Soberanes Fire, Day 58, 9/17/16

I think this is the longest post with the most maps, information, and photos that I have published thus far, but that’s it for tonight. Time to put this (and me) to bed. Good night, Gracie.

From 8:30 pm a new satellite pass MODIS map. This one provided by John Chesnut, again:


From Ana (Alva) Sargenti taken at 7:45 from her driveway on East Carmel Valley Road. This has got to be spooky. I think some of you on Partington Ridge, Apple Pie Ridge, etc. can relate to this, right?


From Iris McWilliams who says this is above the dam.


7:15 pm – and here is what I see from my perch south of Nacimiento. That peak in the bottom left is Cone Peak. Below the column is the drift smoke.

Processed with Snapseed.
(c)Kate Novoa

7 pm – I am seeing a huge plume down here, which I usually don’t see from this far away and in that direction. I’m sure my CV friends are nervous. Here is a photo just taken by Sandy O’Keefe Bellany. Don’t think my shot came out, but will see if I can fix it.


6:00 pm – from Tularcitos, taken by Emily Miller, just now.


5:45 pm – photos taken by Matthew Millea from the Galante Vineyard. What’s interesting about this photo is one can see a very small spot fire on the east side of Hennicksons Ridge in this first photo – slightly right of center on the ridge line. Keep an eye on that one.



3:30 pm – Burning Operation of the east side of the Soberanes Fire, photo by (Mike? Richard? or? – didn’t identify himself in the email) who says this: “Just shot this one of the backfire on hennicksens, looking over little bear trap Miller mountain in the background.”


At around 2 pm, by Kevin Gillman who says: “Looking south east from my deck in Trampa canyon. Henickson’s ridge burning toward the dam. Chews ridge off to the left, los Padres dam off to the right. Taken about 2 pm today.”


Now these tell a story, don’t  they?  Make sure and read all the comments on this one, as people are sharing their first hand experiences of this operation. Yesterday, after 2 days of this operation there was 2 and 1/2 miles of line burned. This morning, there was 4 miles burned. Thank  you Richard and Kevin for sharing will all of us who can’t actually see this bad boy.

One of the things I paid close attention to on my way up the mountain was the direction the wind was gently blowing, which was NW, the exact direction they would want to make this line as strong as possible. I am just amazed at what they can predict and therefore do these days. That is a positive side of technology.

(FWIW, my Nat Geo topo trail map spells that ridge “Hennicksons” (I am informed by a decendent that historically it is actually Henningsen, after his great grandparents who homesteader this ridge.)


Soberanes Fire

Los Padres National Forest

Daily Update: September 17, 2016

CONTACT: 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: 108,441 acres (71,247 acres CA-LPF; 37,194 acres CAL FIRE)

Containment: 59% Personnel: 1,942 Cause: Illegal campfire Injuries: 1 fatality, 7 injuries

Structures Destroyed:
57 homes, 11 outbuildings
Structures Threatened: 410
Crews: 20
Engines: 133
Helicopters: 19
Dozers: 9
Masticators: 2
Water Tenders: 11

Current Situation:

Favorable weather continues to support the planned burnout operations on the east side of the Soberanes Fire. Crews on Friday burned out areas on the east side of Chews Ridge to extend the indirect fire line* toward the Los Padres Dam. Burnout operations** have completed approximately 4 miles of line.

Today, operations will continue north from Bear Trap towards Los Padres Dam. Structure protection is in place within the immediate area.

The incident strategy is personnel and public safety, while protecting values at risk in the remote, rugged terrain of the Soberanes Fire area. Additional resources are in place to support the current operations.

As temperatures continues to rise and the relative humidity decreases, fire activity will increase. With increased fire activity the public can expect to see additional smoke in the fire area.

The fire is 59% contained. As the burnout operations progress and the indirect line is strengthened, the containment percentage will continue to rise.

Laurel Springs Road continues to have heavy use of fire equipment traffic. The public is advised to avoid the road.

All evacuation orders and warnings remain in effect.

For more information, visit: or follow us on social media at or

*Indirect fire line is a fire line constructed away from the hot edge of the fire.
**Burnout is intentionally burning vegetation from the indirect fire line.

