Soberanes Fire, Day 24, 8/14/16 – Local Reports

8:30 pm – Parting shots of the fire – my last tonight – from the turn out at Pfeiffer Ridge, by Dylan Langdon




4:30 pm – And here we have the MODIS map from Adam Clark with both fires on it. There is a green line that dissects California – that is the SLO/Monterey County Line – I am north and 2 miles inland as the crow flies from there. Looks like a pincher move to me.


This must be so hard to watch for those still in the Valley. Let’s all hope this works!

3:00 pm – from Clear Ridge RD. just above River Inn, photo by Mike Gilson:


2:20 pm – the view of the State Park from Pfeiffer Ridge by Kyle Evans:


1:20 pm – Firing up Juan Higuera, photos from Clear Ridge by Jen Smith:



12:30 pm


10:30 am


7:00 am – The fire gained about 800 acres last night, making it 72,566 with containment still at 60%. The IR report lists acres as 73,245, which would mean an approximate gain of 1500 acres.

REMEMBER; Highway One closes today at 2 pm for up to 24 hours. Cal Trans seems to think it will be open in the morning. We hope that is true, as it will mean all went as planned.

On the Chimney Fire, I am not doing a new page on that one, just adding to yesterday’s. Still smoky up here from both, but it is on the south side of the Lake, so much better for my position.

39 thoughts on “Soberanes Fire, Day 24, 8/14/16 – Local Reports

  1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful blog reporting on local conditions regarding the Soberanes Fire. A group of us Texans vacations annually (if schedule permits) at a spot just south of Carmel and your blog is invaluable as we make plans to visit in a couple of weeks. Of course, it would be more helpful if we knew the local geography and place references better, but Google Earth is a big help there.

    We have had you, your neighbors, and the fire crews in our thoughts and prayers and will continue to do so. Thank you again for sacrificing sleep, time, and energy to keep us interested folks up to date!

  2. Looking at today’s maps … The Coast Ridge Road firing operations are spotting to the east and south, it appears from the maps. Looks like spots were near Mont Olmsted, way out there.

    Do you know where they plan on stopping the coast ridge firing ops? Are they just going to let it run all the way east and south? Is there a plan to contain it so it does not devour everything to East Carmel Valley Road to the E and Arroyo Seco and Nacimiento to the S?

    Looking for answers.

    With appreciation

  3. RAJ, I’ve heard but not confirmed, that the plan is to fire off on the Coast Ridge RD, all the way past Esalen to Big Creek and turn it inland there. There is a firing operation to protect all of Carmel Valley, and the PTB are telling Tassajara Zen Center they are confident they will be able to protect them. You can glean most of these from the Dozer maps with the link posted on my “maps, etc” post.


  4. Thank you so very much for all your EFFORTS in continuing updates regarding this terrible fire! We continue uphold all of our Big Sur neighbors in prayer. Kate next time your in San Simeon, stop by the Cavalier Restaurant, I would love to buy you breakfast! Good Luck Kate. Travis morning waitress

  5. Thanks Kate for your reply. Yes, all the dozer lines are in place as you described … my concern is that that the plan is to let the fire go as it pleases within these lines. That is a lot of death and smoke! So while the containment lines may be burned by Aug 31, will the interior burn on past Aug 31?
    I still feel strongly that since this is a manmade fire, it should be kept within the smallest footprint possible. An act-of-god-fire is different in that the fire would go its uncaring way unless crews step in, risking their lives, to protect our lives and possessions.

  6. Kate, I am wondering about the same thing as Raj. I realize that plans have to change depending on the circumstances, but do you have any information what the plan is at this point? Thank you for all that you and your team do.

  7. Just heard about the 6 pm meet at Tularcitos elementary school. I understand they will discuss the ‘last leg’ of the prescribed backfiring. Plan on going since we are just about guaranteed that we can go back home after the meet so I don’t have to drag my cat with me. Thanks Kate

  8. Re questions about the exposed areas of Ventana wilderness an LPNF. The short answer unfortunatly is yes, the plan is to let it burn. More specifically, that area is to dangerous to allow men and equipment to work in without the guarantee of immediate air support for extract and medivac. The smoke is making that impossible atm, and frankly air quality is not worth the risk to ff lives. With the right weather conditions that could change but I wouldn’t bet on it. These crews have done an amazing job of working together and with locals to build a good plan and solid defenses to protect as many people’s livelihoods as possible. My thanks to them, and Kate, and all who are helping to support these efforts and this community. Thoughts and Prayers

  9. Thank you JA. Great explanation. Each day, the plan continues to be keep the fire north of Nacimiento, West of the highway and coastal houses, and east of the occupied areas of CV, Cachagua, and Tassajara. That hasn’t changed. Since the moment it crossed into LPNF, we’ve known it would have to be left to burn in the interior. Every single other fire I’ve lived thru here in 31 years has been the same. There just is no way to fight it back there that is safe.


  10. I am wondering if thee could be more arial help for the impossible to reach back country or even the parts of the fire that are close to the iconic businesses and environment in Big Sur. Is it a problem of weather, water or just lack of super scoopers?? I have heard that it is a problem dropping sea water. Is that true?

