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Home » Santa Clarita News » Environment » SCV Outdoor Report » SCV Outdoor Report: Aftermath Of A Wildfire: It Ain’t Over ‘Till It’s Over

SCV Outdoor Report: Aftermath Of A Wildfire: It Ain’t Over ‘Till It’s Over

By Wendy Langhans

What happens after the flames die down, the smoke dissipates
and the news-crews go home

 

It started three weeks ago tonight, sometime between 10 and 11 p.m, in the San Gabriel Mountains
just north of Symar.  By the time the
Sayre fire was 98% contained 6 days later, it had burned 17 square miles and
destroyed 487 homes.  One of those areas
burned was Wilson
Canyon Park
, a 240 acre park located just north of Olive
View Hospital. 

 

Image
Wilson Canyon Park as of 12-3-08

 

My grandma had a saying, “Fools rush in where Angels fear to
tread.”  And sure enough, after every
fire, curious folk come by to take a look, sometimes ignoring the “Park
Temporarily Closed” signs.  For those of
you who were wise enough to wait until the park re-opened last week, thank you.

 

I’d like to spend the next few weeks talking about what
happens after a fire is “put out”.  This
week, I’ll talk about why “it ain’t over until it’s over.  There are three reasons why we keep visitors
out. 

 

We need to make sure the fire is OUT.  After a ground fire,
“hot spots” can remain in the leaf litter or the roots just beneath the
surface.  These can flare up again.

 

Image
Close-up view of the ground fire in Wilson Canyon.

 

We need time to scope out the area for hazards and remove
them.  A tree limb weakened by fire can
come down unexpectedly on a hiker.

 

Image
This view of Whitney Canyon in 2004 shows how a burnt tree branch can remain a hazard after a fire.

 

The surviving animals need time to relocate.  Those animals who hunkered down underground
or fled to a safe haven now need to move to an area where they can find what
they need, since there is little food or cover left.  We don’t want them wasting their remaining
energy fleeing from us.  (That’s also why
we don’t put out food – so the animals will relocate.)

 

I remember explaining this once to a young man who wanted to
go exploring in a restricted area.  When
I spoke of the hazards, I could see that I wasn’t getting through to him.  I sounded JUST LIKE HIS MOTHER!  But when I asked him to imagine what it would
be like to be a hungry and frightened animal, desperately searching for cover
from a human intruder, he finally understood. 
He stepped up and became what we are all called to be – stewards of the
land and all the creatures that live upon it.


 

Upcoming Outdoor Events: 

 

Save the date – January 24, 10-12
AM.  Fire Ecology Hike in Wilson
Canyon.

Heavy rain cancels – call the day before to confirm
(310-858-7272 x 115).  For map and
directions go here.

Sponsored by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation
Authority.

 

Saturday, December 20, 8:00-10:00
AM.  Morning Bird Hike in Towsley
Canyon.  Towsley
Canyon is a year-round home for
birds.  They like our Mediterranean
climate, the local bounty and the California
sunshine.  Bring your binoculars and meet
at the entrance.  Heavy rain
cancels.  For map and directions go here.

Sponsored by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation
Authority.

 

Saturday, December 20, 2:30-4:30
PM. 
Get-the-kids-out-of-the-house walk in Pico
Canyon.

Do you need some time wrap presents without little eyes
spying.  Send the kids out with a
visiting relative for a taste of nature – the real glitz. Heavy rain
cancels.  For map and directions go here.

Sponsored by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation
Authority.

 

Saturday, December 13th and 27th, and every Wednesday, 8:00 AM.  Trail Maintenance Volunteers at Towsley Canyon.

Come join our trail maintenance volunteers for camaraderie
and a heart-thumping workout.  For more information contact Steve Ioerger at 661-291-1565.

 


 

 

You can listen to stories like this every Friday morning at 7:10 a.m. on "The Hike Report",
brought to you by your hometown radio station KHTS (AM1220) and by the
Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.

 

For the complete MRCA hike and activity schedule and for
trail maps, click here or go to www.LAMountains.com.

SCV Outdoor Report: Aftermath Of A Wildfire: It Ain’t Over ‘Till It’s Over

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