FOREST CLOSURE EXTENDED
Hello Friends – let’s cut to the chase but remember, don’t shoot the messenger…..
Earlier this week the Forest Service extended the closure of nine California Forests, including the Los Padres, through October 1. Here’s a quote from the Regional Forester:
“Continued closures are based on extreme fire conditions, critical limitations of firefighting resources, and to provide for firefighter and public safety,” said Regional Forester Randy Moore. “We understand how important access to the National Forests is to our visitors. Our aim is to prevent any new fires on the landscape.”
We’re now in week 3 of this large-scale fire closure and to our knowledge there have been no new fires within any of the closed forests (fact check please). We know that these closures aren’t very much fun but they do appear to be working. We do have some hotter weather headed our way next week that should peak on Wednesday and Thursday with inland temps reaching into the mid / high 90’s. Fingers crossed that the long-term forecasts start to cool and that the forests can safely reopen towards the end of this week (knock knock). If anyone knows how to perform a rain dance, now’s the time, please. Wish we had better news and we’ll keep you all posted as events unfold and decisions are made……
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• The Dolan Fire in the Monterey Ranger District has slowed down a lot over the past week and has been holding at just under 130,000 acres burned. It is currently 46% contained with an expected full containment date of October 13. While the forest remains closed around Dolan, for a few different reasons, Highway 1 did reopen earlier last week after being closed for about a month during the fire fight. Lastly, some more tragic Dolan new; it was reported that nine California condors perished during the fire. We all hate hearing that but thankfully nine more condors are expected to be released above San Simeon before the end of the year.
• In case you hadn’t heard from earlier this summer, the Esselen Tribe from Monterey County was able to purchase over 1,000 acres of land along the Little Sur River. This is a special story some 250 years in the making. Check out more details here.
• Thanks in large part to a grant from REI in addition to some extremely generous public donations, the LPFA Trail Crew was able to spend a week earlier this summer clearing a mile of the Gene Marshall – Piedra Blanca Trail just above Beartrap Camp. Once the forest closure is lifted we’d like to head back and complete the remainder of the trail up to the top of the switchbacks and down to Haddock Camp. In case you’re interested in helping, we’re about $1,000 short of our fundraising goal that would send the crew back out for another week. If you are interested in donating or to learn more, please click here. THANK YOU!
• Of course none of us are in the forest right now but if you’ve spent any time exploring the LP you’ve no doubt come across the remnants of illegal marijuana grows. October is generally harvest time for grow operations within the LP and it can be pretty scary if you find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Here are some tips and clues about illegal forest grows and what you should do in case you come across a site. The forest might be closed but they’re still out there.
• It seems that black bear sightings outside of the forest are becoming more and more common. Last week there was a particularly photogenic bear seen outside of Solvang, another Solvang bear in April, another in Lompoc, Simi Valley and yet another outside Carmel. There was even a bear attack reported outside of Santa Paula. We’ve heard a few theories as to why bears appear to be coming out of the hills more than ever. Is it that phones (cameras) are everywhere these days and it’s much easier to share (social media) photos of bears who happen to wander into the streets? Some say that the Los Padres has become the new home of humanized Sierra ‘problem bears’ who were sent packing after tasting one too many picnic baskets in Sequoia or Yosemite? Others reasons might include drought, competition, easier food sources or that they were here before us anyway (or were they?) ? It’s always exciting to see a bear in or around the Los Padres and if you’re a podcast person, Outside Podcast shared an entertaining episode earlier this year about “the wrong way to fight off a bear” – check it out. And if you’re interested in some more information about black bears and what to do if you encounter a black bear, click this link.
• The Los Padres National Forest Supervisors Office (SO) has moved from Goleta to Solvang. At the moment the offices remain closed due to COVID and we’ll share more information including address and hours once the SO reopens.
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