Soberanes Fire, Day 4, 7/25/16 – Local Accounts

6 pm – that plume has moved considerably west in the last hour.

2:55 pm – this time, she blew, one of the largest plumes on this fire I have seen and it keeps growing.(there will be a photo later on a separate post)

12:30 big plume visible from down here. It is making a run someplace. One witness said this:

“Fire making a big run up behind El Sur Ranch, looks like it’s running up from north fork Little Sur, difficult to pinpoint exact location due to smoke haze. Many Dozers and fire personal between Little Sur bridge and Captain Cooper School.”

9:25 – need to slow down, I missed the second part of the donation flyer, so here it is:


9:08 Situational Map


Okay … Is that the golden stairs dozer line I see at the bottom of that map? I know the IC put in a request for overflow 50 dozers in his equipment request last night … Have no idea how many he will get. But I like this direction …

8:56 am –


7:52 – local resident reports Bixby finally getting some help.

And From Keith Vandervere:


7:29 – from a local resident, held in high esteem by most of us:

” When I returned from Pico Blanco area late last night very disturbed at the lack of personnel even patrolling the Old Coast Road for any spot fires. ”

7:08 am – updated IR flight sent by John Chesnut. Blue line is yesterday’s perimeter to show growth.


7:00 am – thermal image sent by Jim Barr who reports new detects NW & E of Bixby Mountain; W of Mt. Carmel; & W of Rancho San Carlos.


5:30 am – First off, some housekeeping matters. Today, I will begin three separate posts.  This one, to add for local reports from the fire lines; the second one will be for official notices; and lastly a photo one.- go to the right and under “pages” you will see Soberanes Photos. Mike Morales will be handling that page for me, but he goes out at dawn for his own photos (with or without fires) and then checks in with various commands, then comes back to process and upload his photos, so he will be in and out all day. I will forward photos I receive to him, but I’ve given him complete and utter editorial discretion on what to post. It has been a while since he has worked with WordPress, so today will be a “work-in-progress” for him. I am SO thankful for his help!!

On official notices, if it is an evacuation order, I may send it out separately to make sure everyone on the two social media I monitor and post to – Facebook and Twitter – will see it as it goes up simultaneously. I’m going to play that one by ear today. If I do, that means when you visit my blog, you may want to scroll through various posts to get all of today’s news and photos.

I get a lot of questions which I did my best to answer or explain why there was no answer, both publicly and privately, sometimes answering the same question numerous times in the comment section, over the past three days. With private questions, I will make no promises I will answer, but will try with all reasonable questions, if I can. Today, I am instituting a policy from my legal career – Asked and Answered. I will answer only once publicly. You are responsible for checking prior comments to see whether your question has already been addressed. Many of you have become absolutely wonderful about answering each other’s questions when you can. I so honor and appreciate that as it saves me time and energy. If it is a question that calls for a crystal ball, I will not even try explaining why I cannot answer. If you have a visit planned here and are asking a question about that, I have one word for you – don’t. Honor us and the land, and don’t be a looky-loo who is so busy taking a selfie that you don’t realize you are in the way. It is smoky and not a good time to visit.

I am in this for the long haul and need to conserve and take care of myself, as so very many of you remind me. Last night, I did not get my solid 6 hours, but only got 4, so later this am I will try to get another hour in, whenever the lull hits, and it usually does. If necessary, I will do that several times today.

Okay, boys and girls, keep an eye on each other and the words for today are compassion and empathy for all living critters.

42 thoughts on “Soberanes Fire, Day 4, 7/25/16 – Local Accounts

  1. Check out my comment late last night, we are doing dawn to dark brush clearing and dozer work on Apple Pie and I don’t have much time, but I do check in for the latest news thanks Kate

  2. I will solidly second the advice/request to those who are planning a visit. I am a long distance lover of Big Sur. A number of years ago, a fire occurred during a visit. The smoke alone makes it a difficult place to be. When you add in all the activities of the firefighters who are trying to save this beautiful corner of the world, people’s homes and lives, it is simply not the place to be. We quickly moved on to get out of the way. Trips can always be rescheduled.

  3. Good for you, Kate! It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Thank you so much for all you are doing. It’s huge

  4. I commend your efforts at self preservation while still committed to getting the job done. We cannot thank you enough for all that you do. You are the best!

  5. Hi Kate, on your 7 am posted map today, there is an orange marker near the right edge of the map. Is that fire?

  6. Glad you’re getting the help you need, Kate. In the days before blogging and CBs were the mountain mode of communication, it took 2-3 of us at the school to keep the information going during the Plaskett Fires!!

  7. You are an amazing asset to the community and our family and so many of our friends. I am so VERY grateful for your efforts. Seems you’re one of the best resources out there!! Thank you for all you do and please take good care of yourself.

