Soberanes Fire, Day 19, 8/9/16 – Local Reports

9 pm – Sorry, I have to bow out of my promised telling of the day. Must take myself to bed. Here are two photos of the flame and run put the canyon – of the fire on Mt. Manuel’s west side. (IPhone photos, sorry)



5:00 pm – I am finally home, completely done in. I will be back to bring photos and observations from my trip to the Big Sur Valley – but know that there are visible flames in places on the west side of peaks from Apple Pie to Mt. Manuel. It is moving slowly downhill with no wind. There are some runs going up canyon with very large flames. If wind were to become a factor, the story would be quite different. Some businesses are closed (Ventana, Fernwood, for example) and others are open (River Inn and The Taproom/Deli, for example.) The new tourist attraction in Big Sur is the fire. The large turn outs in the Valley were filled with with tourists taking photos. The majority of the business seem to center on finding bathrooms. I really am not thinking clearly, as evidenced by taking my “old” camera, for which I did not have spare battery or charger in camera bag, and thus was relegated to using my iPhone. I did take some photos, though. I will bring as much information as I can, after 7 pm, or so. Also note the new announcement about closure again tonight from 10 pm to 6 am tomorrow morning, and finally, of import, is the fact that they are moving the fire camp from the State Park on the west side, to Andrew Molera on the east side. I asked about it, but was told some resources were moving, but unclear as to how much was actually moving, so I went into the State Park and made my own observations. When one sees the food vendors packing up and moving, one knows it must be pretty much the whole camp.

2:45 PM – Reporting from the TapHouse, after watching the helicopters fly over River Inn heading toward Juan Higuera, then watching them dump up…(to be continued)

12:45 pm – helicopters flying the valley, headed north of here – short runs…having a bite, then back on the road to find out what is happening,

11:25 AM – River Inn. Dozer’s replaced on the ridge up above the horseshoe are on a existing dozer line. Local’s asked about a ‘hot spot’ between Apple Pie and the highway. Nothing is visible from the highway, so I think it may have been an anomaly. The MODIS maps for this morning were late, so much was based on last night’s information, local observations, etc.

Highway is not much more crazy than usual, with the tourists, but there is a lot fire traffic, naturally. Andrew Molera Park is a refilling station, and the field to the north is a helicopter landing area. Businesses are open and business is booming.

The feeling in the Valley among the locals I spoke with are that the next 24 hours are critical, and much depends on the fog, temps, and wind conditions. We will all be watching closely.

7:20 am – 67,000+ acres, 50% contained.

6:25 am – I am waiting for breakfast and coffee, then will be getting  ready to leave latter this am for my ride south. A quick look at the maps, and given what I saw from residents re the fire last night, I was surprised to read that the road would open at 6, but per the CHP website, it did. That’s crazy IMHO, but I’ll be able to take photos, if it is not too smoky and post from road. Take a look at these maps provided by Adam Clark and Lucas Ryan in the post below.

6:08 AM 8 [14] ***PER N115 – ROADWAY IS OPEN ********
4:46 AM 7 [13] 1039 S7 PER A11338
9:22 PM 5 [9] N115 / CLOSURE IN PLACE
12:35 PM 1

Those of you in the valley, be safe, please, we need you.

66 thoughts on “Soberanes Fire, Day 19, 8/9/16 – Local Reports

  1. Safe travels… look forward to your report. Ed and Sharen’s photos last night were beyond words. Our hearts are with you all.

  2. Earlier this am, fire was moving slowly, and Micah was expecting power outage, so communication likely to be difficult from Apple Pie.


  3. Cyrus contacted his dad and said all was relatively well on Apple Pie. Not a lot of detail.

  4. Still here every thing good fog has really knocked the fire down over night, Allis good great to see Jonathan McQueen on Dons dozer this morning

  5. Heard from my husband who stayed, along with our neighbors, to defend Apple Pie – they are all safe. Thick fog this morning helped to tame the flames. All quiet for now. Prayers for continued good news.

  6. Great reading those ^ two comments directly above re fog and Apple Pie and that thus far Micah still has ability to post online. Hoping for safety and success for all now.

