Soberanes Fire, Day 46, 9/5/16

Have had company all afternoon, and continue to do so, so while I will check in before bed, I am taking the evening off.


7:45 pm – a wonderful photo from Pilot Bill taken at 7500 feet at 1640 hours this afternoon:


10:00 am – here is another photo of Saturday’s plume by Ana (Alva) Sargenti from her house on CVR:


9:30 am – here is John Chesnut’s map:


I don’t like that isolated little finger there directly east of McWay Rocks. Also, the weather and fire behavior predictions are warning of the potential to push toward The Coast Ridge containment lines. Not a happy thought. It does mean that the fire is less likely to reach Tassajara Zen Center, though. We will just have to watch the winds for the next few days.

7:00 am – here are today’s maps:


IR Topo Map in PDF

Soberanes and Chimney Fires are now only 35 miles apart, while Chimney isn’t growing anymore, Soberanes continues to do so. And here are the daily fire behavior and weather predictions for today:


5 am – Good morning! (I know, it is way too early) As of the latest IR Map, which was flown last night at 8:41 pm, this fire is now up over 100,000 acres – 100,428 per the map (which I will post later this morning) for an increase of approximately 2,000 acres on Sunday.

From the USFS Alaskan IMT – Here are some highlights from Sunday evening’s #SoberanesFire planning meeting.

• There were no spot fires reported across the Coast Ridge Road on Sunday.
• Expected north/northeast winds on Monday should slow the spread of fire toward the Tassajara Zen Center. (BSK note: doesn’t appear to have gotten any closer on Sunday. Dare we hope the fire with bypass the Center this time around?)
• A warming and drying trend is expected to begin Tuesday with temperatures over most of the fire ranging from the mid-80s to mid-90s through at least Friday, with little or no relative humidity recovery.
• Fire is now established in the North Big Sur, Willow Creek and Zigzag Creek drainages.
• There was active fire spread in the Pick Creek and Willow Creek drainages and in the vicinity of Black Cone Mountain, though it was much reduced in that area after a run to the ridge on Saturday.
• The fire has not crossed the Willow Creek drainage.
• Active fire above the Carmel River on the east side of the fire continues to decline with little significant movement noted in recent infrared flights.
• The Burned Area Emergency Response team from the U.S. Forest Service has completed its initial assessment in the northern portion of the fire and a preliminary Soil Burned Severity Plan should be completed by Wednesday.
• Quote of the Day: “The fire flexed its muscles last night and will continue to do so when conditions are right, and we will respond accordingly.” – Alaska Interagency Incident Management Team Incident Commander Tom Kurth about Saturday night’s flare up that resulted in a 2,700-acre increase.

Okay, that’s it. Back at a decent hour with the usual maps and notes.

22 thoughts on “Soberanes Fire, Day 46, 9/5/16

  1. Thank you, Kate, for continuing to keep us informed, week after week. Thankful that the fire has seemingly bypassed the Zen center. Prayers for the folks there.

  2. I googled “visit Big Sur” and one of the few places there was any mention of the fire and closures was in the comments. No big warning banner front and center… nothing but “come and visit!”. The search brought up not only big name travel sites but also what I would consider LOCAL sites. It is no wonder people are still coming and “surprised” when they get here.
    In the effort to protect Big Sur and educate people, might I suggest we use the technology that is literally at our finger tips. (After all, you are on a computer, reading this blog) There was previous mention of installing cameras but that only deals with people once they are here. (And do you REALLY want cameras in your backyard? I wouldn’t and once you let “Big Brother”, you ain’t gonna get him out)
    Think like a tourist/non-local so you can figure out how to get your message to them. Updating websites is not that difficult. This will reach people world wide, not just at the trail head. I might start with a big picture of the destruction as the first thing they see on the top 10 sites that come up with a simple search. While I have no detailed, long term plan for this action, I hope that by putting this out there that someone will grab and run with it.

