Big Sur Information

Header Photo, by bigsurkate

IMPORTANT, READ THIS POST FIRST FOR INFORMATION ABOUT VISITING BIG SUR!!

For the most thorough and complete guide to Big Sur on the internet see:

Big Sur Visitor’s Guide

TAKE THE BIG SUR PLEDGE!

From http://Bigsurpledge.org

New link added to the right under 3 categories: Big Sur/LPNF; Local News; and Representatives Monterey County Government Link

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Interactive Highway Map with Mile Markers and slide names is to the right, under “Pages” first one *Big Sur Interactive Maps... if the following link doesn’t work. *Big Sur Interactive Slide Maps will answer any questions you may have about where something is in relation to something else.

MY DIRECT EMAIL IS: kwnovoa@mac.com

(Size for any header photos you may wish to submit it is 760×151 pixels.)

What are we suppose to do?

Yes, traffic is horrific and dangerous on Highway One. I avoid going north, but could not do so Friday and Saturday and I got to experience it once again. (I stayed in town Friday night.) One positive I noticed is that the work Cal Trans and State Parks did at Julia Pfeiffer Burns works! No more madness, craziness, and dangerousness. Now, traffic is funneled smoothly into the parking lot there at the State Park off highway. There is a lesson there.

But I did not want to address this issue today, instead, I would like to address an even more serious one. I just wrote two articles for Voices of Monterey Bay on this uniquely summer tourist issue, which permeates all the back country. The subject is illegal campfires. A neighbor asks, what are we supposed to do?

A neighbor sent me the following text Saturday night, which I got Sunday morning. I am going to forward it to all that I can think of, but I also wanted to post it here and on social media:

“Last nite there were 3 illegal campfires. I told all 3 parties it was illegal. The 1 near […] put theirs out. The 1 […] ignored me and the party on Chalk Peak told me to fuck off & get the hell out of here ! I called 911 on them which is a joke! They don’t know who to contact. What are we suppose to do?”

Good question. I will send it to everyone I can think of and see what they have to say. In the mean time, continue reporting matters like this, but be careful not to put yourself at risk.

TAMC Road report

MONTEREY COUNTY – Here are the major scheduled road and lane closures for Monterey County from Sunday, July 21 through Saturday, July 27 – newest information is in red. Please keep in mind that construction work is weather-dependent. 

Editors note, I am only including the Big Sur conditions. Once you reach town, you are on your own, like everyone else. LOL

Highway 1: Ragged Point, Big Sur: June – August  
One – way traffic controls will be in place on northbound and southbound Highway 1 between Ragged Point and San Carpoforo Creek Bridge just outside of the Monterey County line for emergency work to construct a viaduct and retaining wall. Roadwork will take place Monday through Thursday from 6 am until 6 pm and from 6 am until 2 pm on Fridays. Electronic message boards will be in place and a temporary traffic signal will be activated by August allowing traffic to move in each direction 24/7 until project completion.  

Highway 1: Burns Creek Bridge – Anderson Canyon Bridge, Big Sur: July 25   
One lane closure will occur on northbound and southbound Highway 1 between Lucia and Vincente Creek Bridge for mowing operations work from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Pilots Who Fight California’s Wildfires

I quite accidentally ran across an article in Air & Space Magazine which dovetails nicely with the two articles I wrote for Voices of Monterey Bay http://VOMB.org and which I featured yesterday. It is a very comprehensive article, so I downloaded all 17 pages. It also fits in with my interest in both aviation and firefighting. For those who share similar interests, I give you an introduction below.

There are days here when you walk outside and just know. Step on a stick and it snaps. Grass crunches underfoot. It’s hot, and the relative humidity is down in the single digits. If there’s a fire that day, Cal Fire battalion chief Justin McGough says, “You just know it’s going to burn very, very well.”

