27 November 2008

Firestorm in Carbon Canyon, Part VI

After twelve days of closure, Carbon Canyon Road was fully reopened last night. Early this morning, I headed out to survey the Brea side of the canyon and see for myself what had been described to me as a scene of devastation. As much as you're told of something like this, you can't get a grasp until you're actually there and not just driving through, but stopping and walking, surveying the scene, taking it all in. Actually, the only way to adequately convey it is to either see it for yourself and words can't do it justice. I'm not all that sure my amateurish photos can, for that matter, but let me post some to try and give some visual imagery to a truly astonishing path of destruction and a potent symbol of the inherent clash that ensues when suburban development meets wildlands. Finally, this is Thanksgiving and there is plenty to be thankful for, naturally. But, scenes such as those I saw this morning lead me to believe more than ever that further development (aside from individual or small home construction) in the canyon should be banned, given climate, traffic, pollution, infrastructure maintenance, and other issues, not to mention the sorry economic situation we're in. From what I understand, the Brea City Council will reopen public testimony concerning the fire at Tuesday's board meeting (this is 2 December @ 7 p.m.), but is not likely to revisit the Canyon Crest proposal until possibly the 20 January meeting, because of reorganization for the next year (deciding on mayor, mayor pro-tem, etc.) and other matters.
Photo descriptions, from top to bottom (as with all photos on blog posts, you can click on the image to enlarge it and then scroll up/down and across to see greater detail):
1) A charred emergency call box eastbound on Hwy. 142 in Brea before entering Sleepy Hollow.
2) Sign at Olinda Village thanking responders for their brave work during the fires.
3) Gated entry to road leading into the hills north of Hwy. 142, just west of Olinda Village.
4) Chino Hills State Park area south of Hwy. 142 with a sign about areas "Closed for Plant Rehabilitation".
5) Chino Hills State Park area just south of Hwy. 142.
6) Carbon [Canyon] Creek heading west towards the junction with Soquel Canyon Creek and just south of Hwy. 142.
7) Looking east at the west end of the La Vida Mineral Springs property into Carbon [Canyon] Creek.
8) La Vida Mineral Springs property looking east where the old bridge was leading to the hotel and including Carbon [Canyon] Creek. Note the bridge piling base.
9) La Vida Mineral Springs property looking west from the parking area towards the extant water tanks.
10) Area just east of La Vida Mineral Springs looking west. Note that shoots of arundo, which totally burned throughout the Brea side of the canyon, but which is already returning and which can grow several inches per day.
11) The burned out house at the horse stables just east of La Vida Mineral Springs. One the few home losses in the canyon, but witness to the devastation that fire can bring.
12) The stables and other portions of the stable property mentioned above.

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