April 19, 2018

GPA Joins Volunteer Effort to Restore Thomas Fire Burn Areas

GPA Consulting Staff Repairs Trail


The Thomas Fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties is the largest wildfire in modern California history. It burned from December 4, 2017, to January 12, 2018, scorching 281,893 acres, destroying 1,063 structures and damaging 280 more, and forcing the evacuation of 104,607 residents from their homes. Just prior to the fire being fully contained, rain fell on the burn areas, causing extensive flooding and mudflows. This region of California is known for its natural beauty. The area was devastated.


Today, the burn areas are bouncing back, due in part to numerous volunteers coming from all areas of California to help restore vegetation and stabilize slopes. On Saturday, April 7, 15 volunteers from GPA Consulting headed to Ventura County to build a culvert, or open drain, along a popular Ojai Valley trail washed out by rains after the fire.


“During the first quarterly GPA Service Committee Meeting, it became evident that the Committee wanted to focus on a way to help those impacted by the terrible Thomas Fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties,” said Erinn Silva, a Senior Environmental Planner at GPA and the chair of the company’s Service Committee. “Some of our own GPA family was impacted by the fires, and so were many of our clients in that area.”


Erinn coordinated the project through Ojai Valley Land Conservancy with the help of GPA Senior Biologist Sheri Mayta, a former Restoration Project Coordinator for OVLC and a resident of Ventura affected by the fires.


“I think this was a way for our company to reach out and do something, however small, to improve an area that many of us care about,” Erinn said. “I consider the Service Project a great success.”