again in the San Gorgonio Wilderness of Sand to Snow National Monument, which is co-managed by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.

Trails to reopen include Vivian Creek Trail, the popular route to the summit of San Gorgonio Mountain, the highest in Southern California at approximately 11,500 feet, and South Fork Trail, which brings hikers to its eponymous meadows and a couple of lakes.

Trail closures that remain include the wilderness portions of San Bernardino Peak Trail, including the peak itself, Momyer Trail and Foresee Creek Trail, including John's Meadow.

A map of the new Valley Fire Closure Area can be viewed here.

"I want to thank the public for their patience during the closure over the last month," said Front Country District Ranger Joe Rechsteiner. "The remaining closure area is for the public's safety. If the fire flares up and heads deeper into the wilderness, visitors could be put at risk. Unlike areas along Highway 38, getting firefighters into the wilderness can take longer."

The closure area is set to expire on December 31, 2018, but Rechsteiner and staff will continually revisit the possibility of reducing the footprint based on increased containment and conditions on the ground.

Residents and visitors to the area may continue to see smoke coming from the burn area.  

Hikers with questions about the closure can call the Mill Creek Visitor Center at 909-382-2882, Thursdays through Mondays or the forest headquarters at 909-382-2600 Mondays through Fridays. To keep updated on the Valley Fire, check InciWeb, the forest Twitter account and the Valley Fire Updates Facebook group.