But today is not that day, as I step one winter morning onto Cal Fire’s Hemet-Ryan Air Attack Base in Hemet, California. To the east, Mount San Jacinto is topped with fresh snow, and ample rainfall has relieved most of the state’s drought. Here at Hemet-Ryan, which remains open year-round, firefighting aircraft out on the ramp mark time quietly in the sun.

Cal Fire—the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection—is a state agency responsible for fire control across 31 million acres of timberland, brush, and urban forest. With 50 aircraft at 23 bases around the state, it has the largest firefighting air force in the world. Hemet-Ryan hosts a little of everything in Cal Fire’s standard contingent: a Bell UH-1H Super Huey helicopter, two Grumman S-2T tankers, and a North American Aviation OV-10A tactical observation aircraft. Crews at Hemet dispatch to fires from the San Bernardino mountains, near Los Angeles, all the way south to the Mexican border.
Read more at: https://www.airspacemag.com/airspacemag/wildfire-wars-180972602/

Cal Trans to use goats for invasive species control in SLO Co

Today’s Date: Thursday, July 18, 2019

District:            05–Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, San Benito and Santa 

                         Cruz Counties

Contact:          Jim Shivers or Colin Jones

Phone:            (805) 549-3237 or (805) 549-3189

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CALTRANS USING GOATS TO CONTROL NON-NATIVE PLANTS ON HIGHWAY 1

SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY – Caltrans is using goats to aid in controlling weeds within a 20-acre site adjacent to Highway 1 just north of the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse.  Instead of relying on herbicides, Caltrans is taking a more sustainable approach to revitalizing the native coastal prairie adjacent to the recent highway realignment project that was completed in 2017.

On Monday July 15th, two double decker trucks unloaded about 300 animals to help remove invasive non-native weeds such as bur clover, mustard, and thistle.  The animals are confined to selected grazing areas by temporary fencing which is moved every few days.  These goats will graze at a rate of approximately one acre per day, for the next three weeks.  This project will also help to reduce the use of herbicides.

“I am proud that our Landscape Architecture group is committed to designing sustainable and innovative solutions through collaborative teamwork.” said Caltrans District 5 Landscape Architect, Katherine Brown, who is overseeing this project as part of an intensive habitat restoration project.  The goats are managed by shepherds from Living Systems Land Management a subcontractor of the Caltrans prime contractor, Empire Landscaping Inc. of Davis, CA.

Caltrans reminds motorists to move over and slow down when driving through highway construction zones.

For traffic updates on other state highways on the Central Coast motorists can call Caltrans District 5 Public Affairs at (805) 549-3318 or visit the District 5 website

Living with Wildfire

I have two articles in Voices of Monterey Bay this issue — both addressing wildfire in Big Sur.

My son came home from town one recent night, only to find campers near where the Plaskett 2 Fire of 2000 started — a mere 40 acres away from me. They had a campfire. He confronted them, made them put it out. It was 9:30 on a Sunday night on the Fourth of July weekend, just as I thought all the latest round of holiday craziness had ended.

They were campers who don’t think they can really be camping unless they have a campfire. We see way too many of them in Big Sur.

Like most everyone who lives in Big Sur, we were cautious and ever vigilant during the July 4th weekend. The usual concerns about campfires are aggravated by people shooting off illegal fireworks but sadly, the Fourth of July is only the beginning of what can be a very long season.. In thinking back over the last 30 years living on the South Coast, I can’t recall any significant fires starting on the Fourth of July. But I clearly remember my first wildfire up here on the mountain, not in July, but in October.

It was the Wild Fire of 1996, named after Wild Cattle Canyon, where it started. It was arson. Jeff Avila had a contract with the U.S. Forest Service to provide services in case of a wildfire and it had been a mercifully quiet fire season. That meant no income and no work for Avila, so he decided to create some. He paid another man $2,000 to drive Highway 1 and throw a flare up a steep canyon on the South Coast around 10 p.m. 

