SALINAS, Calif. (KION) Over a month after fire broke out near Pine Canyon, Toro County Park is quiet. The park served as a basecamp for first responders during the River Fire and when the fire spread it suffered massive loss.
"I'm not going to lie, we sat back, a lot of us, including the CalFire guys, and shed a tear seeing how much of our park that we loved was going up in flames," said Monterey County Parks Operations Manager, Bryan Flores.
Between 3,500 and 4,000 acres of once green, scenic land at the park is left charred. Almost all trails, once used for hiking and biking, are destroyed. Some areas are reduced to just ash.
"It is a fragile ecosystem. CalFire crews are still doing suppression and repair work, as well as dozers and hand crews," said Flores.
Flores warned of the still dangerous conditions at the park. Large trees that appear sturdy could fall at any moment. Parts of the property could still be smoldering.
"The Sheriff has been called multiple times. Everyday we see new footprints and new bike tracks. We've had people coming into the park in different areas on motorcycles at night," said Flores.
The park is under a strict and indefinite closure. Flores said that means all trespassers will be cited.
While park officials knows many people are anxious to return, right now the focus is on finding the right time to rebuild and repair. "We just need to see what happens, how much debris comes down and identify the areas that are safe. We need to make it safe for the community to come in and help us with our rebuilding efforts," said Flores.
An official date for reopening has yet to be set.