SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - Front Country trails on the Santa Barbara South Coast are included in the full Los Padres National Forest closure that runs through at least Monday.
All National Forests in California are currently off-limits as extreme fire danger conditions persist. Crews continue to battle massive wildfires across the state, leaving fire resources stretched thin.
Some Santa Barbara Front Country trails begin on Los Padres land, while others eventually extend into the Forest. Trails in either situation are closed through the weekend--as part of a joint effort between the U.S. Forest Service, the City of Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara County.
Santa Barbara County Parks Superintendent Jeff Lindgren listed the following trails as part of the closure.
- Jesusita Trail
- Tunnel Trail
- Rattlesnake Trail
- East and West Cold Springs Trail
- San Ysidro Trail
- Hot Springs Trail
- Romero Trail
- Baron Trail
- Franklin Trail
Signs explaining the closure are posted at multiple trailheads. They read, in part, "USE OF THE TRAILS WILL CONTRIBUTE TO and EXASURBATE [sic] FIRE POTENTIAL AND IMPACT to FRONT COUNTRY RESOURCES."
Lindgren also says that cars parked near trailheads this weekend could be ticketed.
“I think the most important thing is that people understand the spirit of the closure,” said Ashlee Mayfield of the Montecito Trails Foundation. “And the spirit of the closure is really to honor how thinly-stretched the fire resources are.”
Several groups still ventured out to hike trails in the Montecito area Friday morning, either missing the notices or deciding to ignore them.
“I understand also how people feel like if there’s no enforcement of a closure, then there isn’t a closure,” Mayfield said. “But that’s not exactly how the world works. We have to work a little bit on the honor system. Especially when first responders are stretched thin.”
Even with cooler weather on the South Coast this week, the conditions can be much different in Los Padres.
“Even though it feels foggy or cool in town, by the time you climb a mile up there, it’s 20 degrees warmer,” Mayfield said. “It’s dry and there really is a fire danger.”