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NAP Cabin Destroyed In Williams Fire

Latest News  Fire Begins  Report News  Links


Monday, 10/15/2002
    Matt "Cruiser" Cohen '98 #1139 e-mailed pictures and videos taken at the cabin.

    While we don't have Bob's official report yet, the videos speak for themselves. The walls, the foundation, and even the river rocks are no longer sound.

Wednesday, 10/2/2002 6:57 p.m.
    Eric J. Olson '62 #585 sends an e-mail report.

    Report from Last Night's Meeting of San Dimas cabin owners, Forest Service, etc.

    1. Based on what was said last night, primarily by Marty Dumpis, our District Ranger, there is little likelihood that anyone will be permitted to start rebuilding within the next 6 months (see below).

    2. Under the circumstances, the appropriate thing seems to me to be:
      1. Bob Nigbor will visit the cabin to assess its situation. Please advise if there are appropriate steps that can/should be taken to shore it up/keep it relatively safe/however you would characterize it for a period of a few months while the place is cleaned up and awaits the next step.

      2. If there are such things and they are more than absolutely nominal, Ranger Dumpis encouraged us to run it under their nose (in general he seemed to be encouraging steps to clean up damage, preserving property, and getting general infrastructure back into order pending the "Consistency Review" - see below). He is at San Gabriel River Ranger District, 110 N. Wabash Ave, Glendora 91741 626 335 1251, fax 626 914 3790 Getting the place cleaned up and running is also part of the message from Dana Brown, the local Association President (714 402 0429 - his cell phone - also the Association's voice mail is working and contact info, etc, can be left there 909 593 0618). His theory, which I agree with, is that among other things if that is happening it will be much harder for any Consistency Review to take an adverse view of the continued existence of the Recreational Cabins program in the area. (see below re his first project)

      3. The Forest is closed by order of the chief ranger, Jody Cook. They have been issuing passes to permit holders (I am informed that two have been issued to us and at least one is in the hands of the actives - if anyone needs to go up and do anything and it is not convenient to borrow one of them, it is not supposed to be a big deal to pick one up from Ranger Dumpis' office). Generally there is no one standing guard but it will be helpful if anyone comes around and questions why you or your vehicle are there.

      4. consistent with the foregoing there should be no objection to repair and erosion proofing of the trail -- if any of the damage is big enough to be beyond our reasonable capacity to perform it, we could discuss with the Rangers trying to include it in the "BAER" work (general restoration, such as erosion prevention, etc).

      5. as far as cleanup goes, Dana Brown announced that they had installed a 40foot dumpster to put anything in that had been destroyed and they planned to replace that with a new dumpster, etc as long as needed. Emphasis was on "burnt stuff" including refrigerators and stoves, but not rocks. marty dumpis also said they were not encouraging people to take down rock or concrete structures at this point and that even if a cabin were not to be rebuilt they may conclude that some or all of it should be left.

    3. The first volunteer project Dana has in mind is getting the water system back to working and he will be working on this in the next few days, perhaps this weekend. A delegation of actives, including Rashelle Rucker and Emily Helliesen and 3 or 4 more were at the meetingand Rashelle made a nice statement about them helping out however might be helpful and recruiting others as well. She and Emily got on the contact list. it was mentioned to me by someone who seemed to be important from the Association (and who was taking contact names) that she had encouraged Rashelle to speak and that there were some older people among the cabin owners who might also need some help. This could well be a several months project.

      1. If I correctly understood the bureaucratic procedure, before the USFS can permit the approx 60 SD Cyn cabin owners (and approx 50 San Gabriel Canyon owners burned out in the Curve Fire) to rebuild, they have to have a "Consistency Review" which essentially deals with whether continued existence of Recreational Cabins in those areas are still consistent with the purposes of the Angeles National Forest. The situation of these approx 110 cabins is apparently unique since this procedure came into existence - Jody Cook cited another huge fire in N. Calif where they lost 7 cabins. A big team is supposed to be showing up soon to start this work. An alternative to continued existence in the specific location would be to offer an alternative location. Somehow this dovetails into a major study, the draft of which is supposed to be out about June.

      2. While the process had the warm and fuzzy sound that it was all going to work out reasonably and favorably in one way or another for the cabin owners, there is no question that this is part of a "public" process and we need to be concerned that there will be forces, both within and without the USFS that will push the view that the cabin owners should be forced out. In light of that it will be important for people to make sure that not only the USFS but their elected representatives hear from lots of people about how these cabins should be permitted to be rebuilt and how they are a valid and valuable part of the multiple uses in our national forest. A gentleman from "Forest Preservation Society of Southern California", David Allen james, Sr. who seems to have been through this battle in some form or another, David Allen james, Sr. 4023 Chaney Trail, Altadena, CA 91001 323 440 8259 fax 661 296 4635 commented that he was pleased with the positive tone of "rebuild" or "relocate" but urged that we all make sure the USFS and our elected reps. hear from us (and it is important that a written record is built up, particularly at the USFS since it will constitute an important part of the record as well as the fact that some ranger knows what he/she has heard). A similar message came from Barry Weatherby, President of the San Gabriel Cyn Property Owners Assn. Representatives of Congressman Dreier,including Mark S. Harmsen 2220 E. Rte 66, Ste 225, Glendora, CA 91740 626 852 2626/866 373 6321 were present. Supervisor Mike Antonovich is the Supervisor for the area and has taken an active interest. I tried to emphasize to the Actives present that while someone was writting a letter to Congressman Dreier a particular letter, it is good that he and the USFS hear from each and every one of them.

