Fires nix forest filming

Ban could last until the end of November

Federal officials, beset by Southern California’s rampaging wildfires, have pulled the plug on filming in the Angeles National Forest north of Los Angeles for as long as a month.

Tuesday’s announcement came in the wake of 10 blazes that have so far consumed half a million acres, destroyed 1,500 homes and killed 15 people. A spokeswoman for the Entertainment Industry Development Corp., which issues film permits for the forest, said the ban could last until the end of November.

“Right now, we’re seeing the kind of extreme fire behavior we did last year,” forest supervisor Jody Cook said. “Unfortunately, the most immediate and effective method to reduce the potential for more losses is this kind of closure.”

The feds cited extreme fire activity, limited firefighting resources and the continued threat to life and property. The closure will affect the use of all recreational facilities, roads and hiking trails.

Projects shot in the Angeles forest recently include features “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” and “Anchorman” and series “CSI” and “Alias.”

Sheri Davis, head of the Inland Empire Film Commission, reported Tuesday that production activity remained at usual levels despite the massive firefighting efforts in the counties of Riverside and San Bernardino, due to efforts by location managers to shift into areas far away from the blazes. “We’ve got such a huge area that there are always viable alternatives like Wrightwood and Idyllwild,” she added.

Davis also said two well-known operators who supply trained animals for films and TV — Jungle Exotics in Devore and Predators in Action in Big Bear — had been able to move their four-legged stars successfully out of fire zones to safe locations. Fires moving toward Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead forced massive evacuations Tuesday.

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