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Historic Cabins Destroyed By Bobcat Fire May Be A Challenge To Rebuild

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There were 81 hard-to-reach rustic cabins in Big Santa Anita Canyon before the Bobcat Fire tore through in September. Now there are 64, with 17 having been destroyed in the blaze. Whether the owners will be able to rebuild is uncertain.

The cabins are along a dirt trail, some close to a stream that runs through the canyon.

The Forest Service says it will make a cabin-by-cabin decision, based on flood risk and other potential hazards, applying safety and other land use standards that did not exist a century ago when many of them were built.

“We must determine that it's safe to rebuild,” said Justin Seastrand, a supervisory natural resource specialist with the U.S. Forest Service, whose portfolio includes the cabins.

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He said any cabins to be rebuilt would have to be outside the boundaries of a 100-year flood plain for the canyon, free of geologic risks, and accessible to emergency and official vehicles.

That will be a tall order for some of the burned cabins that are on the other side of a hikers’ footbridge, or close to the creek that runs down the canyon, or below burned slopes that could be inundated by mud and debris in a heavy rain.


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