Several exotic animals (in addition to pet horses and milk cows) were evacuated and displaced by the (Labor) Day Fire in the Los Padres Mountains to various animal shelters. The pictures show two large Arabian Dromedary (one-hump) Camels and also one of several South American Alpaca Llamas, noted for their fine wool. These animals have been a steady attraction as it is not everyday they can be seen. Their presence in the mountains was probably largely unknown before their owner(s) had them removed to safety. The Tugboatguy found that camels do indeed have a very nasty spitting habit. And, they do it so sneakily. Slow moving and benign when well fed, they mosey over to the fence, stick their head and mouth over the top and-splat!! they let you have it! So be cautious around them.
Camels and Llamas are closely related domesticated ruminants, genus Camelus and genus Lama, family Camilidae; the Llama having no hump, however. Hopefully, after the immense fire is finally put out the animals can be relocated to their more normal habitat in the mountain environment.
With the fire's 100% containment but still burning in only the Mutau Flats area as of 15 October 2006-these animals have now gone home.
The Los Padres National Forest & Mountains just north of Santa Paula normally offer many rugged campsites, scenic vistas, hiking trails, waterfalls, pools and creeks to explore and enjoy. With the so-called Day Fire ravaging much of this area, one needs some current guidance as to what areas have been reopened for public use. The National Forest Service website is down as I type this, but a map will be forthcoming when they are again online. Current information is: Mount Pinos, Mount Abel, San Emigdio Mountain, Quatal Canyon and Ballinger Canyon reopened 20 October.
All land north of Frazier Mountain Park & the Lockwood Valley roads except for some areas north of Frazier Park also reopened.
Update 15 May 2007-Many areas of Los Padres National Forest that were closed because of the Day fire are now open to the public. Hazards such as standing dead trees still exist, so use caution. Areas still closed are: Eight miles of Red Reef Trail in the Sespe Wilderness between junctions of Sespe River & Last Chance Trails. Rock slides will likely keep the trail closed for one year.
Three miles of the Sespe River trail between Shady Camp & Johnson Ridge Trail will be closed until next year.
Vehicles are not allowed on several roads and off-highway areas including Grade Valley, Alamo Mt. & Frazier Mt., likely for two more months. Gold Hill Road to Kings Campground & Piru Creek is open.
Tecuya Ridge Trail north of Frazier Park is closed, but may open in June. Details: visit http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/lospadres.
Also, call the Forest Service before spending time or money. Forest maps & permits & more information are available at the Ojai Ranger Station, 1190 E. Ojai Ave. Ojai
It seems incredible, but the Day Fire in the Los Padres National Forest and Mountains is STILL NOT OUT!, continuing to smolder four+ months after it's Labor Day September 4, 2006 start! In smoldering pockets and underground deep tree roots, the fire continues to burn, and the area is still closed to mountain climbers and forest hikes. The burned landscape is an inky black wasteland of scorched land, with a bitter, acrid and pungent smell and charred taste. Though the fire is contained, it may be some time before the flames die for good. (There is a coal mine fire in the state of Pennsylvania that has burned underground for over thirty years, forcing the evacuation of an entire town above it because of the acrid fumes and danger of asphyxiation). The Day Fire was hot enough to melt metal, so wood trees and picnic tables had no chance of survival. The fire area was larger than the city of Chicago! Our Fire Season has been way extended because of lack of rain, and snow in higher elevations.
So, for some time, there shall be no forest hikes or mountain climbing permits granted for the Day Fire area. It may take some time for regrowth of the burned areas and restoration or replacement of the burned out campgrounds and trails. Wildflowers are expected to bloom in the Spring, however. Some of the burned area had not seen flames in 100 years. There is little cover for small animals now, so predators --coyote, bear, eagles and wildcats can hunt mice, rabbits, moles and fox more easily. For up to date information on closure areas, call the Ojai Ranger Station at the number listed below.
The largest forest fire burning in the entire United States this season is the Day fire in the mountains of Ventura County north of Santa Paula. It started Labor Day, 4 Sept. 2006. By 13 Oct. 162,702 acres consumed, about 254 square miles! That is nearly one-third the size of Ventura County's 870 square miles, & 4 square miles more burned area as of my just prior report. Entire city of Chicago, Illinois could be put inside the fire's size!The fire is NEARLY out; FIREFIGHTERS STILL ON SCENE 21 October, putting out flareups.
