Pacific Crest Trail Reopens after Donnell Fire Threat Passes

Tuolumne County, CA — The Pacific Crest Trail is open for public use once again now that the threat from the Donnell Fire’s flames has passed.

Trekkers Johan (from New York) and Brett (Arizona) head off toward South Shore Lake Tahoe. We picked them up (as hitchhikers) at Kennedy Meadows while we (hubby and I) were heading up to the pass on our way to a Route 66 adventure.

Stanislaus National Forest Fire officials attribute the trail reopening to minimal growth this week with just 150 acres burned since last Sunday.  The blaze is holding steady at 36,400 acres and the containment has risen to 87-percent.  While Incident Command reports concerns over this weekend’s reported rising temperatures and possible afternoon thunderstorms, they note that it is not as hot as last week. We will continue to update you with any threats over the fire area.

Trekker Ken, nephew of a stamping friend from Montana is heading south from the pass, obviously into the snow, covering a section he had missed when heading northbound earlier in the year.

As reported here, forest officials have announced that on Monday an update map will be released with specifics to the remaining closure area. Incident Command warns that active fire, fire suppression actions, hazardous standing trees, and risk from rock fall are clear reasons why the public needs to stay clear of the remaining fire closure area.

Southward bound.  You can see by the tracks that Ken won’t be alone on the trail.  (September 23, 2017, 8:15 a.m.)

The Stanislaus National Forest Burned Area Emergency Rehabilitation (BAER) Team is currently soil assessment surveys to determine the burn severity of the Donnell Fire. Resources on scene include 188 personnel, 7 hand crews, 2 helicopters, 5 engines and 4 water tenders.

PS  If you ever see a person with a backpack standing by the large boulders at the Kennedy Meadows Road turnoff from Hwy 108, it’s a 99.5% chance that they’re Pacific Crest Trail trekkers, hoping for a ride back up to the pass.  They’ve probably come down to Kennedy Meadows, off of the trail, to pick up resupply items that have been sent for them by family or friends, maybe take a shower, have some fresh food and a solid night’s sleep.  Had we (Russ and me) not known Ken we might not ever have picked up hitch hiking Brett and Johan but……..it was such a rewarding experience for all four of us.  We are so fortunate to have portion of the Pacific Crest Trail in our neighborhood.

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