Matilija Canyon Changed Forever, Again – Nov 2017 & Jan 2018
This winter has not exactly gone as planned, has it? We were in uncharted waters heading into the rainy season with the largest fire in California history still burning across the southern Los Padres and the already scorched mountains laying helplessly baron, devoid of any vegetation. Our mountains are no strangers to fire but they’ve usually grown a protective five o’clock shadow
of at least a few months of post-fire regrowth before the rains kick in. We did not have that luxury with the Thomas Fire. We were all hoping for extended light rain which might fend off the drought while at the same time not causing too much soil erosion. That certainly has not been the case. Rainfall totals are way down for the year, with most of the forest receiving well under 40% of average rainfall totals to date. And all the rain that we have had essentially came in that one horrible storm on January 8. So much for light rain over an extended period of time, we ended up with hard rain all at once; which, as you know, resulted in the tragic Montecito debris flows. As of today, there is no rain in the extended forecast and we’re looking at what might be nearly a whole month in the heart of winter without any rain. It’s really hard to know what to root for from here on out. It might be best to get through the winter with as little rain as possible and sink back into what will be the 7-year drought. Or perhaps we hope for rain and pray that we don’t get a repeat Montecito debris-flow. Then again perhaps we stick to the gameplan and continue to root for light rain spanning the end of winter and into spring. Who knows. We’ve already seen so much destruction below the forest and so much change within it. No matter what outcome we get please be careful. The forest remains closed within the Thomas
and Whittier Fire
perimeters and should remain that way for quite some time. For those looking to take advantage of the good weather, there are plenty of great trails to explore outside the burn perimeters. It might require a slightly longer drive but there is water in most of the creeks, areas that have not burned and new trails to explore
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United States Hero & Los Padres’ Own, David Dahlberg
• In case you missed it, David Dahlberg was recognized
earlier this week as part of President Trump’s State of the Union Address
. Dahlberg is a Los Padres Fire Prevention Technician and heroically saved the lives of over 60 people stranded at Circle V Ranch near the onset of this summers Whittier Fire. While the Los Padres has been making national news of late, it was special to see David get a well deserved round of applause. David, next rounds on me…..
• Fire Restrictions were lifted on January 19 permitting campfires and target shooting. See attached PDF for more information. Please PLEASE, be careful with your fires and pick up your brass if target shooting.
• Highway 33 remains closed between Ojai and Lockwood Valley Road. It is possible the road will reopen on February 7 but you’ll want to confirm with CalTrans before attempting to drive through.
• The Thomas Fire was officially called 100% contained on January 12 at an astounding 281,893 acres.
• Highway 1 along the Southern Big Sur Coast remains closed at Mud Creek due to the epic landslide from last spring. It remains on schedule to reopen his summer.
• The FS will be implementing annual prescribed burns across the forest as conditions allow.
• As if TOTALITY wasn’t enough, yesterday we had the pleasure of witnessing the SUPER BLUE BLOOD MOON LUNAR ECPLISE, try saying that fast 10 times in a row. It was spectacular. In case you missed it, we will have another blue moon in March, just can’t promise the SUPER or LUNAR ECLIPSE parts.
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The SUPER BLUE BLOOD MOON LUNAR ECLIPSE, from Aliso Canyon, photo Orr
This time of year is supposed to be too rainy for any trail projects….. Not this year and as you’ll see below, there are a lot of upcoming volunteer projects and events across the Los Padres that are taking advantage of the unseasonable weather. We wanted to give you a heads up about one project in particular that popped up late this week:
The LPFA is partnering with the Forest Service to arrange a special cleanup around Rose Valley. Rose Valley burned in the Thomas Fire, revealing decades old trash that was buried in the brush. We’ll be caravaning up to Rose Valley from Ojai to help cleanup the trash. Hwy 33 remains closed to the public so it’s important to arrive on time in order to be part of the caravan through the barricades. Once at Rose Valley, we’ll be spreading out, exploring the area and picking up any trash we see along the way. Should be a special opportunity to see the burned area up close and help the forest in the process. For questions you can email INFO@LPForest.org, check the link above and we hope to see you on Saturday at 8:30am sharp.
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Troop 111 from Ventura recently replaced the San Rafael Wilderness sign on the Judell Trail. GREAT WORK!
newly restored trail sign along Davy Brown Trail.
The sign restoration was part of an Eagle Scout project compliments of Orcutt Scout Troop 91.