  8. Not so much deja vu as I am to old for this S*** the first and worst was 1972 I was young and macho and was empowered by our success, now after 4 times I am so over all the responsibility for our safety. Now I know how dicey these fires are and despite our past record, fires are hell and the devil can claim his own at any time
    I PRAY that they send dozers up the golden stairs today as it gives us half a chance if the wind stays down, thanks again

  9. Dana on her way to work reports 5 dozers loading / unloading? a t little Sur, heading to the golden stairs? Somebody let us know.

  10. Cachagua Fire Face Book page has a local report regarding Green Ridge.

  11. Thank you so much for what you do! By far the best and latest information out there. I am so very impressed with your dedication and reading all the info, one can just feel how much you care! THANK YOU!

  12. Thank you so much for all your reports an efforts…! The best consolidated news about the Fire!

  13. Steve- I asked about him yesterday and was told that he was ok and staying with Brian and Kayla and Aaron Patch. No further news.

  14. Just saw between Ocean Ave and the Hyatt House 12 fire engines heading south.

    I was driving north and counted these in that short distance.

  15. the little orange flame off to the right in the IR paremeter map i believe is just marker for the tassajara fire from several years ago, not an active fire

  16. Lots more Fire Engines/Fire Crew trucks heading down, some going out the Valley.

    Trinity, San Bruno, Coastside Fire…

  17. I saw 30+ fire vehicles traveling west on 68 this morning around 9am including 2 bulldozers and several large trucks.
    Thanks for your continued excellent reporting.

  18. Reinforcements on the way, most likely replied from Toro Park: saw at least 30 fire trucks and two bull dozers on flatbeds and numerous support vehicles heading south on Highway 1 this morning at 9:30. So many from out of the area, they are too numerous to mention.

  19. In reference to the little orange flame icon on the right of the IR map, its the marker for the offices of the Cachagua Fire Protection District, also the USFS Carmel River Station.

  20. I am not very good at this posting stuff and it takes time I don’t have being so inept. I saw your dozer map, at the bottom it shows a dozer line from the old coast Rd, up the golden stairs to Posts summit then down Hopkins Ridge to Fernwood, exactly what we need. Micah

  21. Chris Pentony thank you so much for that info ab Cachagua FBpage, up to now I hadn’t heard/read anything about homes in Green Ridge. So sad to read the news. Bigsurkate thanks for all you are doing! The local news sources are a bit of a joke on coverage it seems

  22. Regarding my earlier post, a lot of units being deployed (no replied) from Toro Park. Spotted bulldozers on the move on flatbed trucks. On my return from Ryan Ranch to Carmel at 11:30 I saw another dozer on a flatbed truck. So. It looks like they are bringing in the additional needed equipment. I would be surprised if they could round up 50, but who knows. Hoping for the best. It remains foggy in Carmel (very drippy wet this morning). Am wondering whether fixed-wing planes can make any airdrops if the fog is down the coast, too. Can anyone communicate the CF plan of attack if known? Thanks.

  23. Fire making a big run up behind El Sur Ranch, looks like it’s running up from north fork Little Sur, difficult to pinpoint exact location due to smoke haze. Many Dozers and fire personal between Little Sur bridge and Captain Cooper School.

  24. I am at the mouth of CV. The highway is behind my fence. I have been doing yard work and have seen at least 5 dozers and an excavator go south. Also the wind has changed and is blowing north/north east. The valley and Jack’s Peak are covered in a low smoke cloud. It is coming from east of the Fish Ranch (which I see outside my window).

    Last night I had a dinner for friends who tried to stay and defend their home in Palo Colorado, but it got too dangerous. One thing the man said was the amount of flying insects that were fleeing in front of the fire. I had never heard or thought of that before.

  25. The forecasted southwest winds never materialized at least down here in Big Sur. The wind along Point Sur and Molera is from the NW about 10 to 15 kts. Warming trend and reinforcement of high-pressure forecasted for Tuesday thru Thursday up until the weekend for above average temps. The winds are not forecasted to be terribly strong not above 10kts.

  26. Just got a call from friends on Red Wolf Rd (across from Point Lobos) and they have been evacuated. Hwy 1 all tied up, so all the Highlands mayevacuating as well.

  27. Jo Ann Holbrook — you seem to know people in Palo Colorado. Have you heard anything about Don and Zack Herrington or their property? They’re beloved family friends, and we cannot reach them. Thanks for any help you can give!

  28. Dozer(s) moving up Cachagua Road. Assume towards Los Padres Dam for access, based on situational map posted earlier today? Praise the Lord they were able to bypass the small bridge, at the bend. Thank you, Pastor Orville for being there and the access to the property for them to pass safely. Thank you, Kate for your hard work and providing the platform for the community to share information! It is a God Send and my family and I are very grateful for all the information! Praying for protection over all the fire fighters, comfort for those who are displaced and safety for our entire community!

