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White Fire burn zone reopens to campers and day use visitors

Popular areas along Paradise Rd. in the Santa Ynez Valley, burned in the White Fire last month have opened. Many people are now enjoying the campsites, trails and swimming holes.

The White Fire broke out on Memorial Day and burned 1984 acres, one building and two vehicles.

“It’s not enough that it permanently damaged the campgrounds, that we can’t open it up,” said Los Padres National Forest-Santa Barbara District Ranger Pancho Smith.
“There’s not much water in the river and there’s a lot of ash out there and shade trees are gonna be burnt.”

About six miles down Paradise Road, some families found a place to cool off in the Santa Ynez River that is noticeably dry in many areas.

“I am glad it’s this size. I was thinking it would be bigger but this is good,” said Bella Vasquez who was splash fighting with her family in waist deep water.

But the lack of a flowing river was a surprise to those who have been coming here for years.

“We’ve been here a million times and have had good times here,” said Diomedes Mercedes. “Now it looks a lot different.”

The area is a valuable resource for the forest and local community.

“I talk to people nearly every day, everywhere I am,” said Smith. “They talk about how they grew up fishing here. They grew up camping here. They went there with their grandparents. They went there with their parents, and want to take their kids. It is very much a treasure of the Los Padres National Forest.”

For further information contact the Los Padres National Forest at

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