7:30 am – from John Chesnut:

“No overnight IR flight (there is a read me explicitly stating this). [reproduced below]
There is a IR helicopter flight from 3:40 Friday in the VETS folder.

VIIRS satellite shown substantial expansion of the Chews Ridge Burn”


7 am – another smoke-free day on the west side of this monster. Could not locate an IR flight map from last night, but found this:

“Soberanes, CA Wildfire Overview – 17 September 2016
Weather Conditions –
No data was available for analysis.

Details –
No data was received for this wildfire. No products were produced or provided.

Acreage –
Estimated Acreage: 108,031 (As of 16 September 2016)
Acreage Change (if any): +N/A”

This is what the “read me text” for the IR flight says, so it would appear that no flight was done last night, or if one was, the data for it was unavailable for interpretation.

I do, however have some of the other maps I usually provide. I will be gone this morning, and probably unavailable until afternoon sometime.


Briefing Map in PDF



Operations Map in PDF


Div UU VETS Map in PDF


Div. L Map in PDF

And here are the fire behavior and weather prediction discussions for both sides of the fire:


42 thoughts on “Soberanes Fire, Day 58, 9/17/16

  1. Not sure I caught what the explanation was for activity in CV yesterday- maybe expanded containment lines? But it was very unnerving to watch the smoke columns rise dead ahead on new territory while driving southeast on CV road. Feels like this beast is encroaching…

  2. The IMT is trying to tie back into the existing fire on the north east side of this beast to prevent possible future runs as the temperatures increase, the winds pick up (predicted for Sunday) and the humidity drops, as I understand it.


  3. This morning bloody glowing smokey skies looking out toward Chews Ridge at sunrise.

  4. I’ve sure had my share of those. Makes for beautiful photos, despite the anxiety it creates. Hope this is over soon for all of you on the east side. I know how nerve-wracking it must be, as do many who have faced the same burn out operations here on the west side.


  5. Ok everyone, NOW is the time to knock this thing out with everything we got-at least on the west perimeter around coast ridge!! The atmospheric wind patterns and inland high that trends in our late summer and especially following an El Nino is eventually going to produce a wind episode that will blow the fire over the line probably right before Nacimientio Rd around Cone peak. The winds then typically switch southeast even southerly as the inland high retrogrades and a lower pressure establishes. This means once the fire jumps the line it will rage northward in the unburned steep coastal slopes and unlike 45 days ago our coastal brush is really dry now!! Bottom line this fire SHOULD NOT BE let to burn right now and is detroying innumerable endangered/threatened species, emitting unprecedented levels of carbon dioxide and creating a massive erosion problem for our endangered fish, frogs and wildlife. I am an advocate for ZERO tolerance for human induced fires and “fire fighting” not “fire management”-like they are doing now. Fire management should only be done for lightning based fires that are meant to burn and usually follow a fairly sustainable episodic regime. I really hope the feds invest in more DC10’s and our fire fighters have more incentive to learn in depth about watershed dynamics and earth systems (CSUMB has a wonderful program that needs hard working physically accomplished individuals like fire fighters to ground truth and study many watershed issues). This way we have more of our population going to college obtaining Bachelor of Science degrees and taking on year around stable jobs and not throwing away millions of dollars of our tax money to young and old fighting fires that SHOULD NOT BE BURNING!!! I think this fire might change policy big time!!!!

    cheers, paul h

  6. Very very smokey down Hitchcock canyon… 🙁
    Hope it’s all for the good.
    Thank you Kate and all the others who contribute to our understanding of a thing like this …

  7. Paul, I agree with the ZERO tolerance.

    Who will drive the policy change?

    After speaking my peace to some firemen here on East Side while watching the backfire smoke on the ridge. I was directed to Toro Park command site to express my objection to their plan.

    And maybe the time has come to share this: While this site is a great resource for us laypeople, it is shunned, dare I say ridiculed by some by top shots of what is now the fire industry, Why do I say this? At one Cachagua fire meeting, I was in disbelieve of what I saw and I had my observation verified by other neighbors who attended to make sure I perceived correctly. When BigSurKate was referred to by one in the audience, they, the agency reps, physically took a slight step back on their podium, almost in unison and shared sentiment … one almost rolled his eyes with arrogance.