  7. MODIS data is back online finally, no new heat since the 11pm pass last night (and there have been several Satellite fly-bys since then). Looks like the high winds / fire weather last night didn’t really come to pass!

  8. Adam, at 7pm last night winds were straight out of the W, average 11mph, gusts to17. By 10pm they were only slightly W of N. All of that from the top of clear ridge.

  9. From Twitter: “City of Monterey ‏@CityofMonterey
    MEDIA ADVISORY: MCCVB Car Week Guide, Tips & Impacts from #SoberanesFire- Press Conference Wed Aug 10 11:30AM”

    Don’t know if it will work here, but this is the PDF URL…..

  10. Really glad to hear Micah posting this a.m. With the amount of smoke on Willow thru the night I didn’t expect as good news as I’m hearing. Thank goodness the fog moved in when it did. Continued vigilance and larger containment to all!

  11. For those folks unable to attend the community meeting last night InciWeb has a link for the recording of that public meeting that also included the Q & A period.

  12. What a Beautiful Story — I didn’t realize that he was taken to live at the Zoo in Washington, DC; would loved to have visited him when we lived there. Certainly wish that the dear creatures in our Big Sur Forest were to share the same safe ending.

  13. “Businesses are open and business is booming”…..I guess it can be ok that that’s happening…at least I HOPE SO. Could be awful if the fire suddenly took off down into the Valley. At the LEAST a very serious traffic/evac problem.

    And I can only imagine the questions that waiters are getting.

    But, hey…let’s just have a nice drink at RI and watch the fire, and send selfies with it in back of us.

    I am hoping for the best, but SMH.

    And believe me…I am holding back here on what I say. Probably shouldn’t even say this…but just had to. I truly do not understand it.

  14. Yep, I am having a hard time holding back what I am REALLY feeling too! Some is leaking out. I saw Smokey the bear and his wife, Mrs. Smokey at the D.C. zoo when I was a kid, he was a very old looking lumbering thing that I was very grateful to see.

    Capitola report: woke up to moisture on everything, the first thing I thought of was God bless, I hope this small layer made it to Big Sur and Carmel Valley.

  15. Happy Birthday Smokey Bear. P.S. the smoke from this wildfire seems to have a slight scent of ‘Wacky Tobacci aka (mary J ) Have a nice day Smokey.

  16. MAP LINK REPOST REQUEST: A week or so ago there was a link posted to help get the ‘lay of the land’ better. Mountain peaks were labeled. Would anyone be able to post that link again please? I think it was a GIS site but not certain. Many thanks.

  17. My heart is hurting, I have this awful awful feeling inside about the river inn being open for business, and other businesses being open for the tourists and the hwy being open for tourists. I don’t understand, I DON’T want to feel this angry inside. I feel like it’s a betrayal of everything big sur has represented to me my whole life. A place of integrity, community, healing and magic. Where is the faith? Allowing people to keep coming is putting them in jeopardy. It’s saying that their wallet is more important than their health. This is NOT the big sur experience they deserve, it’s a grab for money, not a human meets nature connection. They are not being proper stewards, in my opinion they are a gross misrepresentation of the big sur I want to see people experience. SMH

  18. Now that we’re taking a breath, does anyone know if there are many female firefighters? I’d like to give them a big shout out

  19. Hi Kate, we were sitting next to you at the Taphouse and talked briefly. Thank you for keeping us up on all the happenings! Stop by Fernwood after we reopen and I would happily buy you a glass of wine and some tasty food.

  20. A word of warning. Just heard they are closing the highway again tonight. My husband found out that 10:00 really means 9:30. If you have to go, have alternate plans in place. You will have to wait until the next day to come through. Hopefully.

  21. no idea but we saw one up on MEntone in the highlands when the fire was active here. A strong part of a 4 person engine team. Anne Ashley

  22. As long as the road is open for breakfast and dinner and there is a need for hollandaise, humor and hearty, simple cuisine, Deetjens remains a welcoming host for the Big Sur community and friends. Stop on in for a nostalgic scene from days when tables were aplenty. Be it a Bar stool breakfast gabbing with the gals or a scrumptious and cozy dinner with friends to re-connect away from the chaos…. we are OPEN!! Breakfast 8:00am-Noon, Dinner—call us for an update! 831-667–2378.

