In the midst of a long and destructive wildfire season here in California and across the West, we are reflecting back on the Loma Fire, a massive fire that burned close to home and continues to be a focus for the Authority, two years later.
On September 26, 2016, the Loma Fire took hold of the Santa Cruz Mountains south of San Jose. The fire burned for two weeks across more than 4,400 acres, including 2,000 acres of Authority lands, destroying homes, sensitive wildlife habitat, and native vegetation.
While the scars on the land are still visible two years later, the landscape continues to regrow. Check out this video below to see how the area has changed over time and the plants that have made a comeback.
To manage the ongoing risk of serious wildfires, the Authority’s field staff works year-round to reduce the risk of future wildfires on Open Space Authority lands. They maintain what are called “fuel breaks,” strips of land where the vegetation has been cut back twenty feet from either side of the road to create a large buffer zone that can stop a fire from spreading across the road. This summer, they worked to maintain a shaded fuel break on the buffer that stopped the Loma Fire from spreading to the North.
Our hearts go out to everyone who has been affected by this year’s fires and the people that are working every day to fight the ongoing fires and to mitigate future risk to our communities and open spaces.