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About Us

The Friends of Hot Springs Creek is a non-profit that aims to protect the Creek’s exceptional riparian wildlife and plant habitat while minimizing wildfire danger to lower the risks of death and destruction to hikers and residents.  We partner with other environmental organizations to educate the public about preserving the Creek’s watershed for future generations.


The hot springs creek protected habitat


hot springs creek is a stunning beautiful riparian habitat.

It drops down the Hot Springs Canyon watershed through oak woodlands and chaparral, before merging with Montecito Creek and reaching the Pacific. 

the creek is home to unique and legally protected wildlife,

including Southern California steelhead, California red-legged frog, coast range newt, southwestern pond turtle, two-striped garter snake, and Cooper’s hawk.


the hot springs creek habitat also features protected plant species,

including Plummer’s Baccharis, ocellated Humbolt lily, umbrella larkspur, Ojai fritillary, coastal oaks, arroyo willow thickets, western sycamore woodland, California bay forest, Santa Barbara honeysuckle, black-flowered figwort, and late-flowered mariposa lily.

unfortunately, terrible wildfires regularly sweep hot springs creek and the neighboring canyons.

The wildfires have resulted in death, injury and destruction, including firefighters and long-time nearby residents.

In 2008, the Tea Fire was started by ten City College students jumping a locked gate to party and start a bonfire.  The Tea Fire ignited in the adjacent canyon west of Hot Springs Creek, burned 1,940 acres and destroyed 210 homes within several hours, with hundreds unable to evacuate who sheltered in Westmont College’s gym while the wildfire burned to within 10 feet.

In 2017, the Thomas Fire consumed 281,000 acres, burned 1,063 structures, and cost $2.2 billion, with two people losing their lives—one a firefighter.  In 2018,  the 1/9 Debris Flow that resulted from the Thomas Fire raged down Hot Springs Creek and four other Montecito canyons, with the entire disaster killing 23 Montecito residents and destroying or damaging 600 homes. 

Those living near the Creek fear the next sundowner-driven wildfire disaster.  People started most area fires during the past 50 years.    

the storm buried the former illegal bathing pools under tons of debris

After the January 9, 2023, storm, the Creek returned to its natural state, with many trails washed away and the nine unpermitted hot bathing pools completely destroyed.


the u.s. forest service has closed the forest!

The now-buried bathing pools are in the Los Padres National Forest – which ordered closed for two-months, effective January 13, 2023. 

Forest Order No. 05-07-00-23-02 – SPECIAL CLOSURE – PUBLIC HEALTH & SAFETY – is effective until March 14, 2023. 

The U.S. Forest Service’s Order provides: “A violation of this prohibition is punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment for not more than six months, or both."  16 U.S.C sec.  551 and 18 U.S.C secs.  3359, 3571, and 3581.

Those violating the Order will be reported.


contact us

Please assist Friends of Hot Springs Creek in protecting Hot Springs Creek from environmental damage from digging, damming or other vandalism.  Information and photographs may be sent to or by filling out the form below.

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