  23. triggered by 12:46 and subsequent submissions: “business is booming” while nature is screaming!!!! Like I alluded to before, Bis Sur is being pimped out even while she is in critical condition. Like I said, the mighty dollar. Humanity as a whole does not deserve this beautiful planet!

    Yes the land replenishes, but it does not erase the needless pain. Replenishment??? Sounds like exploitation to me. Please don’t hold back on your outrage. Of course, it is up to gracious Kate to regulate the outrage.

    Smokey the bear needs a new hat! Maybe something along the line of the Natives rather than ….. you can fill in the blanks.

  24. We live in the Valley. We have lived in the Highlands. I was a trustee for the Carmel Highlands FD.

    Cachagua and Jamesburg were threatened over the weekend. As I predicted from the very start this will be the biggest fire in Big Sur history. Containment does not much meaning. The fire is marching east and south.

    And so “downtown” Big Sur” is in the direct path. This will eventually reach as far south as Nacimiento.

    Big Sur is wilderness. That is why it will continue to burn.

    We salute all the brave and hard working fire fighters. We have the greatest empathy for all those still in its path.

    I have been photographing Big Sur for over 40 years. It is one of the crown jewels of the state. How can I submit some of these documentary photographs?

  25. Mother Nature is indeed speaking to us + it is up to those of us that live here to stand up and be her voice!

    Keep speaking up people, remember this is how change is made.

    Praying for the health and safety of us all.

  26. In reference to the “business is booming comment” please note that The Big Sur Lodge has posted on their website the following:

    August 9, 2016: Due to the threat of the Soberanes Fire, the Big Sur Lodge is closed to ensure the safety of our staff and visitors as is Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. The Soberanes Fire continues to threaten the entire Big Sur area and your safety is our highest priority. We encourage you to check Cal Fire’s website or call the park at 831-667-2315 and press #3 for updates before your visit.

  27. Philip Miller– You can find Kate’s email address at her “About BigSurKate” page (see “Pages” links at upper right).

    And all– While there is stress and frustration, please remember that much more can be accomplished with positive words and action than with anger and outrage. Is there any kind of petition to the CHP to close Hwy 1 for the longer term? If not, let’s start one up.

  28. Shout out to Kate: THANK YOU!!!! We need (as a community) to plan/host a dinner event in Honor of Kate’s Heroic Blog….thoughts? Sometime in September would be nice.

  29. It is sad to know that the beautiful, spiritual Big Sur has people like this taking advantage of her, but it is true, there are a few. We are not all like that. Perhaps bring a respirator, an inhaler, if you have one, and do what you can to enjoy your visit.

  30. Email me at but be aware, I get lots of photographs, and sometimes I don’t have time to post but a few, particularly, if I just grab one that shows what is happening as close to real time as I can get.

  31. My mom said to post “Thank You Kate.” She has been watching from Nebraska. I live here and she is grateful for the updates, and to know that I am safe.

  32. Yes, a funeral … mourning every flower, every tree, every moth, every lizard, every hot blooded creature … up in smoke. I have come to ceremonial inhale it, and put them to rest …. a final appreciation.

    Sounds dramatic? Drama does not even suffice to express the finality of what wanted to life out its cycle …

  33. Kate do you mean to say Fire Camp is moving from the East side State Park to the West side Molera

  34. Highway 1 closure for traffic in _either_ direction tonight from 10pm to 6am tomorrow just confirmed with the fire info phone folks. Highway 1 closed between Palo Colorado and Old Coast Road at Andrew Molera SP.

