Soberanes Fire, Day 53, 9/12/16

8:00 pm – here is one important detail: At noon, or so, the IC asked to divert aircraft from the Willard fire up by Susanville, and at 1 pm IC ordered the VLAT from McClellan, and 4 or 5 type 1 AT. That leads me to believe something unexpected happened.

This is what Keith Vandervere has to say about today:

“It may have been cooler today, but lower humidity and breezy conditions created an active fire day anyway. There was no new heat detected at the leading edge of the fire, near the Arroyo Seco River, but the fire along the North Fork Big Sur River burned west to the edge of the fresh black along Cienega Creek and made another big run to the ridge overlooking Tassajara Creek. The firing operations on the Coast Ridge also resulted in a large-scale burn today. The red heat detections were acquired around noon and 2:00 pm this afternoon.” This is the MODIS map he includes, but remember, the heat detections can be false readings, and I haven’t seen anything official, yet. At 6am, the CIIMT-4 takes over from the Alaska one.


To read the rest of his post re today’s activity, go to: Xasauan Today

7:30 pm – I am gathering up what details I can, after being gone all day for my annual physical. My doc asked me what I had been up to and I told her I’d been busy for a couple months with the blog I write about the Soberanes Fire. She asked, “What blog?” I said, “BigSurKate.” She said, “OMG, I have a cabin in Cachagua and I read you regularly. You are Bigsurkate.” “Yup, that’s me.” She has been treating me for years. Now she wants me to monitor my blood pressure for a month. Hmmm…

While I was gone, my dog sitter informed me it was incredibly smokey up here. There was a column when I left, but fog up high when I got home. One person in hot spring canyon heard (but could not see due to fog) a lot of air traffic, including what he thought was the DC-10. Another friend was monitoring the air traffic site, and noted the DC-10 was flying “our” fire today, and was concerned there may have been a blow up. I have a photo from earlier today taken from Carmel Valley of the plume that I will post later.

As one friend says, I am busy “chasing details” tonight, and will post all that I find, while I sip on red wine (it is quite chilly up here) and nibble on cheese and grapes.

8 am – John Chesnut’s Map:


7:30 am – quite a plume building on the west side of the fire – presumably from the planned burn out operation in the vicinity of Marble Peak. Fog is also quite high – around 2,000 ft. So some of you will be spared seeing it.

4 am – our IR pilot is back. The flight was earlier than usual at 9:21 pm, plotting a total of 105,705 acres, which at first glance means no significant increase, however, yesterday’s acreage was based on “on ground” estimates, so this is probably more accurate. Also, a reminder than there is a community meeting tonight at 6 pm at the fire station/community room in Arroyo Seco. Both the Alaskan Interagency Incident Management Team and the incoming California Interagency Incident Management Team 4 will be there to discuss the fire. If Interested in information about the new IMT, here is their website: CIIMT-4 Website


IR Topo Map in PDF


South Ops Map in PDF


9 thoughts on “Soberanes Fire, Day 53, 9/12/16

  1. I imagine you have so many sources of info coming at you that this is in that pile somewhere but just in case… U.S. Forest Service – Los Padres National Forest recently (8AM) put out another good video on FB.
    Also of interest was that on 9/13 the command of the fire will be handed over to California Team 4, at which time … will be re-evaluated.

  2. Here is a well-wish to the water tender operator and his family. He was injured yesterday fighting this fire, doing his job. Reminds me how much I appreciate the hundreds and thousands who have been fighting this fire, even after my own home has been saved from danger by their work.
    I wish you a full and complete recovery with god’s speed.

  3. Any info on how Tassajara Zen Center is faring? Last update from them on Favebook said that they had gotten an evacuation order and only a few monks with firefighting training stayed behind. Wondering if the fire has advanced to the valley.

  4. Thank you for your endurance keeping everyone posted. I took a pic from Laurles grade of the burn Tassahara side I’d like to share. How do I post/send it? New at this! Charlotte CV Rd.

  5. there was just a break in the fog here in Hot Springs canyon and I was able to see some of the aircraft as they pulled out of their retardant drops. from this angle it looked like they were working the Arroyo Seco/Lost Valley area of the fire. also major smoke from north rim of this canyon, hope that was back side and pro-active!

  6. Hey all,

    I’ve been up here with Cordelia Cluett at Marble Peak for the last couple days assisting the firefighters with their water operations. They had a successful burn yesterday at DP-106 and Marble Peak, and laid a retardant check line just a few hundred yards south of Marble Peak to contain the fire for the night crew. Around midnight last night, a dry wind came in and pushed the fire south through the check-line and made for quite an active night of trying to tame the flames. They even had to bring in some of the day shift around 4am to assist them in the operation. Around 10:30am we heard crews on the radio calling in air support to help douse some hotspots and start double-bomber lines of retardant perpendicular to the ridge to try and halt / steer the fire off the ridge. They pulled in crews from Northern divisions along to road to assist in today’s operations, setting engines all along the fire to pump hose-lines and stay with and ahead of the fire as much as possible. We heard air operations overhead all day today. From what we could discern from the radio traffic, the fire burned quite a few miles south along the ridge today, at least all the way to around DP-107. The day crew stayed with the fire until the night team was able to arrive and take over just about 40 minutes ago.

    The weather here is quite cold and fogged in. Crews driving in and out are having a slow time working their way along the ridge due to visibility. It’s supposed to get into near-freezing temperatures up here tonight, and be fairly cool and dry for the next few days.

    With as much activity going on along the ridge, there has been zero slop-over onto the western side of the ridge (believe me, we keep triple checking). The teams seem pretty confident in their efforts to tame the burn, as the main concern has been keeping the heat down. Where there’s fuel, there’ll be fire, but keeping it at a lower temperature will keep it from spreading too fast. That’s what most of today’s air ops were aiming to provide.

    Will try to update with more pictures and information when we can.

    All the best,

    Nick and Cordelia

  7. Nick, thank you so much for that update. It is very helpful. Sorry I did not get it approved until this am, but it came in just after I went to bed for the night. NIce detail.

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