Illegal Campfire on Plaskett Ridge Rd.

I was turning onto Plaskett Ridge Rd. from South Coast Ridge Rd. late this afternoon, when my phone announced a new voicemail. I had apparently been out-of-range, and was just receiving it.

Fortunately, there were TWO voice messages from a friend on another ridge. The first informed me of a fire on Plaskett Ridge, and asked for information. That got the adrenaline going.

The second, from the same friend, said it was an illegal campfire and it was caught and immediately put out. It included an apology for causing my heart attack with the first message.

I confirmed with my one and only neighbor the illegal campfire, but he added it had knocked two trees down, which the USFS was clearing. Whew! Going to be a hot summer for me on the ridge, in more ways than one! It makes absolutely no sense what-so-ever to have a campfire up here when the mercury is hovering around 100 for days on end.

Kinda glad I didn’t get home until all the shouting was over.

8 thoughts on “Illegal Campfire on Plaskett Ridge Rd.

  1. Glad it turned out ok. Yup…a hot Summer for sure! We are completely dried up here, and people are STILL shooting off fireworks. I’m on alert all the time…there’s huge stands of drying grass all around us. God help us all!

  2. Maybe I’m just off base, but when I think of an illegal campfire in temperatures of 100° plus, and the damage and expense of the ones that get away, I think that its time to get a bit more serious about investigation and prosecution of those idiots who can be found responsible. From my own experience, I feel that the USFS is sorely lacking a high tech and thorough approach to locating and prosecuting the responsibles. (Even if you have to go all the way to Fresno.) These people have to be educated and prosecution might be a help. Maybe the CSI technology is a bit stretched, but at least they could trace tire treads, look for witnesses, and use whatever technology and training is currently available. We have had too many $50 million fires.

  3. Back when there was a Patrol 27, I was told that the fine for an illegal campfire was less that the one for urinating in public.

  4. Sad to say (and a little scary), but USFS and Cal Fire need to justify the means each year…no big fires, no big funding. There’s way too much money to made on big fires…if they caught all the people who started them then they would work themselves out of a job…and all the other private contractors that feed off them as well. I can’t imagine we would see any major effort from these guys, definitely not a CSI level investigation. Big Sur will always attract the drifter/transcient types and with that comes illegal campfires…it’s not a matter of if, but when…you should always keep your fire clearances maintained and have your most valuable items ready to go…because we all know it’s just a matter of time. Maybe that’s a good argument to justify conducting controlled burns more regularly in the winter months near the highways and residential areas in Big Sur…at least you know the situation and can get prepared ahead of time.

  5. I think ignorance plays a part in this situation and I believe education would be helpful. It isn’t only “transients” that build illegal and dangerous fires; there are ‘tourists’ who have the romantic idea of the great outdoors and campfires who build fires, and who do not know that people actually LIVE in/close to the Wilderness who are endangered by fires. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told by a tourist how surprised they were to see houses along Highway One, or they asked “Do people actually LIVE in these hills?” They think it is all wilderness.

    As the urban populations grow, these myths are perpetuated, and when these people visit Big Sur, they are greatly overwhelmed by the grandeur, which fuels (pun intended) their ‘romantic’ ideas.

    Thinking back to my youth, there was Smokey the Bear and a lot of other wilderness ‘education’ that seems to just be gone now.

    I know it’s true, but I am so tired of hearing that it’s because “there’s no funding”. One would ask: “Why not?” and “How did that happen?” The “funding” for the important things in life seems sucked dry by greed or something, and I’m quite disgusted by it.

    And Kate: thanks in advance for letting me voice my thoughts here! 🙂

  6. Fines are an appropriate means of education. Cause and effect. Irresponsibility means someone else has to pay. My new love of cellphones with photographic capacity adds legitimacy to citizen intervention. Go for it. I’m looking forward to what Citizen Police
    Academy training has to offer in the way of checks and balances.

  7. There are 4 local Men & 1 local Woman that grew up here that are either FS or CDF so you knew you would get a response out of me.
    1. Pro-Active Fire Clearance
    2. Pro-Active Citizen Intervention
    3. Pro-Active Education at the bottom of each road with a sign that you couldn’t get by unless you’ve read the rules & paid a fee to get through with a signature & address on it.
    4. It could be manned by Pro-Active Citizens or Contractors like they have at Sand Dollar Beach. Their wages would come from those fees that are being paid to come up the road?
    5. My son was the Local Patrolman last year for our Ridges. He is on special assignment & will be back in August. He & his twin brother chose this career because they grew up watching their role modles put out fires for their neighbors. They chose this profession out of correct motivation & that was to help others. So Mr. Burnett, believe it or not, there are 4 local Men & 1 local woman out there that do what they do because they love this land & the People that walk on it. They also do it because it’s in their blood going back to their Great-Grandfather. I don’t think you would have made the above statement if they had been standing in front of you. It’s pretty hard to defend that when you are looking at 2-6ft.tall 180 pounds of sheer muscle because they carry a 75lb pack on their backs. Not just anybody can do what they do. By the way There’s A $100.00 fine for whinying!

  8. joe
    unforetunately we have been unable to convince you that we are truely dedicated in processing the origin and searching for the responsible parties. Many of our cases take years to go through the courts and all of the investigations are confidential until settlement. I can tell you from 15 years experience on this forest that not one person in the field needs to justify our jobs. If you saw the amount of personal sacrifice and risk we take each fire assignment that might change your mind. Right now it is actually the opposite. We are losing jobs due to the large fire costs, and need to prevent these large fires for job security

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