You can read the rest of this article here: https://voicesofmontereybay.org/2019/07/18/living-with-wildfire/

My second one is Up in Smoke: a history of wildfire in Big Sur.

Campfires have been sparking spectacular wildfires in Big Sur since settlers first appeared in this Land to the South.

Back in 1904, an observer named E.A. Sterling reported that an untended campfire had started a massive fire in the Chews Ridge area the previous year. The fire burned for three months. It started “from an unextinguished campfire in Township 18 south … and burned a strip of about a township wide through to the coast, becoming wider towards its western end.” His observations were recorded in an unpublished USFS typescript.

This was not the first recorded wildfire in Big Sur or the Monterey Ranger District of the Los Padres National Forest. There is a long history of wildfires in the mountains and forests of the Santa Lucia Range.

“According to a number of sources, in 1894 most of what is now the Monterey Ranger district was consumed by a fire that burned unchecked for weeks,” wrote David Rogers, who has written extensively about this history of wildlands in Monterey County. 

And again, here is a link to the second article: https://voicesofmontereybay.org/2019/07/18/up-in-smoke/

Fire on FHL

7/17/19 UPDATE: Fort Hunter Liggett, with the help of CALFIRE and the Los Padres Forest firefighters, responded to a vegetation fire off the Nacimiento Ferguson roads last night. The fire was contained around 3am at about 1,600 acres. Smoke will most likely be visible in this area during the day. THANKS CALFIRE AND LOS PADRES firefighters!

10:30 pm Update: From Cal Fire BEU:
”It’s on Fort Hunter Liggett. We’re assisting them with 2 engines. It’s in Stoney Valley, apparently. I dont have anything further, though.”

Friend in Lockwood notified me of a fire to the east of me that looks substantial. Neither one of us can pinpoint it in the dark. CHP website has this:

Incident: 00431 Type: Report of Fire Location: Bradley Lockwood Rd / Crg18 Loc Desc: JOLON / 54320 KENNEDY Lat/Lon:35.936372 -121.064203 

Detail Information
9:55 PM7[20] 1039 CALFIRE
9:51 PM6[14] 1039 45K STILL UNKN IF A71 NEEDS A GROUND UNIT , WILL CHK WITH FIRE AND ADVISE
9:48 PM5[10] A71 JNO FIRE
9:42 PM4[6] A71 CURRENTLY FIRE SUBSTATIONAL NOT ON JOLON
9:41 PM3[4] UNK WHATS ON FIRE
9:41 PM2[3] TRANS TO CDF MTY
9:40

Brush Fire in East SJ foothills

A brush fire has burned 40 acres and at least one structure has burned and other structures are threatened in the East San Jose foothills.

Cal Fire confirms the fire began near Aborn Road, east of Evergreen Valley High, on Monday, and evacuations appear to be in progress.

Also one in Morgan Hill at Center & Marsden:

ncident: 00165 Type: Report of Fire Location: Center Ave / Masten Ave Loc Desc: 10810 CENTER Lat/Lon: 37.064108 -121.570838 

12:38 PM9[42] A23-013 RUCKER COMPLETELY CLOSED BTWN CENTER AND NEW, CENTER BTWN MASTEN AND RUCKER CLOSED AS WELL
12:10 PM8[34] [Appended, 12:10:46] [3] PER CALFIRE IS SAME AS THE FIRE CENTER X MASTEN
12:09 PM7[32] [Appended, 12:10:46] [1] SMOKE SEEN ONLY
12:07 PM6[29] CALLER DISC // MORGAN HILL FIRE HAS CALL
12:05 PM5[21] [Appended, 12:05:52] [2] OWNER OF THE RANCH THAT IS ON FIRE / XFER TO CAL FIRE
12:05 PM4[17] ON HOLD FIRE
12:04 PM3[15] 1039 CAL FIRE MH
12:01 PM2[4] [Appended, 12:02:42] [1] HOUSE ON FIRE
11:57 AM1[1] VEG FIRE