8/2/09 Fire Wrap-up

9:00 pm – keeping up with two fires this afternoon was challenging. The Ponderosa started last evening, and the Sam Jones this afternoon. Each has their own post for today, with updates and photos as available.

To summarize, as of 6 pm this evening, Ponderosa was 500 acres, and Sam Jones was 600 acres. Sam is completely on Ft. Hunter-Liggett, and spreading north, toward Ponderosa, but still some distance away. Ponderosa is a unified command with USFS and the Army. While both may continue to spread this evening, it will hopefully be relatively quiet, as temperatures are lower than they have been, and humidity is higher. We can hope, anyway.

One concern is that there is a predicted change in the weather beginning Wednesday, with possible thunderstorms in the area, bringing the potential for lightning and erratic winds to the fire area for Wednesday and Thursday. We will all be keeping an eye out for that.

If you like photos, see the two posts below. That’s it for tonight, folks, and thanks for your support, information, and your readership. Working together, we can assure accurate, up-to-date information for Big Sur and her family of friends everywhere.

Blessings, bigsurkate

Sam Jones Fire on Ft. Hunter-Liggett

7:00 pm – just got back from scoping both this fire, and the Ponderosa, with photos, of course. Wow, the Sam Jones Fire put up some amazing smoke today. Here are a couple of the Sam Jones:



I have confirmed with the District Ranger that there IS a new fire east of the Ponderosa. It is being aggressively attacked at this moment. It was originally posted to WildCAD at 16:01 pm. Per visuals and thermals, this new fire is way south, and is east of Ponderosa. Plume is HUGE! Going to get photos.

I have also confirmed, with two separate reliable sources (BSVFB and USFS) that the report of a fire 16 miles south of Nepenthe was found to be NOT true. It was a fog bank, that got dark, and looked to the RP to be fire.

So, with our first real major fire of the season, it is very important to check information, probably more than once, to make sure it is accurate. We are all on edge here, folks.

I’ll post more when I know more.

Ponderosa Fire, 8/2/09

8:30 pm – reports are that Ponderosa has reached 500 acres. Sam Jones is 600 and moving north across containment lines. Here is a last look at the Ponderosa fire tonight. This photo is not as spectacular as the plumes from earlier, but what it shows is fire in an east west Canyon, moving in both directions. This canyon is north of the McKern Rd. firebreak, which I drove on today. It is wide, and it is clear, so it would be hard for the fire to cross that. And if this canyon fire does move west, as it appears, it will run into the footprint of the Chalk Fire.


You can see the smoke all the way down the canyon, behind the trees and the bushes. It actually goes even further west, but that is not visible in the photograph. This is shot looking north north-east, so west would be off the left side.

News release just came in at 2:56 pm. See USFS page to the right for the entire missive.

2:00 pm update:Jim Smith’s Type II Incident team will be in command. You can find information about the team here: http://ccimt7.imtcenter.net/main/index.aspx

Spoke with District Ranger Tune and the press release is being prepared. At this point they are calling it 200 plus. She said when the team comes in at 1700 (Smith’s Type II IT) then it is her understanding that the Ponderosa will be put up on inciweb. I would imagine that might not happen until tomorrow morning.

WildlandFire posted this: “Per Southops: Ponderosa CA-LPF-2563, The fire has burned 250 acres with a potential to triple in size. Ponderosa and Nacimiento Campgrounds have been evacuated. The Nacimiento-Ferguson Road has been closed. Smith’s Type II Incident Management Team has been assigned to the fire.”

More photos from late this morning to follow here:


This was was taken at 11:04 am, and clearly shows the McKern Rd. firebreak.


These people snuck through before the signs were posted on Highway One, but were turned around. This is the intersection of South Coast Ridge Rd. and Nacimiento.


This photograph shows the burn from the Chalk Fire, with the Madrone regrowth and the Ponderosa Fire in the background.

You tired of these plumes, yet? I have a couple more showing the progression of the north flank, then I am finished until this evening, when I will go shoot some more photos.

Here’s the last one this afternoon, showing the progression of the north flank.


When I know more, I will post more.

1:30 pm. These photos were taken starting at 10:50 am from various places along South Coast Ridge Rd. This first one is from 10:50 am from about 1/2 mile south of Plaskett intersection.


I took a series of shots in 2 minutes from this spot, and it is interesting to watch the progression. I’ll post 4 here.




And now, a short break in the photo show, so that I might bring some information to my readers in the 2:00 pm update above.

12:30 pm. Just got back from my field trip. Photos and more photos up shortly. Impressive plumes. Fire south of N-F Rd., and north of the McKern Rd/firebreak. Lots of air attack. 3-4 miles, maybe 5, from me. Spotters up on South Coast Ridge Rd just north of McKern. N-F Rd. closed. Sheriff on top. Locals can go west. Now, to sort and post some photos.

Ponderosa Fire

10:30 am – “Radio traffic has it at 150 acres, Header can be seen for miles.” Now, I am really going to take a look. Back before noon, I hope. Will have phone, but there are many “dead zones” out there.

10:00 am – going off line for a bit to check on things in the back country. Call, if needed. Otherwise, back before 11 with a report. Oh, plume visible, but not particularly close. Don’t know direction of spread, but we have the old Chalk Fire between us and it, for the most part.

9:30 am – hearing lots of low-flying aircraft. I’ll be going out to open gate and go check the rear. Will take phone, but not computer, and will report back if I can see anything. From FHL-Capt. “75 acers 0% containment. Large orders for crews and aircraft. Steep and rugged terrain. Just outside Chalk Fire Burn from last year in Negro drainage.” (I think this had another name in the old days.)

9:15 am – Los Olivos Engine arrived at 7:30 am. Also, “Must have something going. Aircraft assigned to the incident: Bravo 2, AA502, T74, T75, C406, Helitanker706, C528, 3 AT on order.
Air tactics 166.675. Air to ground 170.000.”

9:00 am – found out what “cover” is. Ordered resources to come cover the two stations where the engines were from. E16 & E17. Also the exact coordinates of the fire are only near the Ponderosa campground. The exact lat & long is: 35 59 430 X 121 23 504

5:45 am – At 1:22 am, per WildCAD-LPNF, a resource order was issued for “Ponderosa Cover.” I have attempted to find out what that means, but have not been successful. It may mean simply an order for a PIO for this morning’s press release. I have found no other reports on this fire, which is a good thing. Inciweb is not reporting this fire. It has actually been quite chilly up here this am, also a good thing. The lack of available information supports a theory that the fire remained small and is under control. So, going back to sleep. Blessings, bigsurkate