Chalk Fire, Night Photos

Here are some photos I just took at 9 pm. I was hoping I could not see this, but alas, sleep will not come easily to me tonight, once again.

This first shot shows two different burn areas. It is one photograph, showing two different burn areas. The one on the right is up toward the top of Cone Peak on the west side. The second area, I am not sure about, but I would venture a guess that it is below Vincente Flats, somewhere, up above Limekiln. I have no idea whether this is a burn out operation, and will not be able to confirm until tomorrow.

This is a zoom of the fire on the west side of the top of Cone Peak. The exposure is 10 sec. so the flame really is bright.

This is an image of the lower fire with minimal zoom.

And here are a couple of the show I took at 11 pm tonight:

The one above is of the “glow” on the lower fire. You can also see the flames at the top of the ridge. Compare this one with the one Connie McCoy took, below, at the same time, looking UP canyon. The one below, is the fire at the top of Cone Peak.

I must say, with practice, I am learning how to operate that piece of sh** tripod, and I think my night photographs are improving. 😉

And here is a night shot by my friend and fellow photographer, Connie McCoy. Interestingly enough, last night, she was on the Limekiln Bridge taking photos UP canyon, while I was on my deck taking them DOWN canyon. Her shot shows the flames on the ridge, as does mine above.

THANKS, Connie!!

And this is what one wildlandfire ff said around 10 pm tonight: “Some talk of an IMT being ordered if conditions don’t moderate over the next day, or if contingency lines don’t hold. The original concern was brought forward by the LPF FFMO on Tuesday as fire conditions were changing significantly on the incident. Concerns were based upon reports from the Type 3 IC and his “team” and forwarded upwards to “the Line Officers” for decision. Several ground resources from SoCal fires reassigned to the Chalk Fire today, including an aerial armada including ten airtankers, multiple helitankers, helicopters, and aerial supervision. While the line officers waited, the fire made the ultimate decision, necessitating immediate fire management action.”

This report issued by the USFS at 11 pm on 10/16/08: “Tomorrow a firing operation may be initiated to strengthen hand line and retardant line that was established along the top of the fire from Cone Peak to Twin Peak and southwest from Twin Peak towards Highway 1. The firing operation will be completed in two phases. Because of the rugged terrain and to minimize risk to fire fighters, the first phase may be completed by helitorch. The second phase will be by crews hand firing from Twin Peak towards Highway 1. The firing operation may take several days to complete. There is no immediate threat to Limekiln, Lucia, Lopez Point or the Hermitage, however, residents should stay alert to the fire’s activity in their area. If evacuation steps are needed, the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department will issue the notice.”

One last thing before I turn into a pumpkin…Paula Martinez, ret USFS PIO announced a BAER meeting regarding the Chalk Fire for Monday, October 20th, at 4:30 pm at the Community Center at PUSD. See the announcements page for the flyer.

Chalk Fire Update, 10/16/08

This morning, considerable smoke and plume in the Hare Canyon area. Here is the visual. I will try to obtain further information, as well as check on the Cove fire from yesterday, as soon as I am able, and will post here. We have winds going on down here.

A couple photos of the Cove Fire yesterday, show it started in an area that had been back burned during the Basin Fire, which is a good thing. Also, the CHP is not reporting any road problems in that area. Here is a link to the Cove Fire photos:
Cove Fire Photos

From my vantage point, there appear to be two separate plumes. One, higher up on the Hare Canyon side, and one lower, possibly in the Mill Creek drainage. It is hard to tell on the second one. Here is a photo I just took. There also is at least one “spotter” or fire engline on top of Prewitt Ridge. Paula Martinez, ret. PIO is on her way over from King City to the PV Station. I expect a phone call when she arrives, and will post what she has to say.

And only a few minutes later, looks like a blow-up. Still occurring, so more photos might be forthcoming.

From my vantage point, this is spooky as hell. I just took another shot, that clearly shows two separate blow-ups, and possibly a third in between the other two. Winds are playing a significant factor here. Okay, it is much more clear to my naked eye about the two separate blow-ups, and possible third, but the photo follows.

10:35 am – I just spoke to Paula Martinez, ret. USFS PIO. She informs me that the fire is up at the top of Hare Canyon, making its way up toward Cone Peak. There are both helicopters and air tankers working. Also, while the tankers are here, they will be laying retardant down the contingency line from Cone Peak to Twitchell Flats. She is still on Ft. H-L making her way to the coast, and can see what appears to be two plumes, also, but feels they are not quite as distinct as I make them out to be. Could be. I can hear the tankers, although I have yet to really get a good look at them. The fire being higher up is good for tanker retardant drops.

Here is a map of the hotspot, courtesy of Kimball, aka coast communications, listed at the right in “blog roll.”

It only shows one hotspot, but it looked like two, to me. The second one may have not shown up, or flared after the satellite pass, or my eyes are not what they used to be, or all three!!

And here is a closer look at where it is in relationship to Cone Peak Rd. Technical difficulties on the blog upload end. Will post as soon as I can. Okay, not cooperating. Let’s just say it is quite close to Cone Peak Rd. on the west side. The good news seems to be that the winds are dying down. Lots of smoke, but no threat at this time.

Wlidlandfire reporting: “They are firing out and using the tankers to support their operation. Not out of control as far as we are hearing….” Also, a little over an hour ago: “New order for 6 Type 1 A/T’s. Hmmm…” A/T’s typically stand for air tankers.

1:30 pm – Here is the latest photo taken only moments ago. Lots of tankers working it today.

Chalk Peak has now disapeared behind the smoke. Same angle and point of view as others earlier.

2:30 pm – AND here is an hour later. My, oh my. what a sight.

4:00 pm – just got a call from Paula Martinez, ret. USFS, PIO. She is back in KC, having toured the area. She informs me that all the activity is going uphill in the Cone Peak area, away from the Hermitage. The fire has reached the Cone Peak contingency line, but ff feel relatively confident they can hold it there, as the line seems to be holding at this time. Tankers will continue to fly the rest of the day, and will probably be back tomorrow. I shared my thoughts that this fire will probably NOT be declared contained tomorrow, as originally anticipated, and she agreed that is likely. We won’t know until the 209 comes out tonight around 6 pm, after which inciweb should be updated. Camera battery recharging, and I am going to do the same. Will be back around 6 pm with more photos and info, if available. As of 1/2 hour ago, 2 more tankers in route.

Inciweb is reporting: an increase in acreage to 11.760; a decrease in containment to 94%; an increase in growth potential to “medium”; and pushed back the containment date to Monday, October 20, 2008.

I am hoping this is the last photograph I post this evening, and that I do NOT see any spectacular flames which I feel compelled to photograph. Also, one last note for the evening: See Skee’s comment re: USFS calling out two of the Cachagua Fire dozers this afternoon. *sigh*

Here are a thermal and google maps, provided to me by Kimball earlier this afternoon. Thanks, Jim!!

Click on the maps to see them larger. There are six new hot spots showing on the google map.