TO THE FUTURE: While an epic fire event grabs our attention while it is in full blaze, it's always important to remember the areas that were impacted in the weeks, months, and even the years following the devastation. There's always much important work to be done by various agencies to reopen nature areas and ensure public safety, but our thoughts also go to the people returning to their homes and businesses and what is next for them. A good reminder of this, as we watch the Mountain Fire evacuation order lifted for several towns in and around San Jacinto, is Julian, which survived a few massive firestorms in the last decade, including the Cedar Fire of 2003. One of the first messages following each fire was this: Come to Julian. Many of SoCal's quaint mountain towns, like the historic Gold Rush burg, rely on visitors, and a disruption of even a few days is absolutely felt.
WITH THAT IN MIND... let's pause to give the local love to Idyllwild and those communities that were evacuated earlier this week. The busy summer tourism season goes on, and Idyllwild will host one of its biggest annual events in a matter of weeks, Jazz in the Pines, on Aug. 17-18. It's year 20 for the alfresco music weekend, and many people drive up the big hill to relax and take in some sax and sweet tuneage. No note is yet listed on the site regarding the fire, so we expect, as of this typing, that the venerable event will go forward, as will all of the autumn events the foliage-sweet town hosts. (One positive message on the Facebook page for Jazz in the Pines: "It's been a tough week, but better days are ahead!")
ALSO... the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway closed as well due to Mountain Fire smoke and remains closed as of Sunday morning, July 21. That, too, is a business we can lend a little support when it reopens. One note to consider: Do keep tabs on the official sites for all of these businesses and towns to see when and where they are at in terms of welcoming tourists again. Some businesses and towns are up and around quite quickly following evacuations while other areas must take a little time. The upshot, though, is to visit when we can and lend a hand, or at least a few dollars, to the places and people who weathered the fire.