Volcanic mountains

Burn Area Safety – Lassen Volcanic National Park (US National Park Service)

Be prepared for hazards in burnt areas, including hidden holes, fallen trees, scorched signs, and fire-weakened trees and branches.


Be vigilant in open fire areas

Lassen Volcanic National Park restricts the removal of hazardous trees to developed areas such as the highway corridor, day use areas, and campgrounds. The park is prioritizing efforts to rehabilitate popular trails within the burn footprint as soon as possible. Be alert and prepared to respond to hazards in open burnt areas.

Fallen/fallen trees or limbs

Branches and trees can fall, dead or alive, and when there is no wind. Even a tree that looks sturdy can be at risk of falling from damaged root systems or loosened soil from fire. Look up often and listen for cracks or creaks in roots, trunks or branches. Take note and don’t stop under fire weakened trees, snags and branches. Move quickly through burned areas to minimize the risk of these hazards.

Undefined or unmarked trails

Trails through burned areas can be difficult to follow and signs may have burned. Bring a map and be careful.

Loose or falling rock

Burnt ground may be loose when stripped of vegetation, and the normal freeze-thaw cycle may still loosen rocks. Pass one person at a time through hillsides in burnt areas or if you come across a downed log or pile of fallen rocks, in case the material shifts.

Hidden stump holes

Hollow cavities are created when fire burns stumps or root structures. These holes may be invisible under ash or pine needles until your foot pierces them. Fire can smolder in these cavities long after the rest of the fire is out. White ash can be a sign of lingering heat or a potential hole. Stay on trails in burnt areas.

Increased danger on windy or rainy days

Do not go to a burnt area if it is expected to be windy. Leave the area immediately if the wind picks up and there are hazards around you. The wind often accompanies the rain. Burnt soil is less absorbent and rain can create muddy, slippery conditions or flooding when drainages are clogged with trees, rocks and debris.

Throughput higher than normal

Snow can melt faster in burned areas, resulting in higher than normal stream and creek levels. Most creeks and streams in the park are safe for adults to drown in, but unexpected wetness can quickly lead to hypothermia.

Unstable shores

Fire can burn vegetation and soil that help stabilize the banks of streams and lakes. Try to spread out when crossing streams in burnt areas to reduce your risk of slipping and limit your impact on these fragile areas.

Burnt signs

Signs or tree markers may be missing if destroyed by fire. Bring a map and compass and pay close attention to your route.