  3. @Denise — Although I agree with the spirit of what you’re suggesting, I doubt that posting photos of the damage and destruction wrought by this fire are going to gain favor with the local businesses in the Big Sur Valley who count on the typically busy summer months to carry them through the remainder of the year. They’ve suffered enough already and only now are regaining lost ground as the fire continues to burn south and eastward. Now that the FS has officially closed the Monterey Ranger District and have posted signs at major intersections and at trail heads leading into the back country, let’s hope that public adherence to law will be enough to stem the tide of visitor interest in the back country. Perhaps local merchants can post conspicuous reminders of the forest closure order and nicely ask their visitors to cooperate for the benefit of our lands and the local community.

  4. The picture of the plume on Saturday says it was from CVR-what does that stand for and where was the plume coming from? With tremendous gratitude for all you do for all of us, Kate.
    Amy Essick

  5. Denise, I work at a hotel in CV and am continue to be blown away by the amount of guests visiting the area that have no idea that a fire is burning nearby :(.

  6. gogengo – Sadly – not just “guest”. During the 2nd week I went into Salinas and ran into people that were unaware of the fire. Said he didn’t watch the news. Didn’t know until he tried to go to Toro Park and it was closed (fire command camp) Tried not to roll my eyes as I suggested he look at the sky and maybe smell the air… then maybe use that smart phone he had.
    Did you google “visit Big Sur”? Ask because searches are influenced by user’s previous searches.

  7. Sheriff just drove up to tell us we are under evacuation warning here in Buck Creek (Esalen area). CHP says “Fire jumped the line above Julia Pfeiffer Burns SP.”

  8. Thats awesome news. Hi Kate I live up by Dolan creek and just wanted to thank you and the other people in the community for keeping me updated on this fire you folks are awesome. Thanks again Rick

  9. The Reverse 911 text: “An Evacuation Warning effective 6 p.m. today has bee issued for the Big Sur – Pardington/South Coast Center Area and applies to all residents and businesses east of Highway 1 and Grimes Canyon, extending south to the intersection of Highway 1 and Dolan Canyon. The area is bounded to the east by North Coast Ridge Road and includes all residents and businesses on Dolan Ridge Road.”

    Their words…not mine…

  10. Evan – I hear you saying “business before community.” Firefighting and Disneyland like tourism do NOT go well together. With the forestry and parks closed there is no place for the tourists to go. So they hang around asking “what’s there to do around here?”, and generally create congestion. If the fire were out by now, your comment would make more sense to me, get the tourists back in. Since it is still active, the firefighting, aka protecting the community, takes priority. Asking tourists nicely to follow the rules…hasn’t been working, as evidenced by the fire. Business owners know they take a risk, especially those in Big Sur. Surviving is what they do. If tourist want to come and volunteer in the cleanup and sift through ashes or help a family build a temporary structure, or install a new water tank….I totally support that. But not just to bumble up & down the highway taking selfies. Tourist that do come need to have an alternate plan because the usual parks and trails are closed.

  11. First let’s all admit there are strong emotions involved here and no easy fix.
    My ideas are geared towards possible solutions and future situations, not toward hurting the businesses. As for the “picture” idea, that was to get their attention. Too much shock, you think? You know what shocked me? The results of that simple “visit Big Sur” search. Please try it and get your own results. I think it helps explain why there are so many “clueless tourist” running around. It is possible that if the “tourist” had seen the information, they may have changed their plans accordingly. While you can’t cure “stupid”, for most people, vacations are meant to be special and enjoyable and take a good chunk of change. $$$ Therefore…
    Back to the results of the search. The internet is not going any where so it should be used to your advantage. While Big Sur has enjoyed a good run for a number of years, 3-4 months of profitable $ummers, followed by the remainder of the year of (fairly) peaceful months in which you are privileged enough to enjoy by the shear fact that you live there… there will be more fires… made by man or made by Mother Nature, it will happen.
    And after fires……. mud slides. So there you go – the next bit of information that could…SHOULD… be put out there.
    Hey – building on Della Luna’s idea!
    Eco vacations – search that!
    They will need a place to sleep (camp sites and lodges)
    They will need to eat. (stores and restaurants)
    And not only will they help Big Sur recover…
    They will be “educated”.
    And maybe, just maybe… post something on that thing called “The Internet”
    just saying…

