The Santa Barbara County Search & Rescue team is calling for the public to minimize its use of front country trails if at all possible, and hold off on backcountry trips until conditions change in relation to the coronavirus.

Over the past week, the team has responded to five major incidents, four on front country trails and one involving an overturned ATV on Buckhorn Road in the backcountry.

Search & Rescue member Nelson Trichler emphasized that rescues such as those that occurred last week require responders to operate in extremely close quarters, exposing the crew and injured parties to the risk of being exposed to COVID-19.

Trichler cited the ATV rescue as an example.

The team had to bring the victim up a steep slope after the ATV went 100 feet off the jeep road and down into the brush.

“There were serious injuries that required us to haul the person up to the road,” he explained.

That meant the team members had to work shoulder to shoulder, involving heavy breathing, sweat and little time to worry about what the consequences might bring.

Trichler also noted that the team is doing its part.

Members of the Santa Barbara Search & Rescue Team.

Members of the Santa Barbara Search & Rescue Team often work in close contact with one another when making trail rescues. Given the potential risk of exposure to the coronavirus, the team is requesting that the public give the trails a break until the danger eases. (Nelson Trichler / Santa Barbara Search & Rescue Team photo)

“We’ve suspended all trainings and team meetings, and are using Zoom when we need to conference,” he said. “But when the call comes in that someone is in harm’s way, we will respond to the call.”

SBCSAR is an all-volunteer team that has provided rescue services for Santa Barbara County for more than 50 years.

“We understand that people feel the need to get out,” Trichler said. “I love the trails and I can understand why people want to be out there, but now is the time to give them a break.”

Click here for more information about the Santa Barbara County Search & Rescue.

Noozhawk outdoors writer Ray Ford can be reached at Click here for his website, Follow him on Twitter: @riveray. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook. The opinions expressed are his own.

Noozhawk outdoor writer Ray Ford can be reached at Follow him on Facebook: @riveray or Instagram: @riveray43.Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook. The opinions expressed are his own.