There is a strong temptation right now for mountain bikers (and hikers and equestrians) to suit up and head out to survey the devastation of the recent Thomas Fire. There are a number of reasons why it is best to fight the urge and limit your riding (now that the air quality is good again) to areas that did not burn.
The Forest Is Closed
The first reason to stay off the burned trails is that the forest is closed. I think. The Los Padres National Forest website is so confusing and unclear that I’ll bet only rangers know exactly where trails and dirt roads are open and closed in or near the forest. You can try to figure it out by clicking here. Good luck.
You Ruin A Great Trail
The second reason to stay out of the burn area is that riding in the burn area can cause extensive trail damage. Foliage that once helped define a single track is gone. This allows trail users to inadvertently widen the trail or tempt them to add short-cuts or trail blaze.
Mountain bikers in Ventura County are so fortunate to have so many riding options available. If the trails you ride did get burned, you shouldn’t have any problems finding an alternative ride in an area not affected by the burn.