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.