Chalk Fire, Day 8

7:00 am – Good morning, everyone!
Well, the rains did come last night, there is still a VERY light drizzle. My rain gauge indicates I received only 1/4″ up here in the mtns. Good for the Valley, as THIS will certainly not trigger any debris flows. Of course, it could have been higher in the mtns. further north. This ought to slow the fire down, at least.

Low clouds and mountain fog prevent me from seeing anything today. At least it is not smoke!

Oh, and XT’s theory re the flames last night are that they were at the top of Hare Creek.

7:30 am – just got a check-in from my friend, Debbie, in Big Sur Valley. They received LESS than a 1/2 inch. There has been NO change in the Big Sur River, so this rain was just right for up there. YAY!~!

Inciweb is reporting the fire is now up to 11,968, and 22% contained. It reports: “Dempsey Flat, Biere (Baird) property, Macaruby (the Noc) and Alms property (Peter, Katie, et al) have been removed from the list of areas/residences threatened by the fire.” Also, “The main containment effort continues on the west flank to protect structures and minimize impact to Highway 1. Current weather may hamper suppression efforts for the next 12 hours.” Inciweb reports 9 injuries in the last 12 hours from 3 traffic accidents, but ALL 9 firefighters have been released from the hospital. Thank goodness. All of us on the South Coast send you wishes for a speedy recovery, and our thanks for your sacrifices. The rest of you, please be safe!!

I got my first call from someone coming to the Jade Festival next weekend regarding the status of the road which is open, and Plaskett Creek Campground, which was open for business, both, as of last night at 6:00 pm. As we know, many people come up to a week in advance to guarantee a camping spot at Plaskett. As far as we know, the Jade Festival is continuing as planned, unless the fire changes behavior between now and next Friday.

8:00 am – It is raining, again, and there are erratic winds. Seems to be a decent rain, not just drizzle. All dogs have decided to come in. They don’t like getting wet! While I don’t mind, when it is warm, I do not like a cold rain, which this is, so I’ll be staying in. Probably no photos today, friends.

9:00 am – Yesterday’s 3 and 8 pm inciweb reports stated: “On the south side of the fire, crews completed burning operations along *Willow Creek Rd* and McKern Rd to improve existing line.”

This is an error on inciweb’s part, as I was back there last night between 5-6 and saw no evidence of this. All burnouts were north of McKern Rd. I drove 1 miles south on SC Ridge Rd. and took photos. If there were plumes in the Willow Creek area, I would have seen them and panicked. I did neither.

Also just got a note from Geri re local rumors re Plaskett. Electric Bill came through around 8:30 am. Stopped and talked to me. He reported NO problems with the road. As always, my gates are open to LOCALS and FIREFIGHTERS only. I love all you guys, and I want to make life easier, not harder on my neighbors and friends. Of course, when the fire is contained, and all dangers cease, I’ll go back to being the bitch that I am. 😉 This applies to LOCALS only (the road part – the bitch part applies to everyone.) Tourists and Looky-Loos are definitely not welcome. Don’t make me sic my four dogs on you!

10:00 am – The morning report has been corrected to show the burnout operation successful at McKern, north to the intersection w/ Prewitt/Alm’s Ridge Rd. Willow Creek has nothing to do with anything in relation to this fire. USFS is reporting Willow Creek Day Use area closed, but again, that is yet another error. Mill Creek day use area was closed as of last evening, but Willow Creek day use area was OPEN. Sorry, but the USFS is putting out inaccurate information. The burn out being listed south to Willow Creek was a serious one, the day use camp, a minor one, in my opinion. Can’t even count on google earth, who has Gorda where Pacific Valley is!! Jeez.

Remember, above all, stay safe, everyone!!

