Santa Barbara- S County

Researchers Surveying Damage To Coal Oil Point Reserve After Fire

Slough Fire Folo

GOLETA, Calif. - UCSB researchers are planning to study the aftermath of a fire that burned nearly 20 acres in the Coal Oil Point Reserve in Goleta.

The reserve is home to endangered and threatened plants and animals, like the Snowy Plover. Coal Oil Point Reserve Director Cristina Sandoval said, "It happened so now we need to make the best of it and we can take the opportunity to learn."

Sandoval says the area hasn't burned since the 1970's and researchers don't know how the environmentally sensitive reserve will bounce back.

"We have no idea how these habitats recover from fire because its not usual for that to occur. Any change is a good opportunity for study," Sandoval said.

Sandoval tells NewsChannel 3, the area should be restored in about two or three years, after some replanting and rehabilitation. But, she cautioned it could take longer.

Investigators are still unable to determine what sparked the fire at the reserve.

Santa Barbara County is working with UCSB to figure out what happened. So far, the cause of the blaze is said to be of an "unknown origin and undetermined."

However, investigators said a witness saw fireworks exploding in the area before the fire broke out.

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