Chalk Update, 10/22/08, Day 26


Quite a plume coming up from behind Limekiln this morning. Unfortunately, my camera battery is dead, so I either have to find my back-up (in Jeep?) or get this one charged. I’ll post a shot when I have a shot.

Winds still quite active this morning. They have been blowing all night long, up here On Top of the World.

This morning’s update from the USFS. No change in acreage, containment up to 83%. Containment date still 11/1/08.

“Current Status:  The fire was active last night especially in the Limekiln State Park area.  Burning debris from above the marine layer is rolling downhill and igniting unburned fuels at lower elevations.  Crews will continue to work this area today.   Little activity was observed on the north flank during the night.  Crews and aircraft will work today to connect the dozer line and hand line from Twin Peak to Gamboa Ridge.

Today’s Objectives:  Overall objectives are to provide for firefighter and public safety, keep the fire east of Hermitage Road, hold the fire on the ridge south of Gamboa Ridge, and not to introduce fire, but allow natural progression of the fire in the Limekiln and Hare Canyon areas.”

There are a few other factors which are not provided to the public, but issued to firefighting personnel only in the form of a 209. This morning’s 209 adds some salient details to the above. 

The total acreage is 15,568. Projected incident movement/spread 12, 24, 48, and 72 hour time frames:

12 hours: Fire is expected to continue moderate interior burning in Lime Kiln Canyon. Fire also has potential for small roll outs North of Twin Peak on Gamboa Ridge. Growth potential to the North driven by terrain, low humidity, and rolling material.
24 hours: Fire is expected to continue moderate interior burning in Lime Kiln Canyon. Fire also has potential for small roll outs North of Twin Peak on Gamboa Ridge. Growth potential to the North driven by terrain, low humidity, and rolling material.
48 hours: Fire expected to hold on Gamboa Ridge.
72 hours: Fire expected to stay within containment lines.

32: Today’s observed fire behavior (leave blank for non-fire events):
Moderate interior burning with rolling material threatening control lines in Div A and Y.

38: Actions planned for next operational period:
Div Y – Mop up and improve existing line from Div Y/Z break to Twin Peak. Div Z – Hold and mop up along the dozer line that runs from the Y/Z division break to Highway 1. Structure Group – Protect structures in the Hermitage and Lime Kiln State Park.

42: Remarks:
Block 43 Committed resources is not working at this time. Incident has added 1 USFS CRW1 for a total of 8 crews and an incident total of 674.         

And here is the kicker: ” Growth Potential – High”

Just last week, growth potential was low, then it was elevated to medium, and today, it has been elevated to high. The winds from yesterday and last night continue today, and are predicted to continue through tomorrow. 


Uh, oh… Large dark plume coming out from behind Limekiln. 

Here is the current:


 Also, Rick Lesser reported that the BSVFB asked the remaining skeleton crew at the Hermitage to evacuate this morning. Rick is down on the highway, and cannot get back up. He thinks several of the monks stayed behind, but has no way of knowing.

3:00 pm a report from the Jon Michael Cappadona at the Hermitage, with some photos attached:

“I just read in your blog that Rick is  unsure whether we are still up here at the hermitage.  We are still here, and feeling the heat, literally.

The fire quickly moved south and the west behind the hermitage driveway overnight and today.  The concern this morning was that the fire would pull a u-turn and start heading north and cross the driveway heading towards the retreat trailers and then on into the cloister.  Thankfully, the winds shifted onshore and things are looking much better from our perspective.

Attached are some pics taken today around 2pm.  I was able to get fairly close shots as the fire burned to the south of the driveway.  There was lots of sightseers pulled over on HWY 1 looking up.”

                                                 Jon Michael Cappadona

                                                     Jon Michael Cappadona

Jon Michael, thanks for the update, keeping all of us informed, and the photos to share with everyone. You would have no idea how many oblates are watching the news here, and praying for everyone at the Hermitage, and for the place itself.

One question I, and others have, is how many of you are up there? Also, I understand you have structure protection crews in place? How many, and who? Drop me and email, and I’ll post your response here for everyone to see.

6:00 pm – report from Jon at the Hermitage:

We received word this morning that the fire a some real potential of jumping the line to our south and east.  Luckily, it appears that imminent danger has subsided.  To answer your question:  there many many USFS engines up here (its difficult to say exactly because I know there are some engines in the woods to our northeast) and BSVFB was here this morning when it was most dangerous.

The hermitage crew rolled out our own fire hoses early this morning and strategically set them up around spaces we want to protect.  We’re definitely ready to protect this place if need be.  It seems that the worst is over, yet we’re leaving the hoses full and ready until we know for sure.  


2 thoughts on “Chalk Update, 10/22/08, Day 26

  1. Kate,
    Again, thanks for all the great info! Yes growth potential and potential for new fires could be put as EXTREME due to the very dry air, high temperatures and wind. This same scenario allowed an old hot spot in JP Burns Park to spring to life and why the Cove Fire could have been much worse. It also puts much more stress on the firefighters themselves. Notice how dry the air is? One hot tail pipe, one dropped cigarette and we could have many more incidents.
    That sort of stuff sucks moisture out of people, slows them down.
    My word to anyone out there: Be SUPER extra fire SAFE this week until the humidity rises.

  2. Victoria sent me this comment to post:

    Hi Kate,
    Somehow my comment didn’t come through- did I do something wrong? I would
    like Jon, Rick, and crew to know I am thinking about them, if possible.
    Also, I just spoke to Fr. Isaiah, guestmaster of the Hermitage, who is with
    our monks that evacuated on Friday. They are fine, and it appears that the
    earlier danger (according to our monk in charge of the skeleton crew) is not
    quite as imminent, at the moment, thank God. We will see what the winds have
    to “say” about that, and as the hot weather continues. It was 92* here in
    Aptos today………..
    Camaldolese Benedictine Oblate, Big Sur community

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