- Lisa Parsons
Lake Elsinore is on Fire
In the summer of 1990, I visited the mountains surrounding Lake Elsinore and they were on fire. I worked on a forest service Hot Shot fire crew that traveled around the U.S. chasing forest fires...and hopefully putting them out. When a wild land fire erupts firefighters travel from all over to put it out. Those first few hours and days are chaos as crews stream in to help put out the fire.
With today's social media flashes, a focal point can create a migration that can overwhelm a community and tax even the best of tourist resources. Chaos ensues when droves of people flock to a location to witness an epic (once in a lifetime) event. While not life threatening, southern California is on fire with flowers. Instead of yellow and orange flames there are orange and yellow poppies. Instead of fire camps and lines of firefighters there are traffic jams at freeway off ramps, vehicles parked up and down roadways as lines of tourists stream up the mountain to see hillsides lit up with colorful flowers.
I have to say that it was a beautiful re-connection to visit this area that is now filled with wildflowers instead of wildfire. We avoided the hoards of people by going early and leaving early. As we walked out we saw the streams of people coming up the trail, the off-ramp from the freeway was backing up and that there were few parking spots left along the roadway. We came and witnessed this amazing display of a natural energy and beauty, California Poppies.