Wendy Fire in Newbury Park Burned 91 Acres in Rancho Sierra Vista on October 10th

The “Wendy Fire” started at 7:11 p.m. on Thursday, October 10th in the Rancho Sierra Vista open space in Newbury Park, within the Santa Monica Mountains. The fire was seen quite clearly from Potrero Road, near the intersection of Wendy Drive.

It was a nerve wracking moment for local residents, as the flames were clearly visible and the Santa Ana winds were unpredictable. It was just six years ago that the Springs Fire burned near this area, down to PCH, and then back up towards the Conejo Valley when the winds shifted.

But our local fire responders, armed with a helicopter doing constant water drops and a bulldozer going up to and nearly into the flames to create a fireline, along with winds that were pushing towards the ocean, we managed to survive unscathed.

Thankfully, no structures were lost. We were quite concerned that the flames might impact the Satwiwa Native American Culture Center. The National Park Service announced on Friday that it was not impacted.

The cause of the fire is currently unknown.

It was last reported that the blaze was 91 acres.

The park and surrounding trails are expected to reopen on Sunday, October 13 at 6 a.m. Saturday events at this site have been cancelled.

The site will remain closed through Saturday, October 12th. The park and surrounding trails will reopen at 6am on Sunday, Odtober 13th.

Firefighter engines and personnel from Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, Yosemite National Park, Redwood National Park, California State Parks, Ventura County Fire, Los Angeles County Fire, Los Angeles City Fire, Ventura City and Oxnard City and Ventura County Sheriffs (Thousand Oaks) assisted in fighting the fire.

Southern California Edison Has Announced Possible Public Safety Power Shutoffs

Southern California Edison (SCE) and other energy companies in California have announced the possibility of preventative power shutoffs in areas where there are elevated wildfire risks.

Much of the Conejo Valley and greater Ventura County are considered to be of extreme risk, according to a the California Public Utilities Commission. A map showing high fire threat areas is at https://ia.cpuc.ca.gov/firemap/.

This is how Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) works, according to SCE:

  • When elevated fire conditions (e.g. strong winds) present a clear danger, SCE may shut off power temporarily on specific power lines for public safety.

  • SCE intends to notify customers of potential shutoffs 2 days in advance via email, text or phone call. They may also send another notice to customers a day in advance.

  • SCE will also notify local governments, the emergency management community and first responders.

  • SCE will update customers regularly via its website and social media.

SCE can sign up for alerts at www.sce.com/outagealerts.

Additional information and updates will be posted at www.vcemergency.com.

Additional safety tips during an outage from SCE:

  • Disconnect all sensitive electronics to prevent damage or loss of data.

  • If you use a portable gas generator, use it outdoors only.

  • Don’t connect a generator to your home’s circuit breaker panel.

  • Consider obtaining extra fuel for your generator for extended outages and keep the fuel in approved containers in a safe location away from ignition sources.

Former Olympia Farms Property on the Rancho Potrero Open Space

The Rancho Potrero Open Space area is located in Newbury Park off of Lynn Road, just east of the intersection with Rancho Dos Vientos. The area includes an equestrian center where the former Rocking K Horse Rentals (now Rancho Potrero Community Equestrian Center) is located and is adjacent to the Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa area in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

On the west end of the space is a a property that used to be called Olympia Farms, which was owned by Greek immigrant, textile businessman and Arabian horse breeder George Patarias Huck. (Huck was tragically shot and killed in front of his home in Mt. Olympus in August 1984 at age 46.)

Huck's 640 property was sold to the Mountains Recreation and Conservancy, City of Thousand Oaks, Conejo Recreation and Park District and National Park Service for $4.2 million in 1993. 312 acres were carved out as an addition to Rancho Sierra Vista. The remainder is part of Rancho Potrero, which is maintained by the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency (COSCA).

You can explore the Olympia Farms area when hiking in the area, to find large piles of old ranch buildings.

