In 2008, the Great Gap Fire scorched more than 10,000 acres in southern Santa Barbara County.
In 2008, the Great Gap Fire scorched more than 10,000 acres in southern Santa Barbara County. The many hundreds of firefighters who responded to the scene did a heroic job of extinguishing it, battling it for days to protect life and property.
The fire greatly impacted Slippery Rock Ranch. Almost 600 acres succumbed to the wildfire, including most of the avocado trees. In the fire’s aftermath, the ranch’s owner and government agencies went to great lengths to restore the ranch to its pre-fire condition, including significant efforts to save the oak trees and replace the lost avocado trees. All of the efforts to preserve the ranch were undertaken in close coordination with the county’s field officer, who had open access to the ranch.
As fire cleanup commenced, dead wood was removed. Trees were trimmed back to reduce future fire risk, and as a result, they are much healthier today. Investments were made to ensure for proper drainage on the ranch – a critical element to preventing floods that are common in the wake of a wildfire during the rainy winter season. Efforts were also taken to ensure nonnative species wouldn’t overtake the ranch and that the native vegetation, including the chaparral, could again flourish on the land. The goal was preservation of the ranch’s habitat.
Local biologist Tamara Klug helps ensure for the ongoing preservation of the ranch’s habitat, which is a priority for the ranch’s owner, as well as the dedicated staff who live and work there.
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