  35. thanks, Jeff. I got the official word a few hours ago and posted separately on that. Nice for the local touch,


  36. Jeffrey, what I witnessed with I went by Andrew Molera was that the refueling station was already there and in operation as well as the heliport in the field just north. I was watching other “things” set up – like larger tents, what appeared to be sleeping trailers, etc. I then talked to the PIO who knew me, and he told me they were moving some of the functions over to the west side, but hadn’t had confirmation that the entire camp was to be relocated, but it was a possibility. I gave him my card, and he said he would update me when he got word. Nothing, yet, so I went to the BB field where they had been set up and witnessed them dismantling it. There was still some stuff there, but not a whole city. I’ve been in enough fire camps to recognize that this one was no longer fully functioning. The food vendor was loading up his rental truck with stacks and stacks of long tables and pallets full of supplies. He was also hooking up his personal 5th wheel and moving that.

  37. I see Mr. bigsuryankee’s comments were removed( what I was going to rant about) . Fine by me, that person is a clown. Much love to the Big Sur community, stay safe y’all

    Thank you, Kate, for everything you do. I know you get so much love and support on every thread, but ,truthfully, your blog has been an incrediblely strong crutch in these times. Thank you so much for all the work you put into this. You do what most of us wouldn’t. Fire/smoke/arbitrary officiouness, permitting, I owe you a beer/tacos/burger/sushi/special and or wine at the Taphouse/Pub/EstablishmentofFood


  38. BigSurYankee — As has been pointed out in every official fire report and anecdotally all over the web this terrain presents a near impossible task for firefighting professionals. This fire will be written about in wildland firefighting textbooks and taught at wildland fire academies worldwide. No civilians have been hurt but dozer operator, firefighter Robert Reagan did die.

    Soberanes Fire was guided between two population zones and flames are trying their best to push into two more, Big Sur Valley/Highway One and the population that resides around Cachagua. If things go as planned the fire will burn past both and move into the federal wilderness where more aggressive firing operations may be employed if they so choose.

  39. I walk a fine line sometimes, not wanting to censor people’s comments by removing them, but tonight, I don’t want to see or address or be bothered by anything like negativity or bitching or whining or even holier-than-thou comments. I see my community in pain, and I know we all have different ways of dealing with it, but for whatever reason, I feel beat up tonight, and just like I like upbeat music, I like caring, empathetic, compassionate comments … Wanting to help, not just complain. So carry on. I will fall asleep and some will slip by me, and I’ll have to check in the am, but while I am the gatekeeper, we have enough real problems without creating new ones. Be kind, and your comments will remain. And you will make me smile. Sending virtual hugs to everyone who is in pain tonight.

  40. Not even close to Esalen at this point. If going there coming from the North, though, the issues of the road and traffic might make it difficult to get there.

  41. Sweet dreams Kate, get a good, restorative rest which you so need , and we will all look forward to your telling of the day tomorrow.

  42. Wow, I’m really moved by the comments and even venting. I never in my life would have imagined Big Sur could become this popular and “accessible” as it has the past 4 years.
    The pressures between sales and service (or safety) are higher than ever, certainly more than these same issues in 2008, when the road was closed for 6 weeks, I believe, during Basin Complex.
    I hope tonight goes well for us. I know everything is as much in place as possible, under the circumstances. Fire crews, stay safe, stay strong, and THANK YOU ☮
    Kate, thank you, hope you get restorative sleep soon 💫

  43. 12 days ago with very little notice, both Esalen and Deetjen’s graciously accepted my heavy- hearted cancellation with full refund. Both were gracious, informative, and kind. And I’m grateful to the person at Esalen (if you are reading, thank you again) for wisely advising me re smoke (which wasn’t bad at that point that far south) and my lung/health issue–that the wind and air could change at any minute, and that the point of Esalen was about healing. I love Big Sur–it’s been over two years since I’ve visited and I was so looking forward to this trip–but health issues notwithstanding, it felt strange to come during a time of threat and turmoil to the land and community. I’m praying for all of you. Jeanette, I’m glad there is wisdom on this page for you, whatever you decide. Your words are full of grace. I hope you are able to resolve things. Big Sur Kate, you sound like an extraordinary human. You could be a Supreme Court Justice re your comments and posts. Instead, you have created this superlative blog. I’ve learned so much from you. Yes, kindness, kindness…

