Chalk Fire, Night 2

As the glow of the last rays of the sunshine turned the plumes a pinkish hue, the wonderful air support we enjoyed all day, dropped their last loads, and went home.

Here are Betty’s words on that: “It is now quiet after a full day of the most radical air support ever! just at sunset the supertanker came flying in a line directly toward us and dropping red, in the red glow of the late afternoon, and the fire under its belly. so brave, and so overpowering to see such a display. it’s the sort of thing you never want to see again! however, probably more excitement than we thought, already. Please, let’s not get used to it…Well, that’s it. Need some rest and will report again in the morning.”

And here is my photograph, to go with her words. What a team, huh?

At the end of the day, a quiet settles in. The battle zone of airplanes overhead and many, many people coming through my front yard has ended. The end of the day, and its beginning, often offer the best photographic shots.

Here is one:

And can you say, “Almost eye level with a DC-10?”

10:00 pm-And here is tonight’s official word from the USFS:

Our information is still limited, but this is what we know:

The Chalk Fire started at approximately 7:30 p.m Saturday, September 27 in
the upper Mill Creek drainage area of Los Padres National Forest in
Monterey County. The fire is about 22 miles southwest of King City and
about 2 miles east of Highway 1. It is primarily south of Nacimiento
Fergusson Road which connects Fort Hunter Liggett to Highway 1.

The fire has burned approximately 800-900 acres in oak and brush in steep,
rugged terrain. There is very little to no wind on the fire and it is
primarily slope and fuel-driven.

Earlier this afternoon the fire reached and crossed to the north side of
Nacimiento Fergusson Road; it is also on both the west and east sides of
South Coast Ridge Road.

Residents of three parcels of private land within the national forest in
the Prewitt Ridge, Alms Ridge and Mill Creek areas, were advised to
evacuate earlier today. The fire is approximately 2 miles from the nearest

All National Forest campgrounds along the Nacimiento-Fergusson Road, South
Coast Ridge Road and Prewitt Ridge, have been evacuated.

An Evacuation Advisory has been issued for residents along Highway 1 in the
Limekiln, Hermitage and Harlan Property areas. This advisory is a
precautionary notice that people in these areas should be prepared to
evacuate if an evacuation order is issued.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Road closures: Nacimiento Fergusson Road is closed at Highway 1 on the west
side and at the national forest boundary on the east side. South Coast
Ridge Road is closed at Nacimiento Fergusson Road and Highway 1 at Plaskett
Creek. Highway 1 is open.

Draft map, acreage approximate, use for general location purposes only:

More detailed information about the location and status of the fire and the
resources assigned will be available after 7:30 a.m. Monday. Inciweb
( will be updated by 7:30a.m. Monday. The Goleta Fire
Information Center will open at 7:30 a.m. Monday.

The information flow from the field to the Goleta Information Center should
improve Monday with additional field PIO’s. Thanks for your patience.

Kathy Good
Public Affairs Officer
Los Padres National Forest
10:30 pm – I have information from reliable sources that this fire is expected to last a couple weeks at a predicted cost of $20,000,000. Predictions are that they have 20 MILES of line to build!! Oh, my! In just over 24 hours, the costs thus far have been $750,000. The cause of the blaze is still under investigation. A burn-out is planned for sometime tomorrow.

I just went outside to check for glow. While there is some, it is much dimmer than last night, and primarily to the northeast, which is good for all of us.

Good night, everyone. I am aiming for about 6 hours of sleep tonight.

Chalk Fire, Day 2

6:15 am-I just woke up, after a few hours sleep, looking for information. At this point, I can again see the plumes. The Chalk Fire is being reported on wildlandfire, initial attack. Have not found anything on inciweb, yet, and no new reports from my neighbors to the north.

As with last night, I am posting events and reports throughout the day, chronologically, so scroll down to see the most recent information.

Had Monte, and one other vehicle come through early, after 2 am, but quiet since.

Taken around 6:30 am from my back deck:

7:15 am – Call from Lee. He related that he spoke to MCSO and mandatory evac issued. Said Sarah and kids evacuating, but Ted staying. He is preparing to go over to help.

