Necklace of Fire

I am no fire expert, by any means, but what I witnessed today, the burn-out operation north east of the Hermitage really looked good today. I watched and photographed all afternoon, and posted a few of them to show what was going on today. Tonight, I post one final photograph of what the firing out operation looks like, and still lookin’ really good. The Hermitage is looking very well protected. As I said, I am not a fire expert, but I sure would like an “honorary” nomex jacket with bigsurkate on it. Anyone know where I could get one?

Tonight, the USFS is reporting the acreage has gone up, the containment has gone down, slightly, and as I posted earlier today, containment is not expected until 11/1/08 now. Here are the stats:

  “Chalk Fire Update – Oct. 19
– 8:00pm

  Fire Statistics
  Acres burned: 14,666
  Miles of fireline to build: 7.5
  Date started: 9/27/08 (evening)
  Percent contained: 79%
  Expected containment: 11/01/2008
  Firefighter injuries to date: 17
  Structures threatened: 49
  Structures destroyed:  0
  Suppression cost to date: $18.2M

  Firefighting Resources
  Crews: 8
  Engines: 25
  Helicopters: 11
  Air tankers:  10
  Dozers: 4
  Total personnel assigned: 601

Summary: Current Status: The firing operation which started about noon today was successful.  Crews started from the dozer line approximately 2 miles north of the New Camaldoli Hermitage and burned south along the dozer line. As of this afternoon the firing had almost reached the Hermitage.  Crews will continue with the firing operation into this evening as long as there is still opportunity to burn.  Crews supported by helicopters and air tankers worked to hold the ridge NW of Twin Peak parallel with the Carizzo Trail. In the Limekiln State Park area, the fire is backing down slowly.

Tonight crews will continue to hold and support the firing operations. Structure protection continues in Limeklin State Park and the Hermitage. Cool temperatures and good relative humidity with light winds should result in minimal perimeter growth.”

Chalk Update, 10/19/08, Day 23

First light visual indicates the thick marine layer present last night is still with us, which hopefully kept the fire quiet on the Western Front last night. No night shots last night, as the fire was burning on the north side of Twin Peak and Cone Peak. Of course, on the eastern front it has just about burned itself into the Indians, and on the northern flank, the Basin Fire. Morning thermals indicate no new hot spots. *sigh of relief*

Here is this morning’s “fire” shot. You can see the smoke plume coming from behind Twin Peak on the north-west side. I have also marked the approximate location of the Hermitage. I cannot really see it through the haze, even with my binoculars, and without my usual visual clues from Ruth’s house, I cannot be certain. You can also see the heavy dozer line above it and to the right. I have also marked Twin Peak, and Limekiln, which is tucked behind that ridge, and thus not visible from here.

Gordon from the Hermitage reports below in the comment section. I am hoping he will be able to continue to report on conditions there. As I wrote him, thousands are praying for the people who remained behind, and the physical well-being of the place itself. I have direct line-of-sight, as Michael will attest, having witnessed it first hand, and will be watching throughout the day.

Inciweb is reporting no increase in acreage, and no increase in containment. A portion of the report states:

“Significant Events  

Fire established in the West fork of Lime Kiln Drainage.

Planed Actions 

Prepare for Firing Operation from reopened Dozer line for the protection of Lime Kiln State Park and the Hermitage Monastery. Protect structures North of Lime Kiln and Hermitage. Monitor fire conditions North of Cone peak in order to protect line from Cone Peak to Twin Peak.”

There is currently a burn out operation going on behind that back ridge north east of the Hermitage. 

Here is the start of the burn out operation, from my perspective. The burn out operation is the small skinny plume in the center of the photograph. I am still trying to put Gordon’s shots in a format my programs will recognize:

From inciweb: “Chalk Fire Update @11:15am

Crews may begin firing operations this afternoon along an improved section of dozer line east of the Hermitage. Burning operations will begin 2 miles north of the Hermitage and continue to the south along the dozer line.” 


I am busy watching the runs from the firing out operations. I have taken LOTS of photos, but I am too busy watching and photographing. The firing out operation seems to be going well, making its way down the inside the dozer line, making its way down into the canyon. Lots to see, lots to report, and I am multitasking beyond my abilities, considering the margaritas with the “ex.”

Gordon, from the Hermitage sent me photos taken around 1:30 pm from his perspective. While I can view them, I cannot seem to convert them from plaintext to jpg so that I can upload them. 

Here is a close-up of the burn operation. I wish I could get better shots, and I may have one or more. I have just been shooting all afternoon, and have to find which are best. Here’s one to start. So far, it looks like a great operation. Can’t wait for the night shots, unless it gets down under the ridge.


Here is a slightly better one:

Okay, maybe not better, just another view of the flames.

And here is another view of the line of fire going down from the dozer line. Lookin’ good!