Outdoor M*A*S*H Filming Location Burns Down

The Woolsey Fire, one of several wildfires currently raging in California, tore through Malibu Creek State Park and destroyed the area where outdoor scenes for M*A*S*H were filmed. The Woolsey Fire broke out on Thursday (November 8) afternoon. It has consumed more than 80,000 acres and is only 15 percent contained.

A previous fire in October 1982 burned down the M*A*S*H set, forcing the writers to incorporate it into the series finale. The charred husks of a jeep and ambulance left behind by that fire greeted fans who hiked out to the filming location. In 2007, the park undertook a restoration that included clearing brush, installing a recreation of the 4077th signpost, and adding a shaded picnic area.

A special unveiling of the restored site was held on February 23rd, 2008. Mike Farrell, Loretta Swit, William Christopher, Jeff Maxwell, Charles S. Dubin, Gene Reynolds, Burt Metcalfe, and Roy Goldman were in attendance.

While the destruction of the M*A*S*H filming location is upsetting, it’s important to keep it in perspective. Thousands of homes and businesses have burned down over the past few days and dozens of lives have been lost.

Here is the official website for Malibu Creek State Park. And here is the official California State Parks page for the park.

(Thanks to Dan.)

5 Comments

  • 007 says:

    Ugh man. I saw that Malibu was in danger and that the Paramount ranch had burned down but I couldn’t figure out if the M*A*S*H area had been hit too. This confirms it.

    Terrible news but as RJ said, have to put it in perspective. Still i had hoped to visit one day, but guess this won’t happen as there is virtually no chance they’ll restore this site again.

    • Susan Hillenbrand Avallon says:

      Why wouldn’t they restore it again? It’s the most popular part of the park. I am hopeful they will.

      • BDOR says:

        In addition to what RJ had pointed out, they had also, in recent years, erected a little shed for visitors to go in, hang up pictures of their visit, and also sign their names on the walls.

        And, to be fair, the only restoration the area went through was clearing the foliage, and marking where the structures used to be (the hospital, the Swamp, the Mess Tent, etc.), but otherwise, they didn’t actually reconstruct any of those structures or anything like that.

        I imagine whatever damage there is, it’s probably minimal anyway: the ambulance and jeep are probably even more charred now, but everything else (the sign post, the picnic area, the visitor’s shed, and the park markers) would have to be replaced.

        But yeah, as Susan said, the old M*A*S*H site was part of the park’s hiking trail, and saw a lot of visitors.

        Nevertheless, this has become the deadliest fire in California’s state history – the devastation beyond the M*A*S*H location and other older ranch sets is unfathomable.

      • 007 says:

        Basically what BDOR said, but where as last time they just touched up what was already there, now they’d have to do a complete restore including making the sign again. Maybe I’m wrong, hopefully I’m wrong, but I just don’t see them bothering now that it’s been completely destroyed.

  • UglyJohn says:

    It will depend on how nature deals with the cycle of fire, scorched landscape and regrowth. It was like this long before MASH and 20th Century showed up.

    This area has seen endless cyles of fires and regrowth for tens of thousands of years. Nature doesn’t change much, so the remnants of the set can be easily replaced and so can the tourism placards.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.