California State University, Fullerton

A-Z Index

CSUF Home   »   INSIDE
Tucker Wildlife suffered some damage from the fires

Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary Is Largely Spared by Fire and Storm Waters

Volunteers Sought to Help Clear Debris, Set Up Barriers to Protect From Future Possible Storms

December 3, 2007

By Russ Hudson

The raging fires of October stopped only feet away from the buildings at Cal State Fullerton’s Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary in Orange County's Modjeska Canyon. Late last week (Nov. 30/Dec. 1), while other buildings in the canyon were being damaged or threatened by the mudslides caused by heavy rains on barren slopes, Tucker again narrowly avoided disaster.

Relieved university officials are crossing their fingers and knocking on wood.

“The hay bales and the sand bags we, and a bunch of wonderful volunteers, were going to put on the slopes this weekend are still stacked up out there,” said Marcella Gilchrist, Tucker’s on-site director, from the motel room where she was sent until the current danger is over.

“The rains came before they could be placed and the volunteers weren’t allowed in. Now we’re supposed to have another storm this coming weekend,” she said. “We scheduled volunteers to come out next weekend (Dec. 8 — see details) to set up the bags and bales, but now they may be restricted again. I don’t know if we can get anyone in during the week, before the rains arrive. At least we’re still OK. Not everyone in Modjeska is.”

Canyon residents try to help each other, Gilchrist said, but if the mud covers the road again this weekend, “We won’t even be able to get in to help each other. The most threatening slope to Tucker, the one behind my house, only shed clear water this last storm. Maybe it will stay that way, or maybe we can get the sand bags out there before the next rain.”

Karon Cornell, director of the sanctuary, said she decided Gilchrist should leave Nov. 30, even before the county ordered canyon residents to evacuate. “We were concerned that the only road through the canyon could be covered in mud, then Marcella couldn’t get out. Then she would be in her home with that questionable slope behind her.

“As soon as I can, I’m going to get a licensed geologist out there to assess the stability of the slopes. We want as much information as possible to make decisions about the sanctuary, safety as the rainy season progresses and what activities can resume, including ones that involve research scientists and visiting classes from area schools.

“Temporarily, Tucker is closed,” the director said. “The county has done a good job of clearing the road and the slopes are stable, so we will reopen Wednesday, Dec. 5."

For updated information on Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary, call 714-649-2760.


Back to Top