NOTE: Reports include source and time, and will continue to do so throughout the day, so that the reader can evaluate the accuracy of the information as it becomes available.

7:30 am – reports from Betty that at 3 am evacuation order issued, but Knock is staying. Weather reports for area from CDF Ret. Fire Capt Mike: “Looking at the wind and weather it is unfavorable if this decides to run, today at least. 97 degrees in Nacimiento today and wind from the S/E at least this am.” The good news is, no other fires, so we should be able to get the support we need. Heard, but have not seen, air support.

8:45 am – L&L just left, after watching from my deck for a while. Initial attack reported 4 minutes ago: “LPF WildCAD reporting;
15 Acres
10 Engines Committed
3 Chief Officers Committed

No information shown about commitment of Crews and Helicopters.”

8:45 am report from Betty: “some slowmoving aircraft heard recently, could not see. ridge road is blocked by fire, and crew working to open it so they can get here for anchor support. Fire still in north fork of mill creek, sounds like this watershed will burn and they want to use prewit for the fireline. it is not moving fast.”

9:00 am – Tom just came through. As we discussed, this “ain’t no 15 acre fire.” Estimate 100 acres. Low flying aircraft definitely here and flying.

9:30 am – initial attack reports LP hots spotted headed this way early this am. Also reports: “BEU sent 1 engine strike team, 2 single increment engines, 3 crews from Gabilan Camp, 1 chief officer, 2 air tankers, C-406. Good header showing from King City with drift smoke going to the north. Mid 90’s expected today. Fire is on the south side of Naciemento Ferguson Rd. off the South Coast Ridge Rd, both sides of the South Coast Ridge Rd. have fire on it. Last update I heard was 20-30 acres. Smoke column looks like it might be a little larger than that.”

10 am – lots of traffic going through this morning, all locals looking to help neighbors. I haven’t seen this many of my neighbors in one day since last year’s Jade Festival!! Grand Central, directing traffic.

Recent plumes

Modis map posted on Kelly O’Brien’s site, on blog roll at right. Modis is reporting two separate hot spots, confirmed by ff Jim 911, about 2 miles apart.


Two reports from Frank Pinney: “FYI, we are standing by at this time on the South Coast with structures threatened by a 200-300 acre active fire near Pruitt Ridge, just about to South Coast Ridge Road. USFS has crews on it since about 9PM last night and incoming resources this morning.
Frank” and: “As of 1020 hours Sunday AM Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade has committed 2
water tenders on scene, Chief Martha Karstens on scene at the ICP, Engine
7834 and personnel are standing by ready to be assigned by IC (Mike Kremke). Numerous resources from USFS on scene or on the way. Frank”

10:30 am – Kimball notifies me that he has posted thermals and modis on his site, Coast Communications, link to the right.

11:00 am from Initial attack: “Jim Smith’s Type II Team has been activated. Camp be at Fort Hunter Liggett. Reports from flights this morning 200+ acres. I will get back to the group with other updates and info as I can.” And an eyewitness report from Betty states: “the air is full of planes. two dozers are going down Prewitt ridge opening the road for contingency firebreak. hearing reports that we will have engines here soon.”

I have decided to take a short trip over there, to see what I can see first hand and will report back, perhaps with photos.

1 pm — Back from a viewing from the top of Alm’s Ridge. I don’t see a lot of equipment, yet, other than plenty of air support. However, I am hearing we have plenty either on site, or coming, and as they are coming over N-F Rd, from the H-L side, they may be on the other side of the fire, as I understand it has cut off SC Ridge Rd. and they are trying to open it up. One or more dozers came up McKern road, as evidenced by their tracks. Went down Prewitt, while I went up top. Saw JC, Warren, and Tom of the BSVFB doing spotting, and witnessed a run up the ridge toward Chalk Peak. Quite a sight. Here are two photos.

I have been informed that Plaskett will become part of the “Big Box.” Not unusual, as I usually end up being a staging area, but so far, no equipment through this side.