11:00 am – This is an email I got from Mary that she allowed me to share. it is so beautiful.
“hi Kate
thank you for being there giving me the update on the fire through all of this. I’m so glad I was never stopped in my efforts to bring in food and supplies. I actually made it home that night when all hell broke loose. I had no idea that it was a back burn that I was driving through. When I got home I was all ready to fight this dragon. My boys then informed me we were riding safe. The boys said that they saw the smoke coming up the ridge and were getting ready for the battle when out of the blue comes a bulldozer cutting a line all the way over to Peter and Katie’s. Then another bulldozer follows behind doing the same thing. The planes dropped a line of retardant just on our side of the double wide bulldozer line. Then just when I was driving up from the bottom of your road, that’s when they started the back fire. We were so grateful! At first our upper water tank was empty with no water coming in. Jesse got a trickle going finally but we needed water now! When I got home I saw the weirdest collection of water collectors the boys had filled at the lower spring and brought them to the upper property around the little cabin.When the back fire happened we did have 600 gallons in our tank, but it was just the boys and I. Once again the fire brigade was called off duty, just like our 96 fire. We were told firefighters would not come to defend our property but that they would do all that they possibly could to prevent the fire from coming over the ridge. They did just that. It was GREAT! Finally we got lucky. These firefighters really knew their stuff. Kate, I was so proud of both my sons during this time. Monte’s 8 years with CDF really paid off! Ruth could not believe no homes were lost and I told her this fire was different. This community have lived here with one another for 20 years or more. We have helped raise each others children, helped with projects on each others land and we are one large family. During this fire everyone stayed to defend their property. I was able to bring in supplies and we were able to help our neighbors. We also had someone at each structure that was knowledgable with fires, like CDF, etc… We worked together, what a concept! I wish people would know how amazing this fire was. Everyone on the Mill Creek side live in a heavily wooded area and they made it, with a little help from their friends. Thank goodness we have Alms Ridge above us. Once again Kate, I want to thank you for your part in helping inform friends and family of what was going on. You were an asset!
much love, Mary”

At some point, I would like to start a separate page for the Chalk Fire stories. Please, EVERYONE who lived and is living through this, please be thinking about your story, and what you would like to share, photos, to, if you have them. Not just the residents, but the firefighters, the pilots, the dozer operators, the volunteers, the supply runners, all of us. Write them up and email them to me, marked “Chalk Fire Stories” and I’ll begin the compilation of all the stories of the fires. When you send your story, I will assume it is for publication on the Chalk Fire Stories page, unless you tell me otherwise. Also, please indicate if you want me to edit it. I would like the stories to remain true to the teller, so I anticipate providing only minimal editing to the process.

5:30 pm – It has been blissfully quiet today, very little traffic through here, no bombers or helicopters, and I managed a nap, on top of a good night’s sleep last night. I can report little, as I cannot see through the clouds, and have really not felt up to driving to the back or down to the coast today. Tomorrow is another day, and hopefully, I will have my window to the coast back. Have a good, safe, and peaceful evening, everyone.

I’ll post more, when I know more, but I intend to slow it down a bit in the next few days, and reclaim my life outside this blog. 😉

4 thoughts on “Chalk Fire, Day 8

  1. Kate,
    I’m glad the rain FINALLY came through. Up in Carmel, the rain gauge only got .2 inches. It was light, misty precipitation on and off through the night.For the morning, light scattered showers continue. This should help cool the fire and give the crews a chance to suppress the blaze on some of the fronts. Also, the blasting south winds I had figured on did not come up as strongly I had predicted. It seems that there was a “guardian angel” for Big Sur in this storm. Guess that is just about right…We can hope our winter storms will be evenly-spaced 1/4″ dumps with a few days in between to allow for the water to soak in. That’s probably a pipe-dream, though. Prepare for the 2+ inchers. The damp weather should keep both the smoke and dust down, so get some much-deserved rest!
    -Captain Lingcod

  2. 9:51am (I slept in late) Wanted to come here first and check in on you Kate, and looks like all is well on your home front. The soft rain is great news. I hope it wet down the brush enough to keep the fire contained somewhat. Your picture of the ridge last night (even though I didn’t reconginze the area) was eye opening. Thanks again for your updates.

  3. There is very little coverage online of this fire. My son is on one of the strike teams and the local news doesn’t seem to pay attention or even give updates. I am tracking it from SoCal and Inciweb gives bare minimum. Maybe because it isn’t Malibu. Thanks for your sight.

  4. I’m back on your blog this evening and so thankful for your perceptive reporting, and also for the light rains protecting Big Sur. Thanks Kate for all your time and energy given to us, we appreciate it. As usual, you are spot on. One can only hope that Inciweb gets it together soon with factual information. Good thing we can count on you for the straight scoop. Sweet dreams.
    Lois

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