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Most Lava Beds areas reopen Thursday

LAVA BEDS NATIONAL MONUMENT — Most areas of Lava Beds National Monument that were closed because of the Antelope fire were scheduled to reopen to visitors Thursday.

Park officials noted the Antelope fire burned 12,540 acres in the southwestern corner of the park earlier this month. In a press release, visitor services manager Marc Blackburn said, “With the fire 95% contained and all safety hazards along the main park road addressed, the northern entrance to the park will open to the public.”

The visitor center is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, and the Cave Loop, Skull and Valentine roads are again accessible. The campground is also open. Campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Blackburn said fire crews and park staff are continuing with additional clean-up efforts, along with the removal of hazard trees, resource site assessments and other post-fire tasks.

“As such,” he said, “some areas of the park will remain temporarily closed to the public to include the recently burned area on the west side of the park road and the following developed areas: Fleener Chimneys, Merrill Cave, Whitney Butte Trail, Heppe Cave, Mammoth Crater and the Big Nasty Trail

Access to the Modoc National Forest through the park is restricted as Forest Service Road 49 (Medicine Lake Road) and Gold Digger Pass Road are both closed to the public.

For more information about visiting Lava Beds National Monument, call 530-667-8113, email labe_interpretation@nps.gov, go to www.nps.gov/labe, or visit the park’s Facebook and Instagram pages.