Highway 1 reopens near Big Sur, but SoCal forests are still closed as fires persist

Christopher Reynolds, Mary Forgione
·2 min read
LITTLE ROCK, CA - SEPTEMBER 18: Bobcat fire reaches Cruthers Creek as viewed from Juniper Hills Road & Longview Road. Wildfire which started Sept. 6, now rages in Juniper Hills. Wild fire that has now chewed through more than 60,000 acres, has burned through the Angeles National Forest has reached Foothills of the Antelope Valley in three different locations burning near Devil's Punchbowl nature area , the second is advancing toward Tumbleweed Road from Cruthers Creek, and the third has jumped Juniper Hills Road at Longview Road Juniper Hills on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020 in Little Rock, CA. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
The Bobcat fire burning through the Angeles National Forest reached Cruthers Creek as viewed from Juniper Hills and Longview roads. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Highway 1 reopened Monday after a closure that lasted more than a month as firefighters battled flames near Big Sur in Monterey County.

But millions of acres of public lands remain closed because of fire threats or air befouled by smoke. Along the Sierra in the center of the state, Yosemite and Sequoia national parks are closed, but Kings Canyon National Park is expected to reopen Wednesday.

In Southern California, all of the region's national forests are closed, including Angeles, Cleveland, Los Padres and San Bernardino national forests.

The Forest Service has a regional order in place that closes those forests through Wednesday. It's still "a day to day decision" on when to reopen, said U.S. Forest Service spokesman Jonathan Groveman.

As of Tuesday morning, the Bobcat fire in Angeles national forest had claimed more than 109,000 acres and was 17% contained.

Joshua Tree and Death Valley national parks remain open.

Farther north, these national forests are open to varying degrees: Eldorado, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Plumas, Shasta-Trinity, Stanislaus, and Tahoe. These forests are closed through at least Thursday: Inyo, Sequoia, Sierra, Klamath and Six Rivers.

Over the last month, since the Dolan fire was sparked in Monterey County (Aug. 18) and Caltrans first closed Highway 1 (Aug. 19), the roadblocks have moved with the fire lines. For its last several days, the closure covered the 13 miles between Gorda and Lucia, just south of Big Sur.

Meanwhile, though the road is open, several of Monterey County's state parks remain closed, including Julia Pfeiffer Burns, John Little State Natural Reserve, Limekiln, Pfeiffer Big Sur and Point Sur State Historic Park. And the fire still burns.

As of Tuesday morning, the Dolan fire had blackened more than 128,000 acres and was 46% contained. About 535 firefighters are currently working on the blaze, whose origins are unknown.

Authorities urged would-be visitors to check individual forest web pages (for specific restrictions), the Cal Fire website (for updates on the blazes in progress) and AirNow or a comparable source (for air-quality readings).

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.