Highway One open all the way down to locals only

It was annouced that Highway One, all the way through, will be opened sometime tomorrow for locals ONLY! Great news!!

All mail was transferred back to the Big Sur Post Office this afternoon. I do not know at this time, if that means mail delivery will resume sometime tomorrow, or not, but that is a good guess. Guess only, at this point.

StationKATE, reporting live from Clear Ridge

Latest Info 7/8 noon

Getting better. The fire gained only 288 acres last night, there is only 9 more miles of fire line to build, and I spoke to Lori, the USFS fire information officer just a little while ago, and she asked me to remind everyone that when the currently closed section of road, between JP Burns and Lucia opens back up to locals, only, make sure you pay attention to falling rock, and possibly trees, as some areas have suffered extensive damage, and it is still pretty active on the east side.

Currently, I am in Big Sur Valley, documenting the fire. I will probably stay here. I am hearing the sound of chain saws, continuing to work. I have seen smoldering spots, still close to the highway. I see the happy faces of friends, who were let back in. Everyone is feeling that we have survived the worst of it, now, even though there are still some problems in several areas. The heart of the Valley has survived, and that gives us hope.

I will start to upload today’s photos of the Valley on its own page when I get to my friend’s house, sometime this afternoon, I hope. Parts of Big Sur look the same, others look totally devastated.

StationKATE, reporting live from the Big Sur Valley (teehee, citizen journalism. KION, channel 46 is here, too, but I’m better!)

KQED radio interview

The audio is not up, yet, but you should be able to eventually hear the interview by going to this website:


Recently on Forum
Tue, Jul 8, 2008 — 9:00 AM
Big Sur
No Audio Audio currently not available for this program
As wildfires continue to threaten Big Sur, we take a look at the rich history and culture of that coastal community. We also talk with residents about the impact the fire is having on their community.
Host: Michael Krasny
Gordon Wheeler, president and CEO of The Esalen Institute, founded in 1962 as an alternative educational center
Kirk Gafill, general manager of Nepenthe and head of the Big Sur Chamber of Commerce
Paul VanGuerwin, battalion chief for Cal Fire
Steven Harper, wilderness guide, naturalist and psychologist
Sula Nichols, a Big Sur artist whose house burned in the wildfire

7/8 Update, photos, and CNN interview w/ Micah

Last night’s meeting notes are long, so I leave you to read them in their entirety on surfire2008.org, but the bottom line is that the mandatory evacuation order for Palo Colorado to JP Burns has been lifted, and residents will be allowed to go back home starting at 10am, but residents only. Quite a lot of hugging, tears, and celebration last night on this news. There is still much to be done, but it is a start toward the healing and rebuilding process.

I was so glad to be able to share this with my friends Debbie, Jo-Ann, and Deborah last night. We had another round of hugging, crying, and celebration here at the Carmel River Inn, where we all spent the night. I will have to drive around to get home, as there is still a mandatory closure from JP Burns to Lucia/Limekiln (depending on which report one reads) but I may try to drive down to MAF today, after 10 am, so I can see first hand the difficulties we face in rebuilding, before I head back up to Salinas, and down 101 to Fort Hunter-Liggett. I might have trouble getting back in the Fort (I have heard), if I tell the truth, so I will probably be telling the front gate that I am going to the Mission, and then head across to Nacimiento-Fergusson Rd. I haven’t decided whether I will try to explain EXACTLY where I am going, and why I can get there from the front gate and my need to do so, but it might just be easier to lie.

Some great up-close and personal shots of the fire in and around Esalen on Sunday can be seen at http://www.esalen.org/home/gordon.html

Also, the story of the Apple Pie Ridge Boys was on CNN lsst night. I had a friend tape it for me, but you can watch it here:


So, I have a very busy day, restocking my office, fuel, and refrigerator before heading back late this afternoon. I might not be let through the Palo Colorado closure. We’ll see, and I will report later today. If I can go in, I suspect I will cry at the devastation I will be witness to.

More late,