Monday, June 27, 2005

BMB05/21 Big Morongo Canyon Preserve Paradise Fire

The fire is out and the fire fighters have all left the Preserve, which remains closed until further notice.

Dee and BLM personnel have been reviewing the affected parts of the Preserve and BLM will shortly produce a damage assessment report, together with a determination as to how best to repair the damage.

Dee Mike and I toured the preserve, or rather those parts not damaged by fire, this morning and my reading of how it went follows

The fire swept down between the barn, destroying it, and the hillside; how the few houses there escaped is quite amazing. The fire swept down to about 27 on the Marsh Trail (just as the marsh itself commences) and devastated the Mesquite Trail, leaving the steps from Marsh Trail to the Barn. Dee described Mesquite as ‘Scorched Earth’ and that is what it looks like. The fire swept down to the Canyon Trail and appeared to go East and West taking out some of the Canyon Trail and doing a lot of damage to Yucca Ridge. The west Fork was burned and the Ridge fire extended well to the east. Fire reached to within 50 yards of the Nature Centre – and less to Dave’s trailer and the tractor parked there.

But we have much to be thankful for. There is one complete trail untouched, Desert Willow/Marsh. The Marsh Trail is good from one thru twenty-six; we heard a Rail, Chats and a Bells Vireo this morning and saw Summer Tanagers and a Ladderback. The Marsh Trail is also good from the Kiosk to below the Nature Centre and the Park and meadow are untouched; Yerba Mansa is in bloom down by the Morongo Fault.
For all this we are thankful.

Midge Hood and Gil McDonald are both out of circulation fighting cancer. Our thoughts and prayers are with them and we wish them a speedy recovery and a return to birding.
Oak Glen 30th June 2005. We plan to meet at Denny's, Indian and I10 at 730am. Bring Water and a picnic. Should be an early finish and if apple followers wish to continue, we can do that

I will keep you advised…………