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Montaña de Oro trail may remain closed until year's end in wake of fire

The popular Coon Creek Trail in Montaña de Oro State Park could be closed until the new year as crews work to repair damage to the trail caused by an escaped prescribed burn a month ago.

A prescribed burn was being conducted on land owned by Pacific Gas and Electric and State Parks on Nov. 12 when the fire escaped its boundaries and burned an additional 100 acres in the Coon Creek area.

The fire rendered the trail unsafe because it burned the treads on a footbridge over the creek and firefighting activity obliterated the trail in several areas, said Nick Franco, parks superintendent.

“When you can’t see the trail it’s easy to get lost and go into areas that are unsafe,” he said.

Maintenance crews are repairing the damage and plan to reopen the trail by year’s end or sooner. The trail extends nearly two miles up the creek from the trailhead at the end of Pecho Valley Road and connects with the Oats Peak Trail, which takes hikers into the park’s backcountry

On the positive side, the wildflowers should be spectacular along the trail this spring, Franco said. Fire removes brush from the landscape, allowing wildflowers to flourish.

The prescribed burn was conducted by Cal Fire over two days on 430 acres of remote, hilly land north of Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. High winds caused the blaze to jump its containment lines. 

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