Los Padres Forest Issues Closure Order Following Storm Damage

By the Los Padres National Forest

Los Padres National Forest officials today issued a 60-day closure order for four ranger districts in response to the extreme winter storm that delivered punishing rain and wind across the Forest this week. This closure order takes effect immediately.

The closure order will be superseded or terminated when conditions and recreational access improves. Forest employees will be assessing the extent of the damage over the coming weeks and months and will scale back the closure based on improving conditions.

Over the last month, Los Padres received more than 100 percent of its annual rainfall along with extremely damaging wind events. The “atmospheric river” delivered record rainfall amounts January 8-10 ranging from 17 inches at San Marcos Pass on the Santa Barbara RD to 18 inches in the Ojai RD backcountry. These weather events have caused flooding, debris flows, slope failures, bridge, road and trail failures, and serious impacts to administrative and recreation facilities.

Public access to Los Padres recreation sites is limited or not currently possible due to compromised roadways. Weather forecasts predict additional precipitation at variable intensities and amounts over the next week on top of  already saturated conditions. Future storm events are expected to compound existing damage.

The full extent of damage to the Forest will be known once a full assessment is completed, which will likely take many weeks. Forest personnel are continuing to work with city, county and state partners on post-storm damage assessments and repairs when conditions are safe for work and travel.

“We’re taking this precautionary step to ensure visitor safety as we determine the extent of the damage and develop a strategy to prioritize and address the extensive impacts to infrastructure and natural resources,” said Los Padres Forest Supervisor Chris Stubbs. “I’m asking the public to heed the closure order while these recovery efforts are underway. My intention is to re-open closed areas as soon as it’s safe to do so.”

Forest Service law enforcement officers will strictly enforce the closure order, which carries a penalty of $5,000 and/or six months in jail.

For more information, please visit Los Padres National Forest’s website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/lpnf.


Written by LosPadresForest

Public information provided by the Los Padres National Forest.

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  1. Wait…. so for the next 60 days you could be fined or jailed for entering the Los Padres Forest at any point? No Cachuma fishing, no checking out the SY River, no entry of any kind? The order itself says “Going into or being upon any area….” So we’re basically being banned from the forest for the next 2 months?

  2. I’ve noticed a lot of articles have mentioned the record rainfall recorded on the San Marcos pass. I think it’s helpful to put these records in context. The data for the San Marcos pass goes back to the the 1965-1966 water year. Data for Santa Barbara goes back to 1868 on the county hydrology website. The wettest year in Santa Barbara was 1997, with the 1940-1941 water year coming in a close second. It will be interesting to see how much more rain we get this water year and whether we challenge those records. In addition, I would be very curious to know how much rain fell in Santa Barbara during the great flood of 1861-1862 when the Goleta slough was filled in with sediment and the Central Valley became an inland sea. Does know of any rainfall measurements taken in Santa Barbara county recording this event?

  3. I’d like to redirect everyone to the second paragraph. Pretend it’s all in bold:
    “The closure order will be superseded or terminated **when conditions and recreational access improves. Forest employees will be assessing the extent of the damage over the coming weeks and months and will scale back the closure based on improving conditions.”
    Maybe read more carefully?

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