  44. Wanted to share a very touching scene that I observed tonight at Calvary Church in Monterey (on 68 – near airport). I had read on this blog that Palo people were gathering there, because it is a place where they can sleep in tents, have their pets with them, and stay as long as they need to, and enjoy the companionship of their lifetime neighbors, also from Palo. It’s a cheerful scene at Calvary, and big props go out to the church directors for being so generous and welcoming to those in need. Calvary is on a large, spreading piece of property, with a huge winding parking lot, dotted with oak trees, natural plantings and in front of the long strip of church buildings, is a rolling green lawn. Tucked back against a wall is an “outdoor theater” area, under some graceful oak trees. Here is where there are about 6-8 “vendor” tents set up, strewn with twinkle lights, and underneath there are about 4 tables set up, with about 20 chairs here and there, and against a back wall, there are more tables, neatly organized with every type of food, drink and supplies one might need in a large group camping situation. There is a neat dishwashing setup, and I noticed a huge beautiful vase of fresh flowers and an incredibly delicious looking HUGE carrot layer cake (from Gayle’s?) As you walk up to the tents, there are neatly organized cardboard boxes alongside the walkway full of clothes, labeled “Women’s Pants” etc. Another area has camping supplies, blankets, bed rolls, pillows …. it was a combination of a free store and a communal gathering area. Felt very friendly and “tribe-like”.

    I wandered in and met a sweet couple, with kind and loving eyes and great hugs, who shared that they are from Palo and that fortunately, their house was spared in the fire. They said their focus now was on helping their neighbors get on their feet back at Palo, letting anyone who needed a shower use our home”. They explained that Palo is a “very tight neighborhood” and added “we take care of each other”. I also met Elsa, whose huge smile warmed my heart, and she shared that “this is my family. I’m here to take care of my family. I know a lot of people, so I’ve been able to help get people connected, so they can get what they need.” Elsa kindly invited me to stay for dinner, which was being delivered as I was leaving – and it seemed that the community was beginning to gather – some coming from the 8 tents set up under the oak trees nearby – and others arriving in cars. I met more people – a man from Cachagua who added, “It’s so smokey there, I just needed to have a break. I’m going to stay here until it clears up. I have everything I need here.”

    So… this is how Palo people get through a disaster. This is how it’s done. They reach out and stick together, and help each other through the crisis. I asked what supplies were needed, and a volunteer shared, “right now, we need extension cords to help people start rebuilding their houses – so they can have power.”

    I found myself standing for 2-3 minutes just taking it all in – speechless. This was love. This was the definition of love. This was people making it happen, with each other, and for each other. No one “swooped down” to rescue these people – they rescued themselves – and they are helping themselves recover. And they were doing it with twinkle lights, tons of food, a beautiful camping set up, and a sense of community, that no fire could break. Sweetest thing. so touched by it all.

  45. Thank you MT for sharing this scene! You illustrated it so well. So touching. Yes, the living presence of Love moving between these folks. In the end, isn’t this what gives ours lives ultimate meaning? Aloha!

  46. Awoke around 2:30am to smell smoke here in the Highlands — strange, as the fire in our particular area was successfully put to rest some 10 days ago. Perhaps the wind has shifted and is now coming from the south. In any event, I decided to check in with my new BFF, Kate’s blog. MT — It was indeed heartwarming to read your touching description of the experience you had while visiting the Calvary Church last night. It reminded me of back in the 90s, when the bridge that carried travelers over the Carmel River was destroyed, some of us Highlanders finding ourselves stranded in town, unable to get home, others stranded down here, unable to get into town for supplies. I think that many of us build our lives in this wonderous part of the world as here we are embraced by a multitude of natures visual and physical riches like no other; many of us also settle in the area for the privacy that it offers. During the time of the bridge disaster, residents came together to help one another — some brought food and water to those in need, others fed pets that they discovered outside and without sustenance. Many, many people graciously offered an abundance of Love.

    Blessings to the Firefighters. Bless all of you. And Bless those Precious, Innocent Animals of the Forest who are no longer with us.
    Terry Huntingdon Tydings

  47. @MT – this community is strong + driven by love. Thank you for the reminder!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.