Thursday, April 26 , 2018, 10:33 am | Overcast with Haze 57º


Local News

Dead Trees Prompt More Los Padres National Forest Closures in Figueroa Mountain Area

Additional roads and campgrounds in the Figueroa Mountain recreation area of the Santa Lucia Ranger District have been closed after Los Padres National Forest officials deemed the locations pose a safety risk to visitors.

The closures were implemented last weekend due to dead and dying hazardous trees that have created a threat to campers, U.S. Forest Service spokesman Andrew Madsen said.

Temporary closures include the Figueroa Lookout, Pino Alto, Cumbre day-use areas, as well as forest roads 8N16 and 8N32.

“We are temporarily closing these areas until we can safely eliminate the risk these hazard trees pose to visitors as well as our employees,” Santa Lucia District Ranger Nathan Rezeau said.

“We appreciate the public’s cooperation and understanding while we take the necessary steps to safely remove the dangerous trees.”

The sites will remain shut down until Forest Service wildland firefighters cut down the dangerous trees, Madsen said.

“Some trees need to be removed on the floor and chainsaw qualified firefighters do that,” Madsen said. “They are busy with the new fires starting. We are hoping to reopen as soon as possible.”

Madsen said crews have cleared a majority of Figueroa Campground, but there are trees along the road that still need to be removed.

California’s forest are under attack by the five-year drought, warmer temperatures and aggressive bark beetle infestations, creating a tree mortality epidemic across the state.

Combinations of tree mortality from the drought and bark beetle has reached more than 60 million trees since 2010, located in six counties across 760,000 acres in the southern Sierra Nevada region of California, according to the Forest Service.

Dead trees are scattered around the landscape and creating hazards near surrounding communities, and fire responders if a wildfire occurs in these high-hazard areas, Madsen said.

Many recreation sites in the national forest remain open to visitors with no closures at this time.     

Open trails and campgrounds include: Rockfront Ranch off-highway vehicle riding area, Bates campground, Baja, Buck Springs and Paradise, Cerro Alto Campground, Colson Campground, Friis Campground - Pozo/La Panza area, Davy Brown Campground, High Mountain Campground, Miranda Pine, Horseshoe Campground, Nira Campground, La Panza Campground, Navajo Flat Staging Area/Campground, Friis Campground, Navajo Flats Campground, La Panza, Turkey Flat off-highway vehicle staging area and Pozo OHV area.

Open roads include: Figueroa Mountain Road to the junction of Happy Canyon Road, Sunset Valley Road, Cachuma Saddle, East Pinery Figueroa Mountain, Bates Canyon past Bates Canyon Campground, High Mountain Road to High Mountain Campground, Sierra Madre Road at intersection with Highway 166, Sunset Valley Road to Davy Brown and Nira Campgrounds, Red Hill Road and both sides on Pozo Road.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Maestro, Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover, Debit

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >