Chalk Fire, Day 5

7 am – Ready for another busy day, boys & girls? I will go outside and get a visual in a little while. In the mean time, I received this at 12:12 am: “well, it looks like the worst is over up here at JP’s. From about sunset until just a bit ago we had fire on three sides of us but the wind was at our backs which kept the smoke and ash out of our faces and also kept the flames meek (relatively)—-We just fired up the grill to have a late meal and will sleep well after!!-”

Offers of help are flowing in from the north coast. Joyce called yesterday and said she would do anything for anybody who needs help. She will run to town, whatever. We cried together when I read her Shelagh’s message last night. Kurt has offered to help in anyway he can. Mike Caplain offered brush-cutting and 150 gal. water pumping. He’s self-contained. EZ offered to gather friends and come assist. I’m sure I am forgetting someone. So, if anyone needs anything, get word to me, somehow, and I’ll post it on this page, and volunteers can sign up to bring them down in the comments section. (Thanks, Scott of Mid-Coast Fire Brigade for the idea!)

NOTE: Dave Allen has volunteered to pick up absolutely anything in town north tonight and bring down. See comments.

Resources have been increased to 1410 personnel on the line; fire is officially at 3760 acres, containment at 13%, and the threat to property has increased from 12 to 18 structures. The Nacimiento Station was saved. The Lutz property is expected to be threatened in 48 hours.

Visual this am is difficult, as there is a lot of dispersed smoke. Photographs will not be of much good, today, unless the winds shift.

8:30 am – Got word from Wild Cattle. Very smoky, can’t see across the canyon, but everyone okay there. Was relieved to get the update on JP, so thanks everyone for keeping us all informed! As Katee said, she KNOWS that when the time comes, she can count on BSVFB to be there helping protect structures. THANKS BSVFB!! You guys and gals are awesome!!

I am having the most delicious organic pear for breakfast, thanks to Billy and his friend who came through late last night on a food run for those in the fire’s path. Thanks, guys!

9:00 am – weather reports predicting possible rain, Friday night to Saturday. Let’s pray the predictions are correct, for once!!

11:30 am – had to get some work ready for the ex to overnight for me, so I could stay here, and take care of business. Andale to the rescue!! YAY!! Thanks, Ralphie (of course, those who know him, know he made me promise a certain sex act! Ha, ha.) Anyway, this is an email a ff at the Nacimiento Station sent to his mom. She gave me permission to post it:
at the station tonight
we had to burn out around it so the fire wouldn’t make any big runs at it and potentially burn it up
pretty crazy here so far
good thing yall saw it when you did because it is all scorched now …
… been working some seriously long shifts, so i am pretty tired
gonna keep this message short and get some much needed sleep
will try to keep in touch whenever possible”

One of the Santa Barbara bosses came here to check out the dozer line, where it is, where it goes, to confirm how many houses up here, etc. Contingencies, I know. Gotta be ready.

NOON update – I am not going on a field day, today, as there is too much smoke, and while I have enough gas for the generator and to get to Cambria, I don’t have any spare. Ralph is picking up 10 gals for me, so I’ll be set for tomorrow, and will go out, if we aren’t completely blanketed by smoke, like today.

12:30 pm – Kimball reports, from the containment lines and the current thermals that thing are looking better on the south end, but worse on the east end.

1:30 pm – Monte just came through. He had been at Rocky & Geri’s house. My guess is (and it is only a guess) is that things are relatively safe at their house, now.

2:30 pm – The smoke has cleared, allowing some visibility. I am posting below two photos of Prewitt Ridge. One taken last night around sunset, the other, taken moments ago. USFS came through here a short while ago, to check the dozer line. That’s twice today. He did say they are not expecting the fire to get here, nor for my road to get graded. Oh, well. To me, it appears the smoke is moving west. Also I note, that the fire trucks are still there, only they are spread out along the ridge, not bunched in one area. My guess is that they are spotting.)

This one was taken just moments ago. Just before I took this shot, there was a flare-up right at the beginning of the column on the left side of the photo. Most fire trucks are gone, I can see only one, way back on the east side, well out of this photo. The fire is definitely traveling in a westerly direction in this part of the fire.

This is a helicopter over the ridge. You can see the red bucket hanging down, in front of the smoke.

Wild Cattle reports aobut a 1/2 hour ago: “a crew from kern county just showed up…2 little pumper trucks and 2 cars, about 10 guys to help out a little and get the lay of the land….I doubt if they will stay long…but they are clearing around Grace’s house…they don’t want to get trapped. Like I said before, I know the volunteers will be here at the right time.”

