“Wilderness is … a place to go hear the wind, see the stars, smell the pine trees, feel cold water, touch the ground and sky at the same time and listen to coyotes. Fortunately there is wilderness just outside the limits of cities and suburbs … especially in the West.” ~ John Muir
Although interesting in nature, the occurrence of a “wild kitty” just north of Foothill in the middle of the day is disconcerting and sad. The “wilderness just outside … the suburbs” had moved beyond its boundary. While asleep each night, a world just outside our doors awakens. “Where the Wild Things Are” – in the foothills!
Fire, weather, drought all play a role in the current “wildlife show.” We have little control over nature’s acts, but how we relate can change the outcome.
Close to three years ago, the slow moving Station Fire left our mountains almost totally stripped of vegetation. Typically, fires are wind-driven and spread quickly resulting in a faster recovery. We prepared for flooding and instead had two years of below normal rainfall. The NWS cites our area as “drought development likely.” Humans may have the capability to survive the conditions, but wild animals living close by don’t. So into our backyards they come, seeking water and food.
Imagine this scene: evening time at a home with a lush green lawn and a hungry rabbit. Add a pool and a thirsty and thin coyote lurking in the dark. A family’s cat or dog with an overflowing bowl of gourmet kibble and cool fresh water. A ravenous mountain lion bravely enters the scene. Anything can happen. Some of these animals will get a meal, some will become a meal or may be captured and returned to the mountains still hungry.
We can help…
1. Feed and water pets indoors.
2. Keep cats inside. Also small dogs, unless supervised.
3. All animals stay in at night (sorry, Abby)
4. Don’t feed any wild animals!
5. Always watch small children!
Now for the winds. Currently blowing from the NE, they are real Santa Anas. Accompanying temperatures will be well into the 80s (maybe 90 degrees) into the weekend. Cooling begins Sunday and continues into next week as an onshore flow returns.
I wish the mountains were as green as our pool!
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.