This is a photo of what look like “spot” fires coming down the south slope, to the west of the “run” (and I am not using that in a technical sense, as I don’t the technical terms).

2:00 pm – as Z notes, inciweb has now posted the Chalk Fire. It states: “The Chalk Fire started at approximately 7:30 p.m last evening and has now burned 500-600 acres. The fire is located just to the north of Chalk Peak, approximately 22 miles south west of King City, in the Monterey County section of Los Padre National Forest. The fire is burning in oak and brush west of Chalk Peak and South Coast Ridge Road and is on both sides of South Coast ridge Road. By 1:00 p.m. this afternoon, the fire had crossed Nacimiento Ferguson Road and is currently burning on both sides of the road. The fire is currently very visible, as it is generating a large column of smoke.

Cause of the fire is under investigation.

Road closures: Nacimiento Ferguson Road is closed at Highway-1 on the west side and at the forest boundary on the east side. South Coast Ridge Road is closed at Nacimiento Ferguson Road and Highway-1 at Plaskett Creek.

Evacuations: As a precautionary measure, 3 national forest campgrounds southwest of the fire have been advised to evacute. Other rural residences and private inholdings may need to be evacuated.

Resources either on scene or ordered: 7 helicopters, 8 air tankers, 1 lead plane, 1 air attack aircraft and 10 engines.”

And this just in from the PO: “The Chalk Fire is now on Inciweb. Info from the field is sketchy at this
point, but should improved later this afternoon/early evening when the
arrival of the Type 2 Incident Management Team and additional PIO’s. We
have a field PIO (Rich Phelps) in the area right now, however cell phone
coverage is poor. We have only two phone lines open in the Goleta Information
Center so would prefer everyone check As we receive new confirmed information we will post it on Inciweb….

Kathy Good
Public Affairs Officer

2:00 pm – just spoke w/ Kathy Good. Jim Smith and his Type II IC team is on the way, and additional information should be available once the situation is evaluated.

2:30 pm – Roberta, of the USFS is asking all children to leave the area, according to Alicia. Keith Harlan reports an evacuation for Lucia and the Hermitage.

2:45 pm – Bob & Joey just came through. Incident w/ suspicious squirrel hunters by my back gate and on my property. I’ve called 911 to report suspicious persons. Glad I have dogs!

4:00 pm – major air traffic. Frank Pinney came through about an hour ago. Fire has grown quite a bit, today, but resources on the ground, I understand. RH was reported at 18%, temps mid-90’s. This fire really took off today. Let’s hope it lays down and behaves tonight. Miss Sarah just evacuated with a pack of dogs bigger than mine!! Couldn’t see any kids, but they are probably with Embree.

Please note the comments below, also. For example, Ken reports that SO is stating the Chalk Fire is on BOTH sides of N-F Rd. as well as both sides of So Coast Ridge Rd. It ain’t getting any better, folks!

5:00 pm Luke of USFS and Crystal of the BSVFB report that the Hermitage and Lucia are on 48 hour notice, NOT mandatory evac. Both confirm fire is on both sides of N-F and S.C Ridge Rd. Confirmed fire at *800* acres. It is grand central to the max this afternoon. I have a party going on by my front gate. Should have popped the popcorn for this afternoon’s show!! Oh, and got some great shots of the jet super tanker I will try to put up!! Yay, the BIG, BIG BIG guys are here!!

Another photo:

A Ventana Wilderness guy (I with hold his name, in case he doesn’t want it posted) and his friend came through about 1/2 hour ago and disagrees with the “official” reports. He thinks the fire is much bigger than reported. He was over helping Bill, down by Peter & Katie. He reports it is almost 1/2 way up Cone Peak, on both sides of Cone Peak Rd. He also disagrees with the assessment that the single blade dozer cut down the Prewitt Ridge will hold anything back. He also reports that it has climbed the ridge from the north fork and is moving down into the middle fork.

I cannot seem to post any more photos here, so I will start a new post on Chalk Fire, Night 2.

Will post more as I learn more.