  11. Another perspective: Fire is in natures plan and it doesn’t know or care how this fire started. The wilderness area will and needs to burn and the only question is when. The problem is our perspective that we build houses in the trees or brushy ridges and it is our right to have them forever. A quick look at Google Maps makes it abundenly clear that nature still owns this land and we are tenative guests. The crews are in place and the burns seemingly are going well. Once the fuel load has been burned off we can breath easier for a few years until nature needs to purge herself again. When we put fires out the fuel load continues to increase and when it does burn the area is devastated. Aniamls can’t move out quickly enough from those infernos and most burn to death. Tree can’t take the intensity of the those fires and are killed in mass. The recovery of new growth is far too long and errosion in a common result.
    I feel the pain of those who have lost their homes and I grieve for the family of Robert Reagan. Now my constant worry is making sure that the 30+ people who depend on a paycheck from our little business will be supported through the winter after this summer’s traffic is impacted. I also know that the planned fire perimeter is right behind us and anything can happen in late August and September when the winds blow off-shore with authority. I stood in the driveway during the Basin fire and watched hundred foot flames on the wrong side of the fire break on the neighbor’s property.
    In my opinion this has been a text book perfect example of how a fire should be fought. The authorities have worked with locals and listened to their recommendations. They have understood and respected the economic needs of the many people who rely on visitors for their income. They have opened evacuated areas quickly to those displaced. And they have focused on the safety of the crews and locals. That is quite a difference from 2008.

  12. I’m so sorry reading any fire growth. I think, is it true, the weather’s been mostly in favor of the warriors and residents, mostly wind down and cool. In Carmel Valley Village we’ve had 2 mornings in a row with actual wet –rain into the morning! And relatively clear skies, though today’s a bit overcast yesterday was brilliant standard blue.
    The analysis of really good work between residents and fire fighters is on the money. The fire fighters out here have been fantastic and reassuring, and know what they’re doing. What changed. No FEMA. Thank you, thank you very much.
    Kate your sense of responsibility to the neighborhood(s) is so moving, I’m so grateful for your courage, your reports.
    Is there anything you need, anything all of us out here can do for you.

  13. Firing above GlenOaks/St Francis is underway.
    I wish they had mentioned the power outage on yesterday’s announcement!

  14. In the past hour- smoke, dusty air- thin clouds from the coast moving to CV Village & beyond coating the hilltops from the west.

  15. Incident: 00177 Type: CLOSURE of a Road
    Location: Sr1 S / Pt Sur Loc Desc: SOBRANES FIRE
    Lat/Lon: 36.310797 -121.887033
    Detail Information
    2:12 PM 17 [34] 1039 27-S3
    2:12 PM 16 [33] 27-N2 – SOUTH END CLOSURE IN PLACE

  16. Thank you, JA and Ken for your thoughtful explanations. And much thanks to Kate! Stay safe, all.

  17. Deetjens is already experiencing an influx of angry bewildered tourists upset from the turn around and wanting to vent. I called the CalFire line to see if the area South of the closure would be patrolled to keep and eye on things (especially overnight) and they advised me to call the Sheriff’s Department. I called the Sheriff’s department and told me there wasn’t much they could do and that the tourist should be reading the signs. I explained how that is a moot point for this area, and I am waiting to hear back. Deetjens was a stop on the Vandals/thieves list who were caught at Nepenthe too, so I am hoping they take this into consideration. Any other advice?

  18. As we sing the praises of those risking their lives to save our properties and businesses, keep your eyes open for a petition on to give Cal Fire personnel proper wages above minimum wage, days of work and benefits comparable to city firefighters. Apparently there’s a huge difference of 33% – 89.3% btw the 2. There’s also a table showing differences in the Monterey Co. Weekly on page 19 of 8/11-17 edition. These people deserve to be compensated on a level that can be a living wage and support their families, even when they don’t get to enjoy being with their families while they save our communities. It’s the least we can do for them.

  19. Oh yes, and if the tourists would only read the signs posted North (Rio Rd and South of Hwy 1 (Cambria, Rte 46) when they have the opportunity to choose an alternate route, they would save themselves (& those dealing with their dilemmas) a lot of trouble. Being aware is a really good attribute!!

  20. PG&E is back on on Pfeiffer Ridge now. I’m wondering whether to trust it or stay on generator for a bit. Anyone hear anything about the early return?

  21. Just drove past Tularcitos ES for the Cal Fire session didn’t see any activity at all- so, if someone has the ability to stream the meeting where ever it is- please post it when you have time.

  22. FTR : Ongoing now: Cal Fire Meeting taking place at Carmel High School on Ocean Ave.

  23. Kate….do get some rest…after that wine and cheese and whatever sweets ya have…..I think you’re going to need it.

  24. Re: The matter of Firefighter Pay – Consider the situation of USFS Firefighters. In many cases they make half or less than equivalent positions in the City/County ranks. Not only that, many of them are Seasonal employees (meaning no job half the year). No wonder many transfer agencies when they get the chance. I’m not a firefighter – but support them in my job (and visit Big Sur fairly often in the course of my work).

  25. 8/15 hwy 1 closed MONDAY AUG !% 3am-???? est 5pm due to hazardous tree. official notice came via pdf from STan /dont know how to copy

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