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Angeles Crest Highway drive reveals moonscape in wake of Station fire

September 16, 2009 |  8:43 am

*Updated to reflect it was an Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department escort

Scorched earth is a depressing sight, especially when it had been lush with chaparral and old-growth forest.

The extent of the devastation caused by the Station fire, which has burned almost 250 square miles within the Angeles National Forest but finally is close to being contained, will be unfathomable when assessments are made.

Dead animals are said to litter the blackened and barren countryside. Rattlesnakes -- those that had burrowed and somehow survived the inferno -- slither across a moonscape hunted from the sky by raptors.

Campgrounds and important structures have been destroyed and trails are ruined. A once-verdant paradise is lost for who knows how many years to thousands of campers, hikers, bikers, runners, birders and horseback riders.

The Angeles Crest 100-Mile Endurance Run had been scheduled to begin Saturday. Obviously it has been canceled as its route is off-limits.

The scenic Angeles Crest Highway also remains closed, but a video shot by a couple touring the road behind a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Dept. escort is making the rounds on YouTube. It reveals a charred countryside, melted road signs and guard rails that simply lie atop or alongside the pavement, their wooden support beams burned to ashes.

If you're familiar with the highway and forest, click on the video and tag along. It's a surreal odyssey, to be sure.

-- Pete Thomas

Video credit: Courtesy of YouTube