Multiple fires threaten San Diego area in early start to season

More Than Homes Lost in the Fires

The fires burned some of residents' favorite outdoor spaces

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Many North County residents are mourning not just the loss of homes, but of their favorite outdoor spaces after May's firestorm. NBC 7's Greg Bledsoe reports.

    Some people's favorite places are gone. 

    When the fires burned through San Diego County last week, the flames not only destroyed dozens of homes, it burned hundreds of acres of open recreational space.

    "It's really scary and really devastating" said Jaime Sherpa, who grew up near the Black Mountain Open Space. "Seeing it like this just really hurts a lot."

    She and her fiance, Cameron McDonald, walked along the Lusardi loop trail on Tuesday, noting how it looked nothing like a week ago, before the Bernardo Fire burned 1,548 acres near the Del Sur community.

    "It's black. It's flat. There's just sticks sticking up and a lot of metal and rocks," said McDonald.

    Construction Work Cause of Bernardo Fire

    [DGO] Construction Work Cause of Bernardo Fire
    Fire investigators say the 1,548-acre Bernardo Fire that sparked in San Diego's North County on May 13, 2014, was caused by flames from excavation at a construction site. NBC 7's Matt Rascon reports.

    According to Bill Harris with the City of San Diego, the Bernardo Fire burned more than 500 acres of open space the city refers to as Tier I-IV habitat.

    Harris said the the city is looking into re-seeding some of the area to stabilize it, but he added that most of it will come back naturally because the plants in that area have strong roots.

    "A fire that destroys everything above the soil often will not kill the plant, similar to how mowing your lawn doesn’t kill it," said Harris.

    Harris said the flames did not cause any damage to the actual trails in the Black Mountain area, but there is some minor damage to the trails from fighting the fires. That damage will be repaired by rangers.

    As of Tuesday, the trails were open.

    "It just feels empty," said Justin Guzman as he finished a mountain bike ride along the Lusardi trail. "It smells like a bonfire out there."

    For Jaime Sherpa and others who use this area, it looks a lot different.

    Now, they're just waiting to see if it will ever look the same.

    "I just hope it comes back fast," she said.