Life is beginning to return to normal in California’s Santa Ynez Valley after the Zaca Fire forced dozens of people to evacuate for more than two weeks, according to KSBY-TV, San Luis Obispo.
Closed for more than two weeks, some Santa Ynez recreational facilities prepare to welcome back campers. With Labor Day weekend just around the corner, outdoor enthusiasts now have a choice of three more campgrounds to pitch their tents.
But not everyone is so sure campers will be ready to come back.
Forced to close after the Zaca Fire’s flames moved uncomfortably close, the Rancho Oso Guest Ranch is one of three area recreational facilities re-opening its gates. The other two recreational areas are the Sage Hill and Paradise campgrounds.
One inconvenience is a ban on one essential for roughing it, a campfire.
“We have it all. The only thing we don’t have is a fire and so sitting around the fireless camp last night was a bit odd. It’s the first time we’ve gone camping without a fire,” said Rancho Oso camper Beth Elinthorpe.
While the re-opening comes in time for one of the campgrounds’ biggest holiday weekends, some people are concerned the fire could scare people away.
“We were expecting a lot of people for Labor Day weekend, we’re now wondering if we are going to get a lot of people for Labor Day weekend,” said ranch spokesman Bill Krzyston. “People may not be aware of the damage of the fire, of where the extent of it came from.”
As word of the re-opening begins to spread, Beth Elinthorpe and her two sons are enjoying the luxury of being the only campers on the property.
“Quiet, very quiet we had a great night, we shared it with a lot of raccoons but no actual people,” said Elinthorpe.
Some of Rancho Oso’s horse trails are still closed because they lead in to the Los Padres National Forest.