As fall sets in across southern California, dry weather, high temperatures, and Santa Ana winds increase the risk of wildfires on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks. The recent Canyon Fire 2 spread across 9,000 acres of parks and open spaces in Orange County, but with the work of the Orange County Fire Authority and firefighters from across the state the fires have been 100% contained. Irvine Ranch Conservancy invites the community to continue to enjoy the open spaces by registering for fitness or interpretive programs, or help care for the lands by joining a stewardship activity or through the Orange County Fire Watch.
On October 9th 2017 a wildfire started near the intersection of the 91 freeway and 241 toll road and continued to spread through Anaheim Hills and East Orange reaching, reaching various parts of the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks and OC Parks. The coastal sage scrub and chaparral in the area, which dried out after the long summer months, left the plants and brush with very little moisture and contributed to the rapid movement of the fire. Though the fire has been contained, some parks and open spaces remain closed to the public.
Interior areas of Irvine Regional Parks have reopened and the OC Zoo is expected to reopen October 21, conditions permitting. At this time, Peters Canyon, Santiago Oaks, exterior portions of Irvine Regional Park and affected areas of Irvine Ranch Open Space remain closed. While portions of the Landmarks are currently closed, visitors are still encouraged to explore the great outdoors during the below programs. From stewardship programs like the It’s Harvest Time! At the Native Seed Farm, to fitness programs like the After Work Fitness Hike, and Wilderness Access Days, there are programs that cater to a variety of different skill levels and interests and encourage the community to continue to enjoy the lands.
- After Work Fitness Hike on Paved Hicks Haul Road on Monday, October 23 from 6 – 7:30 p.m. encourages the community ages 16 and up to head to Hicks Haul Road in Irvine after work to get moving during the 3.5-mile fitness hike along Loma Ridge.
- It’s Harvest Time! Collect Wildflower Seeds at the Native Seed Farm on Wednesday, October 25 from 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. invites those ages 8 and up to enjoy a morning at the Native Seed Farm in Irvine harvesting native seeds which will have a direct impact on the Landmarks and the wildlife on them.
- Wilderness Access Day: Bommer Canyon on Saturday, October 21 from 8a.m. – 2 p.m. gives nature lovers ages 12 and up and of all skill levels the opportunity to explore Bommer Canyon with self-guided access.
- Wilderness Access Day: Black Star Canyon on Saturday, November 4 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. offers self-guided access for hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders ages 12 and up. Visitors can take time to explore the beautiful landscapes or take a 7+ miles cardio trek through the canyon
Most activities are free with required pre-registration, which closes at 4 p.m. the day prior to each event. Minors ages 18 and younger must be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian. For more details on programs on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks visit LetsGoOutside.org.