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Signs of Life in Areas Hit by May Fires: UT San Diego Story

A $50,000 fence is now up around a 60-acre land preserve along a busy Carlsbad street. Pricey, but it keeps people out. It’s the only way the property, charred four months ago in the Poinsettia fire, can heal and return to its lush — by California coastal standards — state.

“It’s been working,” said Markus Spiegelberg, who oversees the small preserve owned by the nonprofit Center for Natural Lands Management. “Before the fence went up, we had motorcycles doing doughnuts and people looky-looing around.”

Healing is key, because the sliver of property — a haven for native plants and endangered species crowded out by encroaching development — is part of a patchwork of vital open space for wildlife in this region.

North County’s May firestorms cut a swath through some of those undeveloped areas. Biologists are now monitoring the burn sites to see if invasive plants are taking hold or whether threatened birds have come back.

Natural wildfires can benefit the ecosystem, “but a lot of these fires aren’t naturally caused, and the drought is only exacerbating the situation,” said Simon Breen of the Escondido Creek Conservancy, which owns property in Harmony Grove, near where the Cocos fire burned Read More