      3. I would urge people to get themselves on the mailing list from the USFS re the study (whose name I forgot); if you call Marty Dumpis or his office, I am sure they will be delighted to not only give you the name but put you on the mailing list for the materials.

      4. If the materials that we have about the building of the cabin survived the fire, does anyone know what happened to them? I think it might be very helpful to get someone to write up a little history of the construction of the cabin together with supporting materials to send to the USFS to help document the colorful local historical background.

    Keys are available from Dana if we do not have them. They urge people to preserve the locks on the gate. They are talking about 2 months minimum before Edison gets electricity back in there.

    I have to leave so will send this; later I will review my notes and see if there are important additional things to add.

    Thanks to everyone who is helping.

    -- Eric olson

    Paul: More to follow next week when additional reports on this meeting and the Saturday, October 5th meeting have come in. See below for details on that meeting.

    I will be away from my computer until Sunday, so no updates or e-mail replies 'til then. Check the Yahoo! Group on the NAP Cabin for ongoing discussion, news. See below for details on how to find it and subscribe.

Tuesday, 10/1/2002 - No News

Monday, 9/30/2002 6:57 p.m.
    Cruiser passes on a new batch of pictures taken by Rashelle Rucker '05 #1340, President. Joe Newcomb '04 #1291, Vice President appears in some of the pictures.
Sunday, 9/29/2002 - No News
Saturday, 9/28/2002 - No News

Friday, 9/27/2002 9:23 p.m. Friday, 9/27/2002 3:21 p.m.
    SDCIA Meeting - Tuesday 10/1
    There is a San Dimas Canyon Improvement Association (SDCIA) meeting that the Forest Service will attend to discuss all aspects of the fire.

    The meeting is scheduled for next Tuesday, October 1, in San Dimas Park at 6:30 p.m.

    All those interested in volunteering to help in any fashion should attend.

    Forest Service Meeting - Saturday 10/5
    This meeting will take place in Ontario. I'm still confirming the location.

Friday, 9/27/2002 12:01 p.m.
    Adam Doerr '97 #1136 creates a Yahoo! Group for NAP cabin discussions. Here's what he had to say:

    I've created a Yahoo group for the cabin. Please let everyone know - alums of all generations are welcome to join. We can use the group to serve as a community-oriented home base for any efforts, whether helping out the neighbors or keeping interested alums informed.

    In particular, all contributions of photos (any time period, interior or exterior), documents, or opinions are welcome. To join, just send a blank message to

    With sorrow,

    Adam Doerr #1136

    Join here:

    Subscribe to napcabin
    Powered by
Thursday, 9/26/2002 10:20 p.m.
    Emily Helliesen '02 #1324 sends e-mail. While she was not been able to get up to the ruins, she spoke with some of our neighbors, and they confirm that our cabin has burned to the foundation. We must volunteer to help canyon residents. We must rebuild.

    Watch this space for more details.

Thursday, 9/26/2002 12:26 p.m.
    Various news stories, and Paul Nagai '88 #978: The Williams Fire has exceeded 30,000 acres, is only 10% contained, has a 15 mile fire line, and is threatening Mt. Baldy homes. Some stories are claiming it has been 40 years since the area has had a fire, but I remember a fire in La Verne within the last 10. While that fire did force evacuations in La Verne, it was, I think, much smaller than this fire.
Thursday, 9/26/2002 10:44 a.m.
    Matt "Cruiser" Cohen '98 #1139 e-mail: Forest Service says 66 of the 77 cabins in San Dimas Canyon have burned. After their team goes in, they will be conducting escorted tours of the site, but that, of course, is still at least a couple of days away.
Thursday, 9/26/2002 8:10 a.m.
    John Seery, NAP Faculty Advisor, sends an e-mail. He's read that 71 of the 81 cabins have burned completely to the ground. But since no one has been let back into the canyon, which cabins are which is unknown.
Wednesday, 9/25/2002 12:43 p.m.
    Matt "Cruiser" Cohen '98 #1139 sends an e-mail. He's spoken with the Forest Service again. They confirm 40 lost structures but can't say which ones. They say four government buildings were lost deeper in the canyon.
Tuesday, 9/24/2002 10:57 a.m.
    Jim Levesque '87 #981 sends an e-mail. He's driven down Baseline on his way to work. Thinks it looks bad.
Tuesday, 9/24/2002, 9:38 a.m.
    Matt "Cruiser" Cohen '98 #1139 sends an e-mail. He's spoken with the Forest Service. They reported their damage assessment team had to evacuate. They do not expect to return to the canyon for at least a couple of days. Residents and the general public won't be allowed back in until a few days after whenever that is. Cruiser saw the president of the Canyon Cabin owners Association being escorted away while trying to protect his cabin.

    Cruiser suggests that NAP volunteer to in the aftermath of the fire.

Monday, 9/23/2002, 11:07 p.m.
    Jim Levesque '87 #981 sends an e-mail. He's seen a story on the 11 p.m. news (Los Angeles, CA) that there is a 4000+ acre fire in San Dimas Canyon.
Sunday, 9/22/2002, ~5 p.m.
    The Williams Fire begins in the Oaks picnic area of Camp Williams on the East Fork of the San Gabriel River about six miles west of Mount Baldy Village, authorities said.


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