6:00 pm – There is a very worrisome red spot showing up on the thermals south of the Noc. Check Coast Communications listed in my blog roll. I saw flames, earlier behind the top of Prewitt, that per Jim, are not the same spot. Helicopter drops were working in the area, this afternoon, but I could not see where they were making their drops. Also, I drove out back this evening and just got back. I watched the bombing of McKern, and got some more retardant drop photos I will post, on a separate page again, later this evening. A big blow up appeared to be happening to the east of South Coast Ridge Rd., on Ft. Hunter-Leggett. I have quite a few photographs I want to post, buy I have been trying for an HOUR to get just one up. I will continue to try to get them up, but if the internet doesn’t cooperate, I may have to just give up, as I need some sleep. Mike Gilson sent me some photographs, too, and as they provide a completely different perspective, I would like to post one or two of those, also, but probably not tonight.

9:00 pm -The fire is now up to just over 5,000 acres, per the official evening report. This is of concern:

“Current Status: The fire was most active on the northwest flank today. There was also activity on the southeast flank. Crews worked through the day improving and constructing control lines and keeping Nacimiento-Fergusson Road clear of falling snags and rolling debris. Humidity levels are predicted to increase up to 40% this evening which will aid suppression efforts.

Crews and dozers will continue to construct and hold direct lines on both the north and south sides of Nacimiento -Fergusson Road. They will provide structure protection on Prewitt Ridge and will be preparing for structure protection in the Pacific Valley and Highway 1 area. Burning out operations will occur only when necessary and when crews feel the conditions are favorable. Firefighter and public safety will remain the highest priority. ”

With that bit of dismal news, I bid you good night. I want to have pleasant dreams of sugar plums and fairies, and cool green spaces, with lot of moisture bathing my skin.
I’ll post more, when I know more — tomorrow, not tonight.

10 thoughts on “Chalk Fire, Day 5

  1. It appears that the USFS learned something from all the mistakes made during the Basin Fire. Let the locals know what is going on, let the locals help them to do their jobs even better, let the local fire brigade help and assign them to real jobs, like structure protection and most of all fight the damn fire safely but aggressively.

    Great job Kate on keeping the community informed. All the stories I am reading remind me of how great this community works together when given the chance.

  2. Kate,
    I talked with Joyce this morning, and like she said on your blog about helping out, I would like to offer some immediate help, too. Here is how I can help now:
    I will be commuting up to Carmel tonight (about 4:30 pm), and returning to9 Pacific Valley School tomorrow at 8:00 am. I can be a “north run courier for anyone who needs… So, if you e-mail me a “shopping list” of needs with items, and with names (I’ll do each list as a separate purchase), I can stop at Safeway, SaveMart, of Longs, and bring the goods down to the school tomorrow. The input can be sent to my e-mail address,, called in to me at my classroom, 927-4273, or the main school number 927-4507, or sent by paper airplane from the top of the ridge (undependable and not recommended).
    Again, our best wishes and respect to all of you up there fighting the “good fight”.
    -Davif Allan

  3. Ugh! excuse the typos! I even missed a key and misspelled my name!!!
    -David Allan

  4. This is such a fabulous blog, Kate. Thanks so much for your dedicated work and updates. Even us firefighters often have no clue what’s going on! If you or your neighbors need anything, let me know, and I will get what I can to you through Margaret or Warren of BSVFB, if I am not up there on structure protection.
    Best, Toby – Partington Ridge – 667-0241

  5. Hi kate i just wanted to thank you so very much for your updates. it helps to ease so many worried minds and souls just to know snmall tidbits about loved ones safety.about four months ago i moved to the big sur area from kern county and it really pleased me to hear that some of my local boys and girls are here to help. many of our (kern county) fire personel have been trained on fires since high school and are amzing on doing ground work. and fire prevention. so it lets me rest assure that not only big surs finest are on the job but also some of kern countys are too. keep up the good work, and thanks once again……peace and much love, Lindsey

  6. Kate, From my house in Cachagua I can see a pink glow under the smoke cloud. Hope you are safe!!!

  7. Kate, You are so full of energy. How do you manage all this?
    Your information here is staggering, and the photos incredible. The bomber crimson cloud is just a classic photo, please post more if you have them.
    Please be careful in all your endeavors.
    Your friend in Brookdale

  8. Kate, thank you for all the updates and your wonderful Website. I am wondering about the safety of the Camaldoli Hermitage and the monks and the town of Lucia. Have spent many wonderful times there. Could you please advise? Thank you so much.

    (SF Peninsula)

  9. I can’t tell you how many of us come to your site to get info. It’s hard to give accurate information and you do a great job. Thanks. I really love the bomber sequence. Awesome!!

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