These old ranch buildings are actually a Ventura County historical point of interest that was designated as such in May 1986. According to the City of Thousand Oaks, there were two large barns built in 1930 on the Dos Vientos Ranch. Joseph Lewis, business partner of City of Camarillo namesake Adolfo Camarillo, farmed 8,000 acres of land in this area. The barns were dismantled to make room for home development in Dos Vientos and the lumber currently resides here. The Conejo Recreation & Park District is working with the Conejo Valley Historical Society in finding other appropriate uses for these materials, such as displays at the Stagecoach Inn Museum in Newbury Park.

Historic 1930 Dos Vientos Ranch buildings dismantled on stored here

Historic 1930 Dos Vientos Ranch buildings dismantled on stored here

Seven Flat, Stroller and Family Friendly Hikes in the Conejo Valley

There is a ring of about 15,000 acres of open space with 140 miles of trails for public use surrounding the Conejo Valley. All too often on the Conejo Valley Guide Facebook Page we hear requests for which trails are "stroller friendly" and/or suitable for young children. Here is a sampling of some of the more popular ones in the area.

Wildwood Park to many is the single greatest spot for family hikes and stroller-friendly trails. With 14 trails covering 17 miles, including the popular hike to Paradise Falls and the teepee as well as some wide, relatively flat sections along the Mesa Trail towards Lizard Rock.

It takes a bit of driving via the Norwegian Grade and Santa Rosa Road to get there, but the Conejo Canyons Bridge in the Western Plateau area of the Conejo Open Space leads to several miles of nice, flat, well-maintained family-friendly trails leading to tree-canopied picnic areas. NOTE: THE BRIDGE WAS SEVERELY DAMAGED IN THE HILL FIRE OF NOVEMBER 2018: The COSCA site at www.conejo-openspace.org will provide updates regarding when the bridge is re-opened.

Shaded picnic area off the Hawk Canyon Trail from the Conejo Canyons Bridge

Shaded picnic area off the Hawk Canyon Trail from the Conejo Canyons Bridge

The 1 mile Spring Canyon Trail is a mostly flat trail that runs from Lynn Oaks Park in Newbury Park to the Los Robles Trail.  There are some moderately hills but with a park nearby, makes for a fun little excursion with the little ones.

Speaking of the Los Robles Trail, another great little hike to take with the kids is the Oak Creek Canyon Loop Trail. The first 4/10th of a mile of the trail, accessible off of Greenmeadow Avenue in Thousand Oaks, is the Oak Creek Canyon Whole Access Interpretive Trail. This is a nice, shady, flat trail picnic benches along the path. The remainder of the loop is not quite as stroller friendly, with a couple moderately steep sections that can be navigated on foot.

Picnic trails and shade abound at the Oak Creek Canyon Interpretative Trail.

Picnic trails and shade abound at the Oak Creek Canyon Interpretative Trail.

The Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa area managed by the National Park Service in Newbury Park has over several miles of trails to explore, most of which are flat and stroller-friendly. The Satwiwa Loop Trail takes you around the area and the Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center makes for a fun stop with the family when open on weekends. 

Cheeseboro/Palo Comado Canyons offer great family hiking opportunities. While there's definitely hills surrounding these canyons, try the Cheeseboro Canyon Trail, the 4 to 5 mile main artery into the park. Flat and kid/stroller friendly it is. Also try the Doubletree Trailhead connector to the Palo Comado Trail. Flat, fun and scenic.

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Although you will encounter pretty significant hills in the Lang Ranch/Woodridge Open Space in Thousand Oaks, it is worth checking out with the kids for its wide open trails and interesting sandstone rock formations. If you are really strong, strollers are possible here, but do know that you will encounter some hills like the hill shown in the image below.

This hill in the Lang Ranch/Woodridge Open Space at the Autumn Ridge Trail is a bit daunting but worth the climb.

This hill in the Lang Ranch/Woodridge Open Space at the Autumn Ridge Trail is a bit daunting but worth the climb.