  29. calfire 4pm update from

    “Soberanes Fire Updates
    Last updated: 7/25/16 @ 4:15 PM

    Acreage/Containment: 14,897 acres – 5% contained
    County: Monterey
    Location: Soberanes Creek, Garrapata State Park, north of Palo Colorado/Big Sur
    Administrative Unit: CAL FIRE San Benito-Monterey Unit/USFS

    Structures Threatened: 1,650
    Structures Destroyed: 20 homes, 2 outbuildings

    Effective immediately, the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department has placed portions of the community of CARMEL HIGHLANDS under EVACUATION ORDER, which includes:

    Corona Road, east of Highway 1
    Riley Ranch Road, east of Highway 1


    Community Palo Colorado
    Rocky Creek
    Weston Ridge Road (AKA Garrapata Ridge Road)
    Highway 1 at Old Coast Road south to Old Coast Road @ Bixby Creek Road

    Garrapatos Road

    All residents are required to evacuate the designated area immediately!

    o Community of Carmel Highlands
    o South of Rancho San Carlos
    o White Rock
    o Old Coast Road south from Bixby Creek Road to Little Sur River

  30. Spoke to a friend who lives in Carmel Highlands and says the mandatory evacuation has been lifted (reverting back to an advisory status) and that the road closure on Corona Rd was to get equipment up the road, not due to the presence of fire at that location. Please note that this is not verified and just passing along what I was told from someone living in the area. Perhaps someone else knows the current official status of the evacuation order for the Highlands?

  31. From the web site as of July 25, 2016 6:40 pm :
    Total Fire Personnel: 2,285
    Total Fire Engines: 210
    Total Fire crews: 48
    Total Helicopters: 14
    Total Dozers: 56
    Total Water Tenders: 20

  32. A rough day in the canyon.

    I departed the canyon today after shooting lots of photos from high atop my property on upper Greenridge. And many burned down houses on upper greenridge and greenridge.

    See photos on Capra J’neva (my partner’s) facebook page here.

    Here are details about what’s going on in the canyon and it’s quite tragic. On upper greenridge area there are only 5 houses remaining. Colb, Cooper Anistranko, (and the caretaker house of the Ubbens) and the main cabin on my property.

    Colb, Cooper and Anistranko houses are STUCCO. (virtually left alone by the fire…though it came directly up to each houses. My cabin and the Ubbens caretaker house are wood and survived but only because of direct hits by fire retardant on the roofs!

    On the sad side, I walked through the ashes of the following properties and as you will see from the pics, there are no structures left. Here is a list of the houses burned, literally down to ashes. (No structures remaining at all) (see pics on Capra’s facebook page above.)

    Don Curry’s rental cabin on my property.
    Lucy Horns cabin
    Chistopher Williams
    Gabriel Franklin (All structures on his property are gone)
    Keith and Nola Godoin
    And several other houses around these properties that I could not identify.

    I then walked down upper greenridge road to the turn-off that goes up the hill toward Tanya Anistrankos house. Tanya’s house was unscathed. Fire came all the way to within inches of the house. (stucco)

    Unfortunately, everybody’s houses below Tanyas on the ridgeline are gone…and they were wood structures.

    Fred Lankin
    Missy Lofton
    Mike Doig

    (The Ubbens caretaker house was in good shape) But there was no water at the house for me to hose down the chickens in the pen, so I hope someone can get there soon.) I pointed this structure out to the fire fighters and they said they would do their best but it was unlikely they could commit a resource to help the structure tonight.

    This leads me to the next observation. The firefighters are from all over, Napa, Fresno, you name it. They are doing the best they can, but it’s pretty hard to school them on all the roads of the canyon being they are basically unmarked and all look the same in the smoke and haze.

    I ended up taking a couple of the commanders on a road tour, up greenridge, to upper greenridge, up on to my property, and looped them around to Lloyd Jones’ and back down to PC canyon road.

    From high atop my property you can clearly see the spot fires down in PC canyon as well as on my northern flank which is the southern flank of Garrapatos. The spot fires on my property were already whipping up and turning toward Garrapatos as I was departing, so hopefully the wind will shift tonight and not take the fire down to Garrapatos creek and all those houses.

    Also as I was departing the word was coming in the the huge volume of fire and smoke around the hoist was moving closer to the Mid coast fire brigade.

    In my opinion of watching the helos and the crews that were doing their best…I really felt like it was overwhelming them…but hopefully the winds and fire changed direction tonight.

    If anyone thinks that PC canyon and Garrapatos canyon are almost “out of the woods”, look closely at my pics and all the current spot fires that can explode very quickly. I’ll be posting videos as well and they are quite unsettling to see the canyon burning all over and much of it uncontained burning that is just too hard to reach.

    I saw Scott Bogen and Teresa at the firestation and barely recognized either as they are so worn out. All the firefighters are giving it their all. We owe them the world.

    As I was leaving around 7pm they were bringing trucks up on to the ridges but the turns are so hairpin that only smaller engines, if any, can get up on those ridges.

    Biggest lesson for me, for rebuilding is… stucco survives.

    Let’s hope, somehow that the winds die down tonight or the center of PC canyon is also going to loose many homes.

  33. Michael, Thank you for your informative posting. I’m watching the news from England. Love and strength to all, Marjorie

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