Cachuma Lake Recreation Area reopens following Whittier Fire
Cachuma Lake is completely open again following evacuations ordered because of the Whittier Fire.
Day-use reopened on Tuesday. On Wednesday, camping re-opened, and by Friday, the lake opened again.
"We've got a lot of people who rebooked canceled reservations, and it looks like we're going to have a full house this weekend so we're excited to have everyone come back to the lake," said Jeff Lindgren, Cachuma Lake Operations Manager.
For some who were evacuated when the Whittier Fire broke out, there was limited time to pack up.
"People just had to get up and walk away and leave all their things," Lindgren said.
In the Mohawk area of the park, full campsites remain untouched by people and the fire. For the last few days, Lindgren says campers who were rushed out have been picking up their belongings. For now, they're being stored with security.
"Most of those cases people have come back already and were able to retrieve their belongings, so we confirm the person was reserved for that Saturday and we let them take their goods," Lindgren said.
As the fire blazed through parts of Santa Barbara County, Robert Rios of Orange County says he was watching the clock, not sure if the lake and camping would be open for his camping reservation.
"I was calling them daily whether or not we were going to be able to come down here," Rios said.
Some boaters, like Bob Uradnicek of Santa Barbara, weren't so lucky when the lake was closed last week.
"We usually come up on Tuesdays and Thursdays and obviously with the fire we were not able to get through," Uradnicek said.
After catching some trout and catfish, he made up for that lost time on Friday.
Lindgren says there is no concern over the water quality following the fire. As for the trees that were burned, he says an arborist was scheduled to examine some of the oaks in the affected area to determine if they needed to be removed.