September 27, 2008 – the beginnings of a fire

Two years ago tonight, I wrote the following:

“At 10 pm tonight, I had a report from Betty Withrow of a fire on the Mill Creek drainage area. Early reports are sketchy, and may not be accurate. One report is that it is at the 6 mile marker of N-F Rd. Another report is that it is closer to Apple Camp. Yet another report has it on both sides of the road. about 20-25 acres. USFS Fire Engines are on scene, per my local sources. Follow the chronology of reports below:

Alicia Lutz just came through on her way home, so we know Peter, Merritt, and Katie will be notified. Serge is on his way down from Monterey and will be coming through. Also my gates are open, and my Jeep out of the way. Kerri is on her way, also. Rocky and Geri know about the fire.

I can see the glow, but no flames.

11:15 report from keith harlan: “just got a call from warren and he reports that 30 min. ago the battalion chief was reporting 15 acres for the “Chalk Peak Fire” backing down Mill Creek Drainage and east from the ridge road.”

11:25 report from Big Sur, sirens going by in Valley.
11:25 report from Betty, “reports are that there are planes and dozers on the way.” (In the morning.)

12:00 – drove to front gate, quite a glow from that perspective. Going to be a long night.

12:30 am – This from Geri: “it is on So coast rdge between apple camp and chalk peak both sides of road can be seen from our house.”

12:45 am- Keith reports that he & Mary on their way up to help Rocky & Geri, Monte on his way from Paso.

1:00 am – Serge came through on his way to his mom’s and has two friends coming up to help tomorrow. Gotta love the way the South Coast mobilizes to help one another. I certainly do.

1:15 am- Kerri came through on her way to help Rocky & Geri.

1:45 am- Keith & Mary came through. I also just checked the glow from the perspective of my front gate, and it seems to have lessened. I’ll see what the morrow brings.

2:00 am- hopefully this is the last person to come through until dawn, so I can grab a couple hours before I begin a long day.

I will continue to add information as reports come in. For those of you not quite familiar with the area, Kimball has posted two topo maps on his website, Coast Communication, linked in my blogroll to the right.”
And then it took off, taking over my life for several weeks.

And today? Today yielded record-breaking temperatures in many parts of the state, including one of 127 degrees in the back country behind Salmon Creek. See the post below for more details on today’s heat wave. But amazingly, no fires. One long time firefighter says he has noticed this phenomena in the past, and feels that it is too hot for people, and they stay home, rather than go out into the wilderness.

Heat Wave Continues

5:00 pm – It is 100 degrees here at the moment. Have no idea what the hottest temps were. I drove down to Cambria to escape the heat, or so I thought. There was no escaping. But I did notice an interesting phenomena. In the areas of Highway One that are pretty much at ocean level (ok, maybe 100 ft. or so) like Villa Creek, Shale Point, Willow Creek. It was relatively cool – you know like in the high 80s. But areas at higher elevation, and particularly if the road is weaving inland, such as at Salmon Creek and Redwood Gulch, it was a furnace. I mean a furnace.

Today is the hottest day on record in Los Angeles, where records go back to 1877. weather news

here are some temps and relative humidity for Monterey County inland areas:
Bradley T 107 RH 10 Arroyo Seco 109 RH 8 Pinnacles 111 RH 5

But look at some of these SoCal temps! Calienté!!
Malibu Canyon at 114:
Downey at 110: f
Corona at 114:
Oceanside north at 115:
Long Beach north at 109:
Hottest location? Monrovia, CA at 121.

But look at the Central Coast!! 121 in Hollister, and 127 back behind Salmon Creek somewhere. My heavens!


Earlier predictions were that this would be the hottest day of the heat wave. Friends on the Coast and in the Valley have been noting the exceptional heat, also, and last night’s weather report said it was 107 in both LA and Paso Robles, so it is hot throughout most of the state. One report extends this out until Thursday. It is making up for the summer we never had.

For the last several mornings I have awakened to quite a bit of wind. So fire danger is significant.

Stay cool (cold showers help) and take care. It is an iced cappuccino for me this morning. Too hot for coffee.