Thomas Fire Engulfs Wheeler Gorge – Early December 2017 – photo USFS
Hello Friends – HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
This will surely be a week of reflection for most of us as we look back at the Thomas Fire, which started just about a year ago on December 4, 2017. Not only was the Thomas Fire the largest wildfire in California’s history but the timing of the fire also led to the destructive and deadly Montecito debris flows just a few weeks later. Having wildfire that late in the season validated the now common statement that “Wildfire Knows No Season”. Unfortunately, we saw the same thing again this year with the Camp
Fires starting late in the “wildfire season”. So far I’m not a very big fan of the new normal
. There is a ton of commentary about why we’re dealing with such large fires
, who is to blame and how moving forward we can protect ourselves
and our forests against these ever-growing conflagrations. I’m not going to pretend to know the answers. I don’t know if anyone knows the answers. It’s likely that the answers here in the Los Padres are different than the answers in the Cleveland or Santa Monica’s or the Sierra Nevada dead pine tree belt. While we might not know the answers, Outside Magazine recently created a four-part podcast series covering wildfires
that does a really good job of outlining some of the questions. If you’re interested in the subject of wildfires, I think you’ll enjoy listening to the Outside podcast. Wildfire is certainly a hot topic of late, not just here in the Western United States but across the world
, even grabbing the attention
of our President. Lets hope that sometime in the future we’ll look back at this new normal era
with solutions that can prevent all the damage and death we’ve had to endure of late.
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2019 LOS PADRES CALENDAR
Back by popular demand, the LPFA has once again released a Los Padres themed wall calendar. We went back to the larger size for 2019 and have full color themed months featuring great photos and content from across the Los Padres. This is the 6th year we’ve done a LP wall calendar and once again we had a lot of fun choosing photos and compiling them into the calendar. The calendar costs $12.00 with any proceeds going to the LPFA Trail Fund. Check it out and get one for your friends, co-workers, family, yourself or all the above! You’ll love em.
AND BIG THANKS TO ALL OUR FRIENDS WHO CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS! You’ll be seeing yours in the mail soon……
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Tent or No-Tent, the First Light Redondo Views are Amazing!
• The Los Padres is in the midst of our first large winter storm of the 2018-2019 rain season
. Most of the forest is set to see anywhere between 1-5+ inches of rain depending on location. The rain has fallen hard at times so expect to see some extended road closures and some slides and trees down across the trails. There is more rain on tap for next week along with some colder temperatures. If you’re heading into the forest be sure to check the weather in detail before you go and let someone know where you’re going and when you’ll be back. And if you come across any fresh downed trees or trail slides, take photos and post on HLP
and we’ll make sure a nearby trail crew gets the call. Have fun and be safe…..
• In advance of this most recent storm, the LPNF has begun closing some of their seasonal and wet weather gates. HikeLosPadres.com and the Los Padres NF website are good places to check road closures but we strongly suggest calling your local Ranger Station in advance to make sure of the gate status. NOTE: The Ojai District plans on closing their seasonal gates on December 15, which includes Pine Mtn. NOTE: Hwy 1 in southern Monterey County is closing as needed in advance of any larger storm.
• The Front Fire Closure has been lifted and Rockfront OHV is once again open to the public. This includes the Gifford and Adobe Trails. That being said, Rockfront was closed this week in advance of the storms but should be reopened once the roads have a few days to dry. Be sure to check with SLRD if you plan on hitting up Rockfront.
• Reminder that even with this wet weather fire restrictions remain in effect across the Los Padres. Hopefully the fuel moisture levels will improve so that the FS can safely adjust the fire restrictions. Usually the restrictions are lifted after the forest has received 2″ of rain.
• Certainly a storm theme to this email…. A privately funded group called The Partnership for Resilient Communities is proposing to install 40+ steel nets across the canyons above Montecito designed to halt the flow of debris and rocks along the canyon. Their current plan calls for the installation of 13 nets sometime in the coming months, two of which will block trail access.
• In the bummer category of news there have been a few break-ins at some of our trailheads over the past few months. Total bummer. We don’t want any successful break-ins as that usually fuels repeat criminal visits. REI has done a good job of coming up with 10 Tips to Deter Trailhead Theft, read it here.
• There are two proposed Forest Thinning Projects in the Mt. Pinos District along Tecuya Ridge and Cuddy Valley. Earlier this week the FS released their proposed action for Cuddy Valley, click the link for specifics. You can learn more here, here and here.
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South Fork, Bring on the Rain! photo Beeman