Wilderness areas around Mountain Fire reopening

IDYLLWILD, Calif. - Areas of the San Jacinto Mountains closed because of the Mountain Fire will reopen to the public today.

National Forest land will open today and Mount Jacinto State Park land will open Friday.

Slated to reopen are all areas of the National Forest north of the state park -- including Marion Mountain, Seven Pines and the Deer Springs trails, and Lake  ulmor. Marion Mountain, Dark Canyon, Boulder Basin and Black Mountain and Fern Basin campgrounds will also re-open, according to U.S. Forest Service spokesman John Miller.

The Mountain Fire, which was sparked by an electrical malfunction on private property northeast of Idyllwild early on the afternoon of July 15, was finally fully contained Tuesday, having scorched 27,531 acres and destroyed 23 structures, including seven homes. There were no serious injuries.

Miller said visitors to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway can get into the Long Valley area but will not be allowed to hike into the rest of Mount San Jacinto State Park. Park officials plan to open Little Round Valley Camp, Strawberry Junction Camp and the areas west of the Deer Springs Trail.

The Pacific Crest Trail will remain closed from Strawberry Camp/Strawberry Junction to Highway 74 in Garner Valley.

``Forest and park officials plan to re-evaluate the closure areas over the coming weeks to identify other areas that may be eligible to reopen as safety and resource protection concerns are addressed,'' Miller said.

For more information on Mount San Jacinto State Park, call (951) 569-2607 or go to www.parks.ca.gov. For more information on National Forest land, call the San Jacinto Ranger District at (909) 382-2921 or go to www.fs.usda.gov/sbnf.

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