  12. If it makes anyone feel better by not seeing a lot warning about the fire in tourism related sites, I have yet to get someplace on vacations for years and find it as it was advertised. I remember one trip in Hawaii that we had to actually consider sleeping in the car because of the accommodations or flying across the country only to find EVERY hotel room booked and no place to go despite reservation making, confirming, the whole works. I was the one who mentioned cameras and sorry I need to clarify. I don’t want Big Brother either. I think what I was thinking of is in the wilderness and forests to have streaming video with visitors knowing that the area is being patrolled. This serves several purposes. First, it lets folks know that they are being watched and may be a deterrent. Second IF perish the thought something happens, the tapes could identify people by site as it helps with banks and their videos etc. I agree with what someone said earlier about requiring people to register before going hiking etc. Heck, in case something happens to them, at least there would be somewhere of tracking them and getting help to them right away. Yes, yes, I know there will be a percentage that would fall between the cracks and yes, I know many people cherish their anonymity but I just think there has to be some changes that have to be made in the way things have been done. We just can’t afford to have the happen again to our precious, precious Big Sur. We have too much technology now at our hands not to use it. Kate, so glad you had a special day of visitors!

  13. (IMO) Jane – truly no need to be sorry. For if you are, then so am I. Because it is very difficult to fit so much in a typed format. So many possible ideas. So much feeling. But keep at it! The important thing is to keep throwing out ideas and see what sticks. Not good about the bad Hawaiian experience, (lived there a total of 6 years as a Navy brat – doubt if I would recognize it) lots of “someones” not taking care of business. “They” just didn’t care enough. Big Sur can do better. Cameras and tech – gotta be something that will both do the job and respect your privacy. While I might throw out ideas, more importantly, it’s the people that live in Big Sur open that need to make sure to keep that Big Sur touch in every and all solutions. Cuz I kinda need Big Sur.
    side note – moved back to Monterey County a couple yeas ago – things were FINALLY working out so I could go this Indian Summer. No I’m not coming – and yes I’m most unhappy with myself – for not getting my priorities straight. Yes – Big Sur is a priority in my books. Since the 70’s – although it did take me a while to truly get it. 😉

  14. Denise: so thank you for your kind words. Big Sur is one of those places that wherever you are in the world, you are there for sure. I did write the Visitors Council and expressed my viewpoint based on, for example, our Hawaii experience last year, that it would be best to provide information vs. selling the area. I heard from a friend today back east and they don’t hear about the fire and of course they have their own news back there but “we” are a world class place with people all over. I do think that a wider information loop needs to be done, I did tell them in my note that so many people were angry about the area we went being misrepresented and wouldn’t it be better to provide information about areas to visit and what areas not to visit now, update it regularly through the fire, and beyond, and provide links, be as helpful as possible vs. selling, we don’t need to sell our area, we need to make sure the area can heal. I think Kate’s venue is amazing but sadly one of the only ones I’ve seen online and honestly I’m just glad there is a great community there to support Kate and step up to the plate. I was actually in Big Sur the last fire and it came very close, I was never more impressed with the community as I was then. Thanks for the kind words. Yep, keep on keeping!

  15. A Good Start: as some of you may know about me already (!), if I am fussing about something, I also go to the people/organization that I am fussing about or have concerns about. Over the Holiday weekend I wrote the Monterey Visitors about my concerns with promoting the area, making their efforts an educational campaign vs. merely a pr. campaign. Today I received a note back from them where they have told me they have the fire alert on their webpage as well as a section on sustainable visiting in the area including Big Sur. I just checked both those areas of their site and indeed they are there. It’s a good start I think….I feel better.

  16. Kate: you are so welcome, it takes one to know one! I am glad you had some non digital time off today. Me? I threw myself a birthday party in Santa Cruz tonight!

Leave a Reply

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