A Little River that Could

Janine Comrack | Ojai, California

This might be different kind of love story for a river. The Ventura River, which I live next to, is dry throughout most of the year. However, this wonderful river became a key factor in allowing the firefighters a chance to develop that natural firebreak and take a stand that essentially kept our section of the Ojai Valley safe from the Thomas Fire that has the dubious distinction of becoming the largest fire in California history. The day and night (in December) that the stand was made, the Santa Ana winds were supposed to gain in ferocity. Those 60+ mph winds did not develop and the firefighters used that time to use the Ventura River as the break which would allow them to be able to fight the fire, saving our homes as a result. I love that river (and the firefighters as well) with all my heart. In its normal life, it provides a beautiful place to walk, hike, horseback ride and bike. Not only does it provide riparian habitat for birds and other animals (because it does have water moving through it at times), but it is a natural firebreak for our community.

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