Recent major wildfires in San Diego County have caused significant damage to the Hellhole Canyon Open Space Preserve. The 2003 Paradise fire was fierce and completely burned the Preserve. The 2007 Poomacha fire burned lightly and in only some sections of the Preserve. While fire is a natural part of the southern California ecology, fires too frequent can prevent native California habitats from recovering properly, clearing the way for even more fire-prone non-native invasive weeds and grasses to spread. Today, in spite of two relatively recent fires, the Preserve is making a robust recover. Friends volunteers and local wildlife biologists are assembling sound scientific information about how the fires have affected the Preserve's ecological health.
The Hellhole Canyon Open Space Preserve is located in what is today called the "suburban-wildlands" interface. Local government, the public and environmental organizations work to balance a proper and safety-first response to fire suppression, protection of homes and property and natural fire ecology. The Friends has been an early and consistent advocate of low-density residential development in the suburban-wildlands interface as a way to prevent putting more lives at risk while conserving areas of high fire risk to nature. We support the County's General Plan 2020 which strives to direct residential density to areas that can support it with sufficient levels of police, fire and transportation infrastructure, while keeping in low residential density areas remote from town centers where public infrastructure is hard to create and support.
We hope to post here soon up-to-date information about the biological effects of the 2003 and the 2007 wildfires that swept thru the Preserve. Many of our members and neighbors have been affected by the fires. While recovery is underway, the fires nevertheless have been a tragedy for both people and nature.
San Diego Fire Recovery Network
Wayne Spencer firstname.lastname@example.org and Rick Halsey email@example.com, both local biologists, can help answer questions about San Diego County fire recovery matters. Jon Keeley Jon_Keeley@usgs.gov and Dr. Paul Zedler firstname.lastname@example.org have done extensive fire ecology research in our county and may also be of assistance.
Media Coverage of the Paradise Fires related to Hellhole Canyon
Fire Damage at Hellhole Canyon - North County Times, 11-20-07 Bulldozer Scar Follows Fire
Celebrating the Salvation of Hellhole Canyon, San Diego Union Tribune, Celebrating the Salvation of Hellhole
San Diego County Parks Department News 4-23-04, San Diego County Parks -- News and Events
Hellhole Canyon Reopens after Devastating Fire, San Diego Union Tribune, 4-23-04, Hellhole Reopens after Paradise Fire