Hi all, just wanted to make a comment on the number or roadside fires that are being reported over the last several weeks.
From Hollister Ranch, Nojoqui Falls, Foxen Canyon Rd, the 166, and even one that popped up sometime this past Sunday on Painted Cave Rd. just above from Fire Crags. I am so thankful the roadside weed abatement is in progress, but these fires are starting way before they should. I was especially disheartened to see packages of fireworks for sale at Albertson's in Goleta, today. I think it just means we need to be extra vigilant in not only maintaining our roadsides, but being keenly aware of out of area cars parked on the roads.
We were waiting for full blown fire season to start before patrolling, but perhaps we need to start earlier. Thoughts?
Thanks, Jessica, for your updates. I am very impressed that you investigated the status of overnight camping along our mountain roads. I agree that "long-term" camping gets the Sheriff's attention. I have been making calls over the years, with some success, for long-term campers. I called today on these two vans, which I have seen for multiple days in various pull outs along San Marcos and Painted Cave roads. AS LONG AS THE CALLS TO THE SHERIFF ARE MADE BEFORE 7:00 AM, then it gets the Sheriff's attention. After 7:00, it is considered daytime and not a problem. The number to call for Sheriff dispatch is 805 681 4100. For early Painted Cave commuters, if you have evidence of long-term camping going on, please let the Sheriff know. It has been and continues to be a risk to all of us to have camping along our roads. The fire rings on West Camino Cielo are a big wake up call. Let's be more defensive. The squeaky wheel gets the grease! Please join me in making reports to the Sheriff. Thanks!
Hi Gordon - We tried to get some clarification from the Forest Service, the Sheriff, and County Rds last year - it went about how you would expect it would. Everyone points to the other agencies and shrugs. "Recreating" is allowed, but not long term camping. The Forest Service closed their campgrounds due to the pandemic, but then a week later announced that campfires and charcoal stoves were allowed throughout the entire forest area. They made a second identical announcement this month as well.
As an important correction - I was back at Alberton's today, and scrutinized their many displays of packages of exploding things before I asked for the manager. They are covered with pictures of 'splosions, fireworks and scream "TNT Brand!" - but they are just 'poppers' in many shapes and colors, and boxes of the old school 'snaps' - tiny white wrapped jobs that you throw at some unsuspecting person's feet - scaring the bejeezus out of them.... 'cause, you know, that's hilarious.
The fire ring is just what I am talking about. This concern may just be my next big project. This will take legal and governmental studies to get it right to be effective, long term. Any connected, legally savvy, qualified people interested?
Thanks, Jessica, for your concerns regarding car fires. The MET clearing of Painted Cave Road is a big help, reducing the risk of catalytic converter brush fires and dangers from cigarettes, etc. Over the many years on my hikes up and down PC Road, I have tried to report concerns about long-term campers. The Sheriff Department has been very responsive to my calls of concern. I need to learn more about the legality of overnight camping on our roads, as we have a big uptick going on lately. The random overnighters are one thing. The long-term ones can get very problematic, even dangerous. I was attacked viciously on April 6, 2018, by a German Shepherd, encouraged by its owner, who still camps out in our mountains---not around the Trout Club any more, but other places (West Camino Cielo), for sure. There are a lot of issues with the "homeless" campers, the Euros with their Sprinters, etc., etc. I would be happy to work with a ad hoc task force to explore the legal issues and enforcement options to get a more proactive position on these concerns. Too much is at stake to just turn a blind eye. Thanks again!
This was sent by a neighbor on E. Camino Cielo today.... from the turn out below the big hairpin.