Bridge Fire Aftermath

Bridge Fire Aftermath title=
Bridge Fire Aftermath
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By John Wiley

We went looking for "The Couch" where the Bridge Fire may have started, and it was easy to find. It was past the South end of the short street to the San Marcos Foothills (gate at the North end). There are K-rail barricades at the Salvar intersection blocking that South end now, but past those on a small embankment above the East side of the street is some burned furniture (circled in red - see above). Some assorted empty booze bottles are scattered around that area.

We got a closer look and they may have been two sectional sofa pieces with two recliners in at least the left one.

Climbing up to the fence line we got a look at what may have saved homes at the bottom of the hill. I've accentuated the red PhosChek fire retardant that was dropped in a horizontal line between the foreground scorched earth and the green trees beyond. It painted the ground, trees, and boulders a reddish hue. Looks like the helicopter then dropped water on the hotspots to help ground crews keep the fire from jumping that line.

Looking to the South end of the burned area you can see a white van coming up the 154 onramp from Foothill Rd. and a car on 154.

That scorched pepper tree in the above pic is behind another row of K-rails at the end of the paved road. Under the canopy it looks to be another popular hangout, and perhaps a long-term "fort" for kids of all ages.

Here's what it looks like from the paved street. The tree & K-rails are apparently visible from 154 and the Foothill onramp.


Somehow oustretched "fingers" from this skeleton of a fallen tree on the West side of that street end evoked a sense of this playground menacing the city beyond.


We spoke briefly with someone involved in preserving the area, who said they hope to fund a foundation to graze the whole area. The church East of here had already paid to have sheep graze there to protect their structure and others nearby from fire. The person we spoke with said grazing also helps the ecology of the Foothills area. A hawk searching the burned area got me wondering how it all looks from the air now.

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Chip of SB Jun 07, 2022 01:39 PM
Bridge Fire Aftermath

Grazing this open space is an excellent idea. I would also suggest clearing out brush and pruning trees to keep their branches well above ground. Cutting some fire roads through the open space would also help tremendously with maintain the land and providing access for firefighting equipment. If properly maintained, this open space area could serve as a valuable buffer to protect against wildfires making a run down the mountain.

a-1654663215 Jun 07, 2022 09:40 PM
Bridge Fire Aftermath

Thank you John, you too are a local treasure of information and views.

TillyBird Jun 07, 2022 11:44 PM
Bridge Fire Aftermath

There have been quite a few times when I was leaving San Marcos preserve after my sunset hike that I would see many cars and trucks gathering near the area the burned couch is. Seems to be a party hangout for sure.

Luvaduck Jun 08, 2022 07:22 AM
Bridge Fire Aftermath

It can't remain a hangout b/c of the clear danger of starting fires below a windy pass. A fire there could travel as fast as the Painted Cave fire and take out housing all the way across 101. Gate it far enough from the end, so carrying coolers and furniture would be a chore and making the area is only accessible to foot traffic and fire/emergency/maintenance vehicles with keys. Once again a few careless bozos screw things up for everybody.

mtndriver Jun 08, 2022 10:27 AM
Bridge Fire Aftermath

Thank you for going out there and documenting all this. It's very helpful to see it all. Sad to say, I don't imagine discovering how this fire started is going to have much effect, if it's just kids partying, which it looks like. Kids will find places to hang out without adult supervision, and they will do risky things, even destructive things. I can imagine some teenager who'd been drinking thinking it would be fun to burn a sofa....with no thought about how the fire could spread. I do hope whoever did it gets caught, but don't anticipate that would be the end of foolishness in the foothills (or elsewhere). Hopefully that particular spot will no longer be a hangout, though!

a-1654770848 Jun 09, 2022 03:34 AM
Bridge Fire Aftermath

I and my friends did a lot of drugs as youngsters in the 70's and 80's. Doing something like THIS would never have crossed our minds. We were post-hippy, in the vein of Joni Mitchell or Jackson Browne, just to mention well-known names. Almost everybody was into music. This is just unimaginable, then and now. Oh well. Good luck to us all.

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