On the weekend of June 4th Mountains Restoration Trust’s headquarters fell victim to the Old Fire in Calabasas. The fire started from downed power lines caused by a car crash close to the office on Mullholland Highway. The fire quickly burned up 516 acres of the Santa Monica Mountains. The office building, which was a converted home, was devastated after the old wooden patio awning caught fire and the flames rapidly spread throughout the house. We were fortunate in that the historic Masson House on the property was completely spared and that no one was seriously injured. We have been able to salvage many files and hard drives from the computers that did not burn up, but many irreplaceable artifacts were lost.
This fire, though tragic, is an opportunity for Mountains Restoration Trust to rebuild and become stronger than ever. It is not stopping us from continuing our restoration projects; in fact, many members of the field crew were back out working on our projects by the following Tuesday! We have a commitment to preserve, enhance, and restore the natural resources of the Santa Monica Mountains and we will continue to do that. We can now use our skills right on our own headquarters’ property, as we work to enhance and restore the coast live oak woodlands and riparian areas that were burned there.
The office will be torn down and we have plans to create a nature focused demonstration center for the community and beyond. The center will show how we can live in an urban-wildland setting. There will be native gardens, interpretive activities, a community presentation room, public bathrooms, and more.
As for now, we are asking for financial assistance in order to continue our operations. We have moved our office into the Masson House and are in the process of replacing many of the items lost. We are working to replace the tools used in the field, such as shovels, gloves, hoses, waders, and buckets, along with office supplies, such as computers, telephones, and filing cabinets. As we are in a scramble to get the projects going full force again, we are appreciative of any and all help.
From fire comes regrowth, and so we are looking forward to the future of Mountains Restoration Trust!