Please ignore my Off The Beaten Path Tip on local mountain climbing/camping; no recreational access allowed to the fire area. However, the Hungry Valley Vehicular Recreation Area by Interstate 5 reopened 5 Oct. The Mutau Flats area, the unburned 'hole' in the graph is still burning. Deer hunting season starts 14 Oct, & some peripheral areas are expected to open for that.
Fire cost exceeds $74 million US dollars (10 Oct. update). Big job is to rehabilitate 163 mile perimeter of dirt barriers constructed to stop fire's advance & contain it. Concerns are runoff & Spring flooding because of loss of watershed.
The burned peaks are: Alamo Mtn., Bear Mtn., Black Mtn., Cobblestone Mtn., Devil's Heart Peak, Gold Hill, Mc Donald Peak, San Guillermo Mtn., San Raphael Peak, the Sespe Condor Preserve, Sewart Mtn., Snowy Peak, Topa Topa Peak, the Topa Topa Mtns., Whitaker Peak and White Mtn.
THE LATEST GRAPH SHOWS THE FINAL PERIMETER LINE OF THE FIRE'S ADVANCE AND THE FLOODING CONCERN AREAS. Also, a picture taken 24 September, Sunday afternoon from Santa Paula Airport shows flames glowing behind smoke on Topa Topa Ridge just above town. The fire flared up by Pyramid Lake on 17 Oct. but was controlled. Strong, dry East winds are now a worry
Please click on all pictures to see the fire's progression. Our fire season has 6 weeks to go. There is still danger of more fires.
Santa Paula is a good 'jumping off' place for mountain climbers and forest campers. Check first with a good weather service like wunderground (suggest you enter Frazier Park, California, Ojai, California & Fillmore, California in wunderground to bracket the weather area, the NEXRAD Weather Radar on Sulphur Mountain is the area's closest). Check with the US Forestry Service for permits, trail charts & safety & provisioning tips before you go. Spectacular vistas, forests, water falls & pools await you. Listed are some of our prominent County mountains by altitude.
1. Mount Pinos 8,831' (feet)
2. Frazier Mountain 8,013'
3. Pine Mountain-Reyes Peak 7,510'
4. McDonald Peak 6,870'
5. Cobblestone Mountain 6,730'
7. Topa Topa Bluff 6,368'
8. Topa Topa Peak 6,210'
9. Santa Paula Peak 4,957'
10. Divide Peak 4,707'
11. White Ledge Peak 4,639'
12. Nordhoff Peak 4,485' -Ojai's 'pink moment' at sunset.
13. San Cayetano Mountain 4,180'
14. South Mountain 2.263'
Bear Heaven below the west fork of the Sespe Creek is about 10 miles northeast of Santa Paula as a crow would fly. It is aptly named. Be careful here. Stay downwind & still of any bear you spot. Their eyesight isn't very good, but their nose certainly is!
The California condor reserves are also in these mountains.
Not all local mountains can be identified here. All the above are in Ventura County. The most prominent ones are listed. All are climbable if you are experienced, knowledgeable & prepared. ((Actually, in dry weather you can drive (AWD or 4 wheel drive suggested) to the top of Pine Mountain-its view of the entire south County & northern Channel Islands in clear weather is spectacular)).
To convert to meters, divide height in feet by 39.37 & multiply the result by 12 = meters.
The US Forest Service field office at the Ojai Ranger Station is staffed Monday-Saturday 8 am - 4:30 pm. Permit information & other info obtainable from their phone listed below.
The citizens of Santa Paula saw such an importance to share their very cultural past and wanted to share the importance that gave the city it's charm:-)
They are all within walking distance of eachother all centerally located in the historical downtown area.
Santa Barbara St & Davis St.
Transport in time & Place: Trains, Planes & Automobiles, 1890s–1940s
Santa Barbara St. & 8th St.
Our First Inhabitants: The Chumash Indians
Main St. & 8th St.
Santa Paula Family Farms, 1880s–1930s
Davis St. & Main St.
Santa Paula Citrus Capital of the World
Mill St. & Yale St.
Main Street Santa Paula, c.1910
10th St. & Main St.
Celebrating Santa Paula’s Latino Culture
Inside the Union Oil Building Pump House
Discovering Black Gold in Santa Paula, 1860s-1950s
Next to the huge Fig Tree
Santa Barbara & 10th St.
Celebrating Santa Paula's Artists and Architects
Maps of Murals