Arcadia, Calif. 12/30/2021—Recent winter storms have brought an abundance of snow and ice to the higher elevations of the Angeles National Forest. Although these winter conditions are a welcomed improvement to the severe drought conditions, there are additional safety concerns for visitors to plan for. Whether visitors are coming to trek through the high-country trails or enjoy some snow-play fun with the family, the Forest Service, in partnership with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, strongly encourages folks to have a plan before visiting the alpine-like conditions.
“With hopes of preventing accidents, injuries and fatalities that we sometimes see in these conditions, we strongly encourage visitors to have a plan before visiting,” said Jerome E. Perez, forest supervisor of the Angeles National Forest. “These mountains are wild and at times the weather can cause extremely dangerous conditions, regardless of experience levels,” Perez continued to say.
It is also important to remember that portions of the Angeles National Forest are closed due to recent burned areas. These areas are hazardous and many of the trails in these areas may be damaged and trail signs marking the route completely burned.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva said, “Our local mountains are a wonderful resource for outdoor activities. Unfortunately, every year LASD’s Search and Rescue Teams are deployed into the Angeles National Forrest to assist people who have either fallen ill or were caught off guard by a sudden change in weather conditions. You should always be prepared for the unexpected when hiking or camping.”
To assist forest visitors in preparing for a trip to the forest, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Search and Rescue team is providing some safety tips in planning your next adventure into the national forest.
BE PREPARED: A simple day trip to play in the snow can end up being a life-or-death situation if you get stuck on the mountain. Remember these tips:
- Have snow chains and a full tank of gas for your car
- Be prepared to spend the night with food and warm clothes
- Most places in the Angeles National Forest do not have cell phone reception, making it imperative to let someone know when and where you are going and when you plan to return. Additionally, put your phone in airplane mode to help conserve battery life, should you locate a place with cell phone service.
HAVE AN EMERGENCY KIT WITH THE TEN ESSENTIALS:
- Navigation: map, compass, personal locating beacon
- Sun protection (Yes, even in the winter).
- First aid kit
- Fire starter
- Shelter (emergency blanket, tent, etc)
- Extra food
- Extra water
- Extra clothes
IF YOU PLAN TO GO WINTER HIKING:
- Remember, microspikes are for flat ground ONLY! If you are hiking in icy conditions, proper crampons are a must!
- Have a plan! Check out Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Search and Rescue – Hiking Plan
- Tell someone your plan!
- Don’t hike alone.
- Check current and incoming weather conditions.
SHOULD YOU GET LOST
- Stay put!
- Make a shelter
- Create a sign visible from a helicopter (colored clothing, writing in the dirt or snow, etc)