Mountain Monday: Magic Land

Communities still in need after wildfires

By Meggan Wenbourne

The fire line in the distance and the firebreak for Murphys in the foreground.

The fire line in the distance and the firebreak for Murphys in the foreground.

There’s something to be said about a world after a forest fire.

My hometown of Murphys, located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, was fortunately spared in mid-September’s Butte Fire, but had been in prep mode, ready to evacuate if the fire turned its direction. This last weekend was my first time back in the area since the blaze ripped through the surrounding towns and ridgelines and it was an eye opening experience to say the least.

With fire breaks cut throughout the properties on the outskirts of town, the actual fire line could be seen in the distance with nothing left behind it but open space and blackness. We found ourselves tromping around the hills and hidden nooks and crannies of this sweet little town as we came to grips with just how much this fire took away.

I am so thankful my town was spared this catastrophe. Murphys was lucky; other towns and communities were not.

Winter is closing in quickly on the Sierra with snow falling almost on a weekly basis now and blanketing the Stanislaus forest in white. Hopefully this season with give some healing moisture and allow for regrowth not only of the forest lands, but of the communities in the Sierra, as well as Lake County, affected by fires as well.

Click here for a list of ways you can help those affected by the Valley and Butte Fires, as many people have lost everything. (This was the most comprehensive list I was able to find; however, I am sure there are more ways to help too.)

Sending love to Lake County and the Sierra.

Grown trees were the only things left standing in an effort to keep the fire (which was traveling a foot a second at some points) from running up the canyon outside of Murphys, should it get that close.

Grown trees were the only things left standing in an effort to keep the fire (which was traveling a foot a second at some points) from running up the canyon outside of Murphys, should it get that close.

A cheerful and beautiful reminder of the change of the seasons.

A cheerful and beautiful reminder of the change of the seasons.


Meg-IndiansMeggan Wenbourne is an avid climber, mountain biker and backpacker who works and plays in Santa Cruz, CA. She spends her time traveling to the mountains as often as possible to get lost in the pine trees and explore the granite rock of the Sierra Nevada range and has recently developed an obsession with the desert and its red rocks. When not away on an adventure, she can be found eating burritos and training at Pacific Edge Climbing Gym, riding amazing trails in the Santa Cruz Mountains or nestled away in her cozy tiny house with cookies and adventure reading.

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