NOTE: THE GROUNDS OF OAKBROOK REGIONAL PARK WERE SEVERELY DAMAGED BY THE WOOLSEY FIRE OF NOVEMBER 2018. AS A RESULT, THE GROUNDS HAVE BEEN CLOSED. A GOFUNDME FUNDRAISER HAS BEEN ESTABILISHED AT www.gofundme.com/chumash-indian-museum-wildfire-fund TO HELP RAISE FUNDS TO REBUILD.

We're going to throw a bonus trail into the mix. The several miles of hiking trails in the Oakbrook Regional Park Archaeological Area in Thousand Oaks is an outstanding place for a flat, picturesque and oak-tree canopied place for a short hike with the kids. The Chumash village reproduction is an interesting place to explore with the kids. SEE NOTE ABOVE REGARDING IMPACT OF WOOLSEY FIRE.

For a more comprehensive compilation of trails in the Conejo Valley and throughout Ventura County, visit THIS LINK.

Caspar Borchard and Family Have a Permanent Presence in the Conejo Valley

Caspar Borchard was born in 1842 in Werxhausen, Germany. He sailed to the U.S. with his uncle Christian Borchard in 1867. He liked it so much here that he went back to Germany to get funds (Bitcoin wasn't around back then apparently) to buy land. While back in Germany, he married Theresa Diedrich, who died 3 years later. Within a year he married Theresa Maring. They came back to the U.S. and he bought 205 acres in what is now El Rio (Oxnard).

In 1882, Caspar bought 3,285 acres in the Conejo Valley after his brother Johannes bought 4,000 acres. Theresa Maring died in 1898 at age 49. Their youngest daughter (8 total kids) was also named Theresa. Caspar retired in 1918 and died in 1930. leaving a large family and a permanent presence in the Conejo Valley (Borchard Road, Borchard Park and Community Center). Theresa Drive parallels Borchard from Wendy to Sequoia Middle School in Newbury Park.

This is an undated photo from Thousand Oaks Library archives. Pictured: Back row: Caspar, Rosa, Mary, and Leo. Middle row: Frank, Theresa Maring, holding Charles, Caspar holding Theresa, Antone.

This is an undated photo from Thousand Oaks Library archives. Pictured: Back row: Caspar, Rosa, Mary, and Leo. Middle row: Frank, Theresa Maring, holding Charles, Caspar holding Theresa, Antone.

Scenes Near the Corner of Thousand Oaks Boulevard and Rancho Road in 1970

Conejo Valley Days Parade 1970 with auto promoting Sizzler.

Conejo Valley Days Parade 1970 with auto promoting Sizzler.

Some of you may remember the Sizzler restaurant on Moorpark Road that is now a Hooter's. Well, before that, there was a Sizzler at 1259 East Thousand Oaks Boulevard, in a space that today (thanks to a generous donation from Thousand Oaks Storage) is the home of affordable housing non-profit Many Mansions.

Thousand Oaks Sizzler on Thousand Oaks Boulevard, just east of Rancho Road, in 1970

Thousand Oaks Sizzler on Thousand Oaks Boulevard, just east of Rancho Road, in 1970

Many Mansions moved in Spring 2015 at the long ago former home of the first Sizzler restaurant in Thousand Oaks.

Many Mansions moved in Spring 2015 at the long ago former home of the first Sizzler restaurant in Thousand Oaks.

Sizzler was directly east of the Enco gas station at the corner of Thousand Oaks Boulevard and Rancho Road.

Enco was a short-lived brand name from the Humble Oil Company, which is now part of ExxonMobil. Apparently it translated into "stalled car" in Japanese.

Conejo Valley Days Parade 1970 at intersection of Thousand Oaks Blvd and Rancho Road.

Conejo Valley Days Parade 1970 at intersection of Thousand Oaks Blvd and Rancho Road.

Notice the Shell gas station across Rancho Road in the above photo. Today of course a different kind of fuel is served there at the first Thousand Oaks Drive-Thru Starbucks. I also notice the gas price at that time was 28 9/10th cents a gallon.

