The effects of the May 5, 2009, Jesusita Fire still haunt many of us who live in Santa Barbara. Vivid memories of hillsides burning along with homes and residents’ precious memories will be forever associated with this devastating wildfire.
Within the more than 8,000 acres that burned were several of Santa Barbara’s beloved and historic trails. These trails — including Arroyo Burro, Jesusita, Tunnel, Rattlesnake and the West Fork of Cold Spring — all played an important role in the development of our city, and continue to be enjoyed by thousands of people every year.
The Multiuse Trails Coalition is proud to present photographs showing the recovery of the Jesusita Fire on our mountainsides along some of these historic trails. Taken over the past five years, viewers will see the hillsides collapsing upon themselves with “dry ravel” to grassy undergrowth to the rebirth of the chaparral so commonly found associated with the front country.
To some, these hillsides may appear to have achieved a full recovery, but the photos show that there is still quite a bit of growth yet to go. They still have years and years to go for a full recovery, but, slowly, the progress continues. Until the recovery is complete, every wind storm blows over dead trees killed by this fire, every rain storm brings unwanted rock and mudslides from the still-fragile hillsides above.
Click here for a complete gallery of trail photos in the Jesusita Fire area.