    That said, I sit back with anger at the devastation and cry for the loss of life and pray that stupid humans keep their presence and certainly their power out of all that is wild and more humane than humanity itself.

  8. Terribe smoke (graded unhealthy 156ppm) in Carmel Valley Village right now, it seems as bad as when the fire was first encroaching from the west. I’m in Robles Del Rio and I can’t see the other side of the valley. I’m getting concerned as well. Has Soberanes taken another turn towards us? Is the smoke from controlled burns, or just a shift in the smoke direction from the burning near the dam?

  9. Interesting … Since the IMT for this fire signed up to follow my blog – must be to see what we know. I hope my site continues to connect people on all sides of this fire, to share stories the IMT might not want to hear, as well as to express our questions, observations, frustration and even gratitude for what they do for all of us.


  10. Paul -one of the things you have to keep in mind is that the resources to do so are limited. When the Chimney fire broke out the Soberanes Fire IMT lost about half its resources to that. Of necessity- that requires changes in strategy.
    For example- fairly early on the the ops maps showed a fireline along the Willow/Tassajara Creek axis. After the Chimney fire broke out this line was not improved and the fire subsequently slopped over the line toward it’s southern end (the tongue that reached the Arroyo Seco drainage)
    If you look on the ops map for today you will find a fireline extending from the Coast Ridge Road near DP-136 to Lost Valley Creek and a planned one from Rodeo Flats to DP-110 (Escondido Campground) In essence it looks like the current IMT is being more aggressive than the previous one. But being so also requires the conditions to be right without putting your firefighters at undue risk.
    btw- sorry about any typos. Wordcheck keeps changing words on me and my typing skills suck too.

  11. Upper Robles here particulate matter sucks right now, smokey air being trapped within the trees near surface, but, if I can’t see the airfield or the surrounding hills ridge line beyond the village that’s when I get concerned. No issues on that part.

    Temps higher- humidity lower- makes it tougher on those fire back ops crew. Keep sunscreen applied, stay hydrated, & safe.

  12. Henickson’s ridge is burning actively now due to a planned burnout operation. I wish I could share a photo of it from my deck in Trampa canyon with you all…

  13. Interesting discussion. It’s really hard to know if it can be controlled anymore than it has been. The back country is truly wild and for us who are just reading the blogs, maps, etc. and not in the thick of it, we wonder why it can’t be stopped. But then there’s the terrain and all that Mother Nature provides such as the wind, humidity etc. that makes it challenging. I’ve caught myself wondering the same thing, and I should know better, living here.

    After each “campaign fire” I wish that more resources would be given to prevention than on defense of fighting the fires that come our way. But that hasn’t happened. The wheels of bureaucracy turn excruciatingly slow. Now that climate change is a more accepted reality, perhaps the damage that fires do on that level will change the dialog of prevention. Time will tell.
    Until then, the locals will have to remain vigilant re: visitors and their bad habits. I’m happy for the forest closure because it has certainly cut down the amount of threat to what’s still standing.

  14. Don’t forget that all this is limited by tax money and our representatives. The USFS would probably love to have 3x the firefighting resources for this fire, but tax revenue and budget allocations are a very big constraint on any government organization. The IMTs are just dealing with what they have, they do not have an unlimited budget for their ideal attack plan.

  15. It’s worth noting that a few $$$ spent on PREVENTION would save a lot of grief down the road. This really means, figuring out a way to educate people NOT to light campfires in summer. And arrest some of those who do — with lots of publicity, and a BIG HEFTY fine. In practice, this means making an example of someone. In the era of cheap e-cams, electronic “stakeouts” in popular illegal campsites might do the trick. Plus, entertaining watching for law enforcement!

    Plus, some way needs to be devised to let people camp near the coast, without sneaking into the backcountry. Maybe a separate thread for that?
    You’ll never stop it all, but if it’s REALLY COSTLY to get caught, people might not light fires. Half the battle….

    Arson is another story. “Fortunately”, arsonists are generally drive-up firebug sickos (I think). With 39 million people drifting around…. welcome to California!

