Soberanes Fire, Day 55, 9/14/16

A lot of questions re the slides from Arroyo Seco to the Indians are answered by one who knows:

“The READS stated that if the slides could be cleared without having any of the material go into the river drainage then would allow them to be cleared. But for those of us that have seen the slides we know there is no way they could be cleared without a lot of material ending up in the river. So with that said I doubt the slides will be opened. I did have a dozer clean the road bed from the Seco campground to the trailhead at Horse Bridge so you can get Type-6 equipment to there easily now.”

Photo by Ken Wright looking north from DP 107:


Looks textbook to me, but I am not now, nor have I ever been, a firefighter.

Soberanes Fire daily update for September 14

Incident: Soberanes Fire Wildfire
Released: 15 min. ago
Related Information
Soberanes Fires daily update for September 14 (pdf 58 kb)
Los Padres National Forest
Daily Update: September 14, 2016
Fire Information Line: (831) 204-0446
Incident: The Soberanes Fire is burning in the Los Padres National Forest, Ventana Wilderness, in Monterey County, CA. The fire was started by an illegal campfire on July 22, 2016 in Garrapata State Park.
Agency Jurisdiction: CAL FIRE San Benito-Monterey Unit/Los Padres National Forest.
Incident Command: California Incident Management Team 4, Rocky Opliger, Incident Commander.
Current Size: 107,375 acres (69,903 acres CA-LPF; 37,194 acres CAL FIRE)
Containment: 52% Personnel: 1,355 Cause: Illegal campfire Injuries: 1 fatality, 6 injuries
Structures Destroyed:
57 homes, 11 outbuildings
Structures Threatened:
Crews: 14
Engines: 64
Helicopters: 16
Dozers: 6
Masticators: 2
Water Tenders: 7
A public meeting will be held in Arroyo Seco on September 15, 2016, beginning at 6 PM.
Current Situation:
Weather conditions are now favorable for fire crews to begin executing a strategic plan to methodically initiate burn out activities that will strengthen the existing indirect fire line on the east-side of the fire. Indirect line is a fire line constructed away from the hot edge of the fire. Burning could begin as early as this morning.
Burn out involves intentionally burning vegetation from the indirect fire line. The operations will begin on Chews Ridge and progress northwesterly toward the existing containment line. Over the days ahead, crews will continue burning out the existing indirect line, forming a new containment line. The majority of the burnout operations will be ignited by individual fire crews using hand-held ignition devices.
The plan calls for creating a fire line that will prevent the fire from escaping the Ventana Wilderness Area. There is no intention to ignite all the unburned vegetation inside the Wilderness, just the perimeter.
The plan also includes protecting structures located inside the main indirect fire line. The public can expect to see increasing amounts of smoke as the burn out operations progress over the coming days and nights.
The fire containment has been lowered to 52% due to the current growth of the fire in remote inaccessible areas. The amount of uncontrolled fire perimeter changes constantly with the varying influences such as weather, fuels and topography. As burning of the indirect fire line continues the containment percentage will increase. The fire remains within existing containment lines.
All evacuation orders and warnings remain in effect.
For more information, visit: or follow us on social media at or

Containment has lost a little ground, down to 52% now.

8:30 am – John Chesnut’s map for today:


4 am – Again, there is no IR map for today, but I would suspect, rather than an ill pilot, or plane maintenance, as were true the last two times, this time it was due to cloud cover. From what I could see up here, between the clouds and the high fog, a flight would not have obtained much, if any, information. Instead, I bring you the Briefing map of the NEW “Control Objectives.” The one on the southern end of the fire is no longer the dozer line cut to the east from Rodeo Flats, but is Nacimiento-Fergusson RD. This is a 96×96 map (whatever that means) and these maps always crash my PDF to jpeg conversion software, so it is a screen shot. However, I have included the link, as always, so one can click through to the map itself. Also note the ridge of high pressure is coming back so temperatures will be rising and humidity will be dropping through the weekend.


Briefing Map in PDF

Here are the weather predictions and fire behavior discussions. Note, there are two of each – separate ones for each of the Eastern Operational area and the Western Operational area.



Here is an interesting chart:


Chart in PDF

21 thoughts on “Soberanes Fire, Day 55, 9/14/16

  1. Are there any predictions about when it might start raining? It will come eventually, the fire will go out and you can get your life back. And hopefully the rain will be sporadic enough at first to get some erosion control happening.

    Thanks again for this wonderful blog and all of the hard work that goes into it. I know the folks in Big Sur and points North and East will stick together and keep hanging in, as they always do.


  2. 96×96 refers to the printed size, so that would be the huge map they put up behind them during public meetings. The 11×17 maps print out small enough for a firefighter to use them while walking around.

  3. I did think it was probably size, but couldn’t figure out why it always crashes my PDF to jpeg conversion program, but huge would probably do it…


  4. Thank you again Kate, for putting all this information out for us in such an organized and synthesized manner! It’s really amazing what you are able to put out! Thank you!

  5. Thank you so much Kate for your intense focus on the fire, relaying so much information to all of us…you have removed alot of anxiety in our hearts, knowing you care enough in a personal way, to keep all of us updated on a daily basis…Bless you…

  6. Good Morning, I want to echo what Alva said, Thank so much for all your hard work and for keeping us updated. Sorry to bother you w/this….but where can I find the link you included for today’s “Briefing Map”?

  7. Drove down Laureles Grade could see a huge plew of smoke on the ridges beyond Tassajara – Cal Fire planes have been circling around most of the day. Winds seem to be taking the smoke in a NW direction along the ridge line.

  8. There are 5 tankers out of Paso working this burn out operation. NW is good. That’s where they want to direct the fire – back on itself.


  9. FWIW Kate, It did sound like the KION news anchors were addressing the cost nationally to me, but, it definitely added spice as the state record. If you need to drop my earlier statement go ahead.

  10. No worries, it probably is, as the longest fire in the LPNF was the Zaca in 2007 in Santa Barbara at 60 days. Looks like we will beat that record.


  11. Kate, not sure if NW wind is best for Jamesburg, Tassajara Rd and Arroyo Seco if they are starting firing ops here on Chews Ridge as early as tomorrow morning. Guess the fire is finally arriving, by firing squad, after all these weeks of warning. I am so sick of it … but then, its better than having a new fire nearer by. Could happen any unexpected moment.

  12. Regine, they started fire ops today, and all went well. I can understand your anxiety, but they really seem to be good at what they do.


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