Conejo Valley Days 1970 Enco Station

Today, there is a Chevron station located at this former home of Enco. It is the exact same building shown above! But instead of "Happy Motoring!" there's a sign on the building that says "Food Mart."

This Chevron station is the former home of the Enco station pictured above.

This Chevron station is the former home of the Enco station pictured above.

Conejo Valley Days Parade 1970 Chicken Delight

And this last photo shows a 23 North sign west of Rancho Road. Partially hidden behind that sign is a Chicken Delight that was located at 1165 E. Thousand Oaks Boulevard. Today, the closest Chicken Delight is in Winnepeg, Canada. 

Conejo Valley Guide Facebook Followers Name Their Favorite Family Eateries in the Conejo Valley

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In a recent drawing on the CVG Facebook Page, we asked followers to name off their favorite family restaurant in the Conejo Valley. There were over 300 responses in the two day drawing and of course we would love to share them with you here, in alphabetical order. Some of these eateries are not technically in the Conejo Valley, but hey, that’s ok.

Listed below are the restaurants noted, and the number of times they were noted. The most mentioned eateries were Lure Fish House, Stonefire Grill, Toppers Pizza Place and Country Harvest.

  • Agoura’s Famous Deli

  • Ali Baba’s Kitchen 3

  • All About the Burgers Simi Valley

  • Alpine Deli

  • Ameci Pizza

  • Bad Ass Tacos 2

  • Bangkok Avenue 2

  • Bandits BBQ 9

  • Brent’s Deli

  • Cactus Patch in Moorpark

  • California Pizza Kitchen

  • Carrara Pastries in Moorpark 2

  • Casa Nostra Ristorante

  • The Cheesecake Factory 5

  • Chi Chi’s Pizza Simi Valley 2

  • Chili’s

  • Cici’s Cafe 2

  • Cho Cho San 2

  • Cisco’s 2

  • Country Harvest 9

  • Cronies

  • Dave & Buster’s

  • Don Cuco Simi Valley 2

  • Draughts

  • Eggs N Things 3

  • Eloong Dumplings

  • Figueroa Mountain Brewing

  • Fusion Grill 5

  • Habanero Mexican Grill

  • Holdren’s

  • Islands 4

  • Janchi Korean BBQ

  • Jinky’s Cafe

  • Junkyard Cafe Simi Valley

  • Lakeview Garden Chinese Restaurant

  • Latigo Kid

  • Lazy Dog Cafe 5

  • Little Calf Creamery and Cafe 5

  • Los Dos Amigos 2

  • Love Pho Cafe

  • Love Sushi

  • Lure Fish House 11

  • Made in Italy

  • Marmalade Cafe 2

  • Mandarin Bistro

  • Marcello Ristorante 2

  • Mendocino Farms

  • Mika Sushi

  • Minato Sushi

  • Mission Burrito

  • Mouthful Eatery

  • Natural Cafe

  • Nonna

  • Nori Japanese Grill

  • Olive Garden 2

  • P&L Burgers

  • Plata Taqueria in Agoura Hills 2

  • Poke U and Me in Camarillo

  • Pokeland

  • Pookie’s Thai

  • Ranch Hand BBQ 2

  • Red Robin 4

  • Roma Deli

  • Sake 2 Me Sushi Simi Valley

  • Sesame Inn

  • Sharky’s 6

  • Side Street Cafe

  • Snapper Jack’s

  • Social Monk

  • Soom Soom

  • Stacked 6

  • Stella’s II

  • Stonefire Grill 10

  • Sumo Sushi 3

  • Sushi Oaks

  • Taqueria El Tapatio in Moorpark

  • Taqueria Jalisco Mexican Food in Moorpark

  • Tavern 101

  • The Habit Burger

  • The Original Pizza Cookery 5

  • Thousand Oaks Fish and Chips

  • Thousand Wok

  • Toppers Pizza Place 9

  • Vegan Thyme

  • Wildflour Bakery & Cafe

  • Wood Ranch BBQ 6