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Thomas Fire Update

SBMTV attended a Thomas Fire meeting hosted by Santa Barbara County District Ranger Smith along with other local trail advocacy groups, on Tuesday, January 2nd.    Ranger Smith briefed the group on the extent of the damage, with over 57 drainages stripped of vegetation across our front country, and concerns around the potential for devastating flooding and landslides.   

As we witness with Tuesday’s devastation in Montecito our land managers and safety personnel are dealing with an extremely dynamic and life-threatening situation.  Our hearts are with those affected by the Thomas Fire and recent debris flows.  

Given the extent of devastation and risk to public safety, the Forrest Service has closed all of the trails within the Thomas Fire closure area through the rainy season.    These trails include Romero, San Ysidro, Cold Springs, West Fork and Franklin along with other connecting Montecito trails within the forest service boundary.   You can view the Forrest Services most recent updates, closure map, and closure order.

We ask that you please respect these closures.   During the fire closure, SBMTV will be working closely with our local land managers to re-open and rebuild impacted trails with an emphasis on both sustainability and consideration for mountain bikes.   

Here is a brief summary of what we know:

Over 57 drainages were burned, with 100% of vegetation removed above 1500′ from Cold Springs to Rincon Mountain.  El Capitan Canyon, like mudslides, are a major concern for all of these drainages/creeks throughout the burn area. 

279 Miles of fire containment lines were cut, which includes re-grading much of Snyder Trail with a 100’ wide fire break.

Forrest service BAER (burn area emergency response) teams are actively reviewing current trail conditions throughout the Thomas fire burn area along with repairing fire lines with heavy equipment.    For trails that in the closed area (see below), it is a wait and see as to what the plan for restoration will be.   It’s possible that we may be able to perform some mitigation measures but the trails will be closed at least until the rainy season is over. 

Closed Trails:

Franklin – Closed to forest service boundary
Romero – Closed
San Ysidro – Closed to forest service boundary
West Fork – Closed
Tequapis – Closed
Upper Oso Campground and parking area – Closed
Snyder – Temporarily Closed.   Forest service is working on re-opening this soon but much of the trial was graded/bulldozed by fire crews.  There is currently heavy equipment out there.  SBMTV is working closely with the Forest Service to re-open Snyder as soon as possible as its not in the Thomas Fire Closure Area.   There may also be the opportunity to rethink some sections of this trail for enhanced recreational use, sustainability and fire protection. – Closed

Open Trails:
Tunnel – Open
Jesusita – Open
Camuesa – Open Lower Oso parking lot and first river crossing are open)
Lower Santa Cruz – Open  
19 Oaks – Open

Buckhorn OHV road – Closed to OHV but open to non-moto, however, there is bulldozers and heavy equipment out on the road so please exercise caution

Our short-term trail work efforts will be focused on making improvements to our open trails.  Trails such as Jesusita, Tunnel, and Camuesa.   Our first project is finishing the brushing and tread work on Camuesa next Sunday (1/21).  We are also working with the forest service to clear the fallen Oak on Jesusita, ASAP.    Assessing and repairing the fire break cut on Snyder trail is also on our list of short-term priorities.

Stay tuned for future updates.   We will post updates on the sbmtv.org and via email.   You can sigh up for our email alerts on the home page.   Additional info can also be found at our facebook group page https://www.facebook.com/groups/56996209916/

Helpful Links:

Los Padres Ranger District Trail, Road and Campground status: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/lpnf/alerts-notices/?cid=stelprdb5307964

Thomas Fire Closure Map: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd568106.pdf

For more info about post-Thomas Fire Recovery email us at info@sbmtv.org

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