Out of the Ashes

A visit to Whiterock Campground in the Los Padres National Forest, origin of the 2016 Rey Fire

Due to the long drought many trees are suffering {such an understatement}. The Forestry Service within the Los Padres National Forest went so far as to close some of the campgrounds in Santa Barbara County due to the fact that some of the trees were cracking and falling over within some campsites. The week following, on August 18, 2016, a large oak tree fell onto some electrical wires starting the Rey Fire that lasted an entire month and burned over 33 thousand acres in our back country, further exacerbating our current water situation.

This past week the White Rock Campground was reopened for day use and four of us took a field trip to scout and paint the location. What we found was both haunting and hopeful. It had just rained the day before so all the ash was compact to the ground and some of the oak trees with their burned leaves looked more like trees in fall bloom. Everywhere were small green sprouts pushing up through the ashes. Life finds a way.

 Pamela among the reeds

Pamela among the reeds

 Nina facing the edge of the burn

Nina facing the edge of the burn

 The office for the day

The office for the day