    And thanks again, BSK, for your amazing work here!

    Cheers — Pete Tillman

  16. Cal Fire set up the original big box perimeter and stuck with a more aggressive firefighting plan. They guided it through the more populated canyons and ridgetops as precisely as possible. As it entered the Wilderness and fed controlled property they naturally moved aside.
    The Alaska Team did a great job all considered. They were helped by weather and used the milder weather to pinch the head as it moved south. Somehow, miraculously they (along with nature) steered it from Tassajara. It looked as though it would bump the south perimeter lines and it would be history.
    The new team decided to burn from Chews just as the weather changed. Perhaps Alaska had this on the books and this was the plan all along.
    Paul H. comment above noting the seasonal weather shift… Great comment and sure enough the giant header I saw while shopping in Marina at noon showed smoke from the cap drifting heavy north.

  17. I hung out with the crews backburning from Chews just as they were getting going yesterday morning. Great teamwork and very professional, and even nice to the civilian who just showed up. I sensed from some of their comments that they thought this line should have been fired a long time ago and they were eager to get it done. They are certainly getting after it today all of hennickensens smoking. Very methodical and measured in their approach.

  18. Great comment, Mike. Thank you for your informed and informing thoughts. Watching the smoke as I drove up my mountain, I will tickled to see it going north and west – exactly where we wanted it to go. Looks good from this angle.

  19. Yes, Little Philly, it cuts down on the need for vigilance, but doesn’t erase it. There were 5 EMPTY cars parked at Salmon Creek, I found one camper who was hiding, I pulled in and honked a number of times, so at least he knows he was spotted, and if he was watching, he saw me take a couple photos; and a group of 4 with 2 vehicles I stopped to talk to. I told them of the hefty fine, and they were packing up and leaving. When I got home, all were gone, but one van moved the signs and tape so he could park at the bottom.

    We need to start training them young to enjoy and appreciate nature, how to treat it, how to be safe for yourself, others, and Mother Nature. We need to set up nature camps for urban youth where they can’t isolate from peers with technology, or isolate from nature with the same. We need to sponsor and create said programs, and find girl and Boy Scout troops and school organizations and adults to mentor. Pacific Valley School is in a unique position to do this. You have the staff, the access to nature, and some wonderful mentors. This would be a very good project for the SCCLT to start in partnership with the school. I’ll bet lots of grants are available for this kind of stewardship.


  20. The local kids are not the ones we’re worried about, they live in nature and respect it (mostly). It’s the ones who come here and need to make that connection but also need to learn how to respect it. I give Ventana Wildness Alliance credit for what they are doing, having partnered with the USFS in clearing trails and using urban youth to do that while learning to connect in a responsible way with nature. A “two-fer”! I’ll defer to them for that task, I don’t think the SCCLT is up for it, sounds like a full time job, one of which I already have, thank you!

  21. I’m talking about urban kids coming here, with OUR kids mentoring them. Our kids can teach this stuff. I’m thinking a new program – an outreach program. Just need a director to put it together, and a grant writer to help finance it through Community Foundation and SCCLT and others. The hardest part would be to find the director. There already is a program like this out of Salinas that uses Toro Park, so not new ground. Maybe this winter, when I get bored (ha, ha – not likely if the rains come) I could look for an existing program and/or director to lead this.


  22. Something to think about: HWY 1, from Carmel to Cambria (and Nacimiento Ferguson on the East side) becomes a park of some kind, with limited numbers of vehicles/day (make a reservation with minimal fee for the admin costs). At each entrance, proof of a passing grade (multiple choice like for your drivers license) in say a 1hr environmental workshop/video provided near the park booth is required. This 1 hr effort and a small fee should be well worthed for those who really, really, want to experience what Big Sur, its coast and mountains have to offer. Additionally, it would greatly enhance that experience for those who travel that way.

