The Springs Fire that ignited on May 2nd, 2013 in the western portion of the Santa Monica Mountains ultimately burned more than 24,000 acres, including 14,000 acres of park land through which the Backbone Trail passes. It was big, and intense, and it was stared down and beaten back by truckloads of firefighters who were far less pampered during their Backbone experience than y’all were. The image below is part of a particularly hair raising (hair singe-ing?) set from local but internationally recognized photographer David Pu’u, who writes about his don’t-try-this-from-home photo shoot here.
The Patio is a bit less inviting at the moment, and the view beyond is, well, kinda lunar.
But as the church sign says, don’t look back, ’cause we ain’t going that way. Nature will do her recovery thing of course – per the NPS “the first spring following a fire there is dramatic vegetation recovery on barren, blackened hillsides from resprouting shrubs and herbaceous perennials, germinating shrub seedlings, and an abundance of colorful native annuals. Within about 10 years at coastal sites and 20 years at inland sites, the canopy of the dominant shrubs begins to close.” And firefighters, scientists and local Coyote Cohorts (updates on trail openings and other park alerts are here) are already reporting a variety of critters coming back out to play.
And we terrifically lucky few who got to romp across the whole of the Backbone Trail before it was temporarily besmirched have MANY opportunities to help restore the playground. We’ll keep you posted on volunteer opportunities from here and on Facebook, but for first-hand updates on how you can help, sign up for notices from the National Park Service here. And check out the Santa Monica Mountains Trail Convervancy (SMMTC) trail maintenance calendar here. You don’t need to wait for an invitation. Not a local? Read on for how you can help too.
For those of you who have not yet purchased official event photos, now is the time. Jayme Burtis has generously offered to donate HALF of the purchase price to the SMMTC to be used towards recovery efforts. Seriously, these images are sick, he is the real deal and a true cohort.
His website is here. Visit now. Oh, and in the spirit of new beginnings, check out his son Ocean, in his element and a future Backboner for certain.