Going home

Dear friends and friends-yet-to-be-met:

It has been an emotional “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride” for so many I do not completely understand why I found myself in town with several of my evacuated girlfriends tonight, but that is what happened. We met, drank, had dinner, then many went to the meeting tonight, then came back to my cottage after. We celebrated.

The word at tonight’s meeting is that all residents in the Big Sur Valley, south of Palo Colorado and north of JP Burns State Park, get to go home tomorrow. Only those with proper ID will be allowed to pass.

They spoke of plans they had made to take their cars in for servicing, the grooming of their dogs, the shopping that needed to be done. Even though this was the moment they had waited for, it was if they weren’t ready for it. With the power out, all their food had gone bad, plans needed to be made, things purchased.

The mood was celebratory, emotional, and yet, a numbness permeated the air, as if they wanted to believe, but were leery of doing so. Still, we celebrated. We cried, we hugged, and we drank our wine.

This is just a first step. There is much to be done, plans to be made, lives to be rebuilt. We will need your support for months to come. Then, Big Sur, like the phoenix will have rebuilt herself. We invite all of you to assist us in our efforts.

There are many plans in the works. I will notify you on how you can help, and where you can help, when the time comes. It is not over, by a long-shot, but it is not quite so dismal as it was.

So … more in the am.

7/7 am official update

cres burned: 77,165

Acreage increase (last 12 hours): 2,180

Fireline to build: 14 miles

Date started: 6/21/2008

Percent contained: 18%

Expected containment: 7/30/2008

Injuries: 3

Structures threatened: 2,500 residences;

20 commercial; 195 other

Structures destroyed: 23

Suppression cost to date: $22,834,800

Resources

Crews: 50

Engines: 185

Helicopters: 18

Air Tankers: 10

Dozers: 30

Total Personnel Assigned: 2,308

Headlines:

Yesterday and last night’s fire activity was limited due to increased humidity and lighter winds. The fire is still active in many areas.
Successful burning operations the last 2 days covered over 16 miles of line.
A Fire Weather Watch for very high temperatures and single digit humidity has been issued for Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday afternoon by the National Weather Service.
Current Status:

Firefighters successfully continued burning operations during the night along Mescal Ridge to Skinner Ridge.
Burning is planned on the northwest corner along Dani Ridge and Bixby Ridge.
Several fires spotted outside of the line, but were caught by firefighters overnight.
Mop-up will occur along most sections of Highway 1 and along burnout operations on the northern and southern edges of the fire.
A contingency dozer line is being constructed from Hwy 1 towards White Rock Ridge.
On the south front of the fire, crews continued to hold the line in the Dolan Ridge area.
Winds are expected from the north and northeast and will be generally light which will allow for favorable burning operations.
Last night fire was active in the Tassajara and Willow Creek drainages and north of Rodeo Flats. Helicopters will be working these areas today to help reduce potential fire spread.
Public Meetings

Carmel Valley Village, Tularcitos Elementary School, 34 Ford Road – 6:00 pm
Carmel, Carmel Middle School, 4380 Carmel Valley Road – 7:00 pm
Palo Colorado, Mid-Coast Fire Station, Palo Colorado Road – 7:00 pm

7/7 Update, Burns Creek & Salinas article

Just picked up this re: the backfire at Esalen

Posted by Steven Harper ( skharp@aol.com )
July 7 News from the night
News from the south along the Dolan Ridge line: “They backfired from just above Eagle Rock down to Dairy Canyon last night, starting about 10:30pm, just as the wind turned offshore. It was a firestorm! Flames 100 feet high raging taller than eagle rock, plumes of smoke lit up in the orange glow rising hundreds of feet high, the rock was on fire, headlamps and silhouettes from firefighters standing in front of the massive flames. Everything blew downhill and they made their way along the grassy area down the ridge through the night until about 5am. We were incredibly impressed with the work they did!”
From Burns Creek: The back burn at Burns Creek was active on the scanner last night. Reports from Burns Creek say South Coast Center and other structures in Burns Creek made it through.

From the Big Sur Valley: Everything in the Big Sur valley out to east Molera seems to be relatively quiet.

Electricity is still out in the valley and on down the coast. Phones are working.

I will be traveling around through Nacimiento-Fergusson Rd. today to return the rental car and restock. I will be taking my wireless laptop to stay in touch, and to report what I see, if anything.

The Salinas California article can be found here:

http://thecalifornian.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080707/NEWS01/807070301/1002

Here is the latest from Burns Creek:

Cynthia Bianchetta (johnsonbianchetta@earthlink.net) posted

Checking in with Daniel at 10:45 p.m Sunday who is home at our place on the south west side of Burns Creek where they had a very successful back burn up on the north east side to Barbara Springs property.

She and Erin her caretaker and his gal are all safely tucked in
at Esalen now according to Corey the gate guard there. I
was also told they see flames east of Esalen and that the
firefighters set up a back burn at Perry Holloman’s on the east
side and above Esalen’s South Coast Center property, also at
Burns Creek which is across the road from us. They plan for
it to travel south down to the main property above Esalen,
so I imagine these are the flames Corey reports seeing…
from there on I am not certain of the plans….

The humidity down in our side of the canyon is about 70 % and
up higher it is about 20%, so it is a slow burn…..

LA Times Apple Pie Article

There is a great 2 page article about the arrest and the defense of Apple Pie Ridge by the Curtis’s with photos of Micah, Tyson, and Ross on this page:

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-backfire7-2008jul07,0,3314737.story

More photos can be seen here:

http://www.latimes.com/la-me-0706-bigsurfire-pg,0,7181154.photogallery

Ross is fast becoming a folk hero. If his dad were still alive, he’d write the screen play, and we’d have the movie in no time!!

While as I have posted in public forums, there are two sides to this issue, and thankfully, no one got hurt during the course of saving the Curtis property, I say, to quote Benjamin Franklin, “Those who trade freedom for security, deserve neither freedom or security.”

When I first got a copy of the 409.5 memo on 7/4, I called OES, and they had a Commander Teter of the MCSO call me back. When I got no satisfactory explanation about the issuance of the memo, other than to “educate” the Big Sur community about the power the MCSO had, I was furious. It was a holiday. Everything was closed. What could I do? The only places open were newsrooms. Having lived and worked in Monterey County, some of that in the justice system, I knew I needed to go outside of the county. I called the LA Times newsroom and the SF Chronicle newsroom. I posted something on surfire2008.org. Before it was removed, and probably rightly so, as it was posted as a “notice” and it wasn’t really “official,” as is required, Deborah Schoch, a staff reporter from the LA Times called. After speaking with her for some time, I got her phone numbers, and said I’d pass it on to a member of the Curtis family who was not in Big Sur, and if they wanted, they could pass it on to Micah and Ross.

Some people may think it is sensationalism, but I think it is what we need. We needed the spotlight shown on this unbelievable situation so that others, outside of the rather small Big Sur community were aware of what was happening here.

StationKATE