    Just saying …

  23. I am stunned by the inanity if some the comments here regarding both the firing operations on the east side of the fire and the role of fire in general in this ecosystem. The burnout operations on the east side are absolutely necessary to provide a sizable protection zone, thus allowing resources to shifted to the south and west sides of the lines – it’s a no-brainer to seal-off the east while the weather cooperates. As for the ecosystem in general, it has been shaped by fire (mainly by native Americans prior to European conquest) and has the species mix that we have come to know and love due to frequent low intensity fires that have occurred for thousands of years. The solution is more fire – ie more controlled burns during periods of time when said fires are less like to get really large. Educating a gazillion tourists is just not possible or realistic – tourist are idiots and are largely from areas that aren’t bone dry in the summer. Having professionals run controlled burn operations is possible and should be the norm when conditions allow it. For example, when we know that a wet storm is approaching in October and airpower resources are available, controlled burns should be started both inside the wilderness ares and near the wilderness. A long term strategy of reducing fuel loads is the only way to reduce the size and intensity of future unintended fires.

    Furthermore homeowners living near wildlands need to design and fortify their structures to withstand fire. I recently applied multiple coats of FirefreeA paint to my structure so that its chances of survival are much enhanced, and in the next year I plan on installing an active protection system of sensors and gravity fed sprinklers. My structure survived the Plaskett 2 fire with only minimal asssitance form firefighters. It is simple and effective, and I just can’t understand why all property owners living on the wildland interface don’t adopt these measures. If you are going to get riled up about fires, then do something (other than bagging on the pros fighting the fire) or live somewhere else!

  24. Just a little clarification: It’s not urban youth who are doing the trail clearing with the VWA/USFS, it’s older folks, some retired, some not. Urban youth are, however, welcome to join us.

  25. Hi Kate, For the sake of historical accuracy, it should be Henningsen’s ridge. My Great Great Grandparents Nicolai and Ingermarie Henningsen homesteaded in that area (including the ridge) in 1875. I believe that they sold the ranch to Fred Nason Sr. about 100 years ago. With no Henningsens around to fact check the first Forest Service map, it was misspelled and has remained so ever since.

    Steve Ray

  26. can I get a big amen on that one, please?

    Jason speaks truth. it’s not hard or inelegant to build fire safe and burn pro-actively ( low intensity, fairly often ) as nature has evolved to do.

    we live IN nature, work with it or lose

  27. Hey, Steve, thanks for that. Very interesting. You should probably contact Monterey Place Names, but the book is out of print, and probably wouldn’t do any good. I think what I can do, is put “Henningsen” behind the Hennicksons with a notation that historically it was Henningsen. I always love historically accurate details.

  28. Re: fireproof paint, upthread

    This reminds me of a comment in the historic files of the Miami (AZ) Copper Co, which I once worked on archiving. An entrepeneur wrote in, promoting a fireproof paint he’d developed, probably in the 1930s, and asking for advice. Someone from the company wrote back a polite letter, pointing out that the more substantial companies built with steel, concrete and masonry. The smaller outfits, that built with wood, probably couldn’t afford his paint, and the company engineer wrote, with polite skepticism, that he wondered if ANY paint would be much help in a serious fire. I echo that skepticism.

  29. Hmm. I’m with Jason on this too. I’ve lived my whole life in rural areas and don’t consider that I know or understand much but with fire in this area it seems that fire is what we live with. We are small potatoes here and rather try to change what fire does or the USFS does or the weather does I have tried to fit myself into those forces rather than oppose or shape them. I accept that despite what I do to harden my house against fire and how much water I have and the fuel modification I’ve done… Still my house may burn down. I have no expectation that CalFire or anyone else will save me. there is no one to blame,stuff happens. It is the deal I make to live in wild nature. Living in the wild is a risk I enthusiastically take.

