Tragic, Heart-breaking Coincidence

On August 15, I began uploading several images from Upper Trabuco Canyon in Orange County, CA. This task had long been on my “Do List”, just waiting for a good slide scanner which only recently arrived. Trabuco Canyon had been a favorite hiking destination of mine since childhood. In April-June 1974, as I was finishing my undergrad degree at U.C. Irvine, I visited Upper Trabuco Canyon several times, discovering many interesting plants, butterflies, and birds,
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?d1=1974-04-01&d2=1974-06-13&place_id=2738&subview=grid&user_id=gcwarbler&verifiable=any
culminating in the documentation of nesting Spotted Owls on literally my last days in California before moving to Texas.
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/15516399
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/15516397
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/15529230

Fast forward to present day. I had heard in the news about the “Holy Fire” (which started at the mouth of Holy Jim Canyon, a tributary to Trabuco), but assumed it was confined to its namesake canyon. Now I find that on August 6, the first day of that fire and barely a week before I started my uploads, the Holy Fire actually burned through all of Upper Trabuco Canyon, precisely the area where my images from 44 years ago were obtained. I haven’t heard of a habitat damage assessment yet, but I fear for the health (and existence) of the groves of old-growth Bigcone Douglas-Fir that were a key feature on some of the higher slopes in that area.
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/15470764
I’ll be eager to hear more after they get that fire finally under control.

The fire was set by an arsonist; he has been arrested. I certainly understand (better than most observers) that fire is a natural part of Southern California ecosystems, but this was anything but “natural”. That person is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, but if convicted, I can think of no punishment that would be too severe, given the long-term ecological devastation he may have perpetrated. Time will tell. It won’t heal my soul.

Chuck

Posted by gcwarbler gcwarbler, August 16, 2018 23:28

Comments

Sad but interesting story Chuck. My childhood home was pretty devastated by the Tubbs fire last year so I understand. These fires are just so much hotter than the natural fires because of all the fire suppression thats been going on over the last 50 years. So not natural in another way there too...

Posted by loarie over 4 years ago (Flag)

These are hard times, indeed.

Posted by amzapp over 4 years ago (Flag)

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