  30. I feel so lucky to live in beautiful Carmel Valley…and the reality of fire became a thing to me when we moved here from the Bay Area, and had to switch homeowner insurance companies, because State Farm wouldn’t insure us because of the fire danger. Living in such a beautiful part of the world comes with a cost…the danger of fire is always there, and it sucks. I have found myself getting frustrated with the process of fighting this fire…asking myself, why do all these other fires get put out quickly, and Soberanes is burning away….with containment dropping…and containment dates getting pushed out? Well, I’m not a fire fighter…but I have talked to several firefighters during this Soberanes battle. These are people coming from far and wide to fight this fire…leaving their families…endangering their lives…yes, the whole thing is REALLY frustrating! A couple days ago I was thinking, “Oh, awesome!!!!! To wake up to blue skies…and almost no haze…amazing!” And then, last night, to wake up at 2:00 am and have to get up to close the windows because my house smelled like a forest fire. Yes, it’s super frustrating…and it sucks!!!!! But, I am not going to second guess the firefighters who are making the plans and decisions…they are doing all of this for US who live here. I am SO grateful for Kate providing this blog…honestly, if it wasn’t for Kate I wouldn’t know what the heck is going on 99% of the time. I live near the summit of Laureles Grade Road, and last week I found Black Bear tracks around my horse barn…confirmed by the Fish and Wildlife Dept…and all I could think was, “Poor animals being displaced by this damn fire!” The bears are looking for water…my troughs have gone down significantly recently…they are leaving my animals alone…knock on wood…This fire SUCKS!!!!!!! But, I am super grateful for people like Kate who is providing much needed info, and the firefighters, who, in my opinion, are doing their very best.

  31. Well, I’ve heard of it, but I built with hardi plank – a concrete fiber siding that has been tested for 8 hours under a blow torch. My roof is metal. Even metal will burn, but like Steve Peck says, that is the risk we willingly take to live in the wilderness.


  32. Thank you Sandy. I think it is super important in times like these to remember to be grateful. There is always something to be grateful for. I am grateful to be able to host a forum for this community to share stories, photos, and love. Bigsurkate sure has taken on a life of its own due to our wonderful community of independent, self-sufficient, giving souls. Watching the blog evolve into something much bigger than I imagined has brought me such a feeling of awe of Big Sur, Carmel Valley, Cachagua, and Tassajara, and how close we truly are.


  33. Regarding firefree paint (the brand name) – if exposed to high heat is expands like a foam and thus insulates the wood behind it. It can withstand 2000 F. It costs about $60/gallon, requires 3 thick coats, and must be covered with an exterior paint. It meets all of the “ASTM E-84 Class A” ratings, including the 30-minute extended, at the recommended application rates. Often fire resistant structures made of concrete, cinderblock, and metal will have a few exposed wooden element such as rafters, windows, window sills, and etc, and by treating these weak spots with a fire resistant paint one can greatly enhance your fire protection. I too was skeptical about this product, but the sales guy produced a piece of cardboard with this paint on one side of it and applied a propane torch (like for sweating copper pipes) and roasted the the crap out the painted side of the cardboard. The paint expanded out to a thickness of about 1/2″ and the cardboard was undamaged. I was stunned. I have no financial ties to this company.


    It is code approved (by numerous agencies including CALFire) and on their site you can get the spec sheets. I am sure it has limitations, but it certainly can provide significant benefits for a wooden structure that already exists – if you are building a new structure then a more comprehensive approach to fire protection should be taken…. Of course after a fire you would need to scrape off all the paint and reapply, but that beats rebuilding. Also there are other fire resistant paints, but this one is the one that I know of.

    And, finally, a huge thank you to Kate for the hard work and info!

  34. To Jason,

    Those you refer to, who live where they love it … and often where they can afford it have a distaste for the milionairization, as has happened in the heart of Big Sur, it is not welcomed by the silent rural majority.

    And … by the way, many love their unpainted, humble and welcoming homey shacks. No security systems, no architectural pretense, not too manicured, really down to earth.

    Like you said: “tourist are idiots and are largely from areas that aren’t bone dry in the summer.” So why not keep the idiots out! You did get my point.

    Lets at least give willing tourists the benefit of the doubt before they enter the sacred native grounds of the Big Sur area, by the educating ritual of proving they understand what this Big Sur is all about and how to protect it. You say “is just not possible or realistic”.

    If we can go to Mars on taxation $, making Hwy 1 in the Big Sur region a regulated area for the sake of Nature’s Sanity can be done and it is way overdue.

    This is where many of us are coming from!

    PS. The fire crews are great and are great at what they do. I have no issue with them or their work I have issue with the management.

    PS #2. A mundane bit: Guldman = Gold-man in dutch. Historically, Gulden was once the coin of the Dutch before the EEG = EU influenced them to do away with them.

  35. RAJ – my big sur dwelling is about as humble as it gets – 1.5 mile hike in, no cell service, collected rainwater for water, less than 200 sq ft, and was until recently unpainted reclaimed redwood siding and fence-board. Everything was hauled in by ape power and constructed without power tools. While i’d prefer to keep the rustic look, I just can’t afford to rebuild and I know that being far from a road I can’t expect a fire crew to be there if the flaming shit hits the fan. So, I painted it. And, I’m not rich – in fact I’m currently toiling away in China right now to make ends meet (and provide funds for the active fire suppression system that I want).

    As for the tourists, they have as much right to drive the highway as anyone else – their taxes pay for the roads like everyone else. Regulation may be necessary, but only as a last resort. Enforcement of rules is a different issue, and more should be done on that front. I want people to experience the wilds of Big Sur, the Sierra Nevada, the Klamath mountains and all of CA’s amazing natural beauty and diversity. The more they see, the more they will want to preserve it.

    Regarding my name, it’s actually Danish jewish, but my ancestors were most recently living in Germany (until the 1930s…except for the ones that stayed in Germany, and we all know had that went).

  36. Jason:”and has the species mix that we have come to know and love … ”
    I can’t say I really love the “Chaparral Salad” (poison oak) species.

  37. Hey there! I know this thread is probably for locals who know the area but I was wondering if there are any updates I can find anywhere for tourists? I’m traveling with my young family from o/s and was planning on doing the big sur trip from Los Angles up to Monterey and then in to San Fran over the course of a couple of days schedule for next weekend – Thursday 22nd to 26th Sep. Should we just be avoiding the area and head out to Yosemite or somewhere else instead so that we’re not adding numbers to the roads or is it still easy to travel through on the coast road to San Fran?

  38. Eva, the highway and all businesses on it are open and could use your business. Most State Parks closed and all hiking trails, but if you stick to the highway and the businesses on it, you will be find.

  39. Hello and just wanted to follow up on my comment. My biggest point is THIS FIRE SHOULD NOT BE BURNING!! True Palo Corona area and Mt Carmel region needed to burn very badly and the ecosystem will prevail in healthy fashion, however, a prescribed burn will never be done here. I repeat never be done here!! Nevertheless along those lines the Big Basin complex ignited by “natural lightning” in 2008 would have normally burned through this area and the Soberanes fire would have probably been slowed or even been put out around white rock ridge with the lower fuel load, similar to how it responded when it crept into the old burn scar in the North fork of the Little Sur river. The time when you would conduct a burn in the mid Fall is much too risky in the Los Padres high country and one mishap and that would be the end forever for controlled burns. What the Ventana Wilderness needs is more contingent fire breaks in the middle of the back country running east to west but is very difficult maintaining or even building these in wilderness lands. Bottomline Cal fire needs to act extremely promptly on fires like the chimney and soberanes and mobilize all branches in a zero tolerance policy for human induced fires caused by cigarettes, lawn mowers, campfires, and arsons!!! Some may not recall our “professionals” trying to stop the marble cone fire in 1977 and failing miserably. I would not be surprised to see the fire managers humiliated with this one in a few weeks when down sloping 70mph winds blow this thing way out of the lines!!! I will not be surprised at all if this happens and the policy change will be set in motion!!!

    Paul H

    p.s. i live in upper rocky creek where the fire burned the hottest yet and my structures survived in tact due to large fuel breaks and clearing i have done for years. Your best shot is to clear/thin 300-500 feet around home and maintain very WIDE trails around perimeter of home and property!!! I was not even present at my property either with NO ONE defending and no sprinklers!

  40. Note*****The first “Santa Anna” wind event is predicted for this Friday/Saturday and how North the pressure gradient establishes will determine how strong the down sloping east winds are along the south coast. Do you remember the wind event in late November 2011 -if i recall correctly- that killed the Ranger on Coast Ridge with the fallen tree?? Well the North Pacific pressure anamolies are looking fairly supportive of a similar event very soon and if it plays out will create some major chaos. Lastly i am not seeing any rains till early November but small chance we could get something mid october but highly unlikely!!

    Paul H

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