Soberanes Fire, Day 60, 9/19/16

11 pm – in the last hour I received two reports from Chew’s Ridge, Jessie wrote me re lots going on out there, After that, Tom Little Bear Nason posted this to his FB page: “The Fire jumped the Dozer lines over at Cahoon Ranch and is headed up Anastasia Canyon right up towards Tassajara RD and our Ranch and its raging out of control right now🔥⚠️🔥
It’s Burning fast and hit with winds up 40 mph!!!” Prayers for all.

From a comment on my FB page: “I just called the Cal fire hotline/ and they said “it did jump tassajara in one place up there and there’s a “small” (?) spotfire that they are monitoring -and sending in more resources. they ARE going to do a mandatory EVAC- but it will be up the road farther. chews Ridge to Bruce ranch-and a couple other ranches that I am not familiar with-(tosh ranch?) he didn’t seem to think that lion Springs would be evacuated and certainly not down at Jamesburg or me… at least not tonight anyway. 😁
and- that they will be doing a reverse 911 for the affected areas within the hour.”

Here are three maps Luke did up for me when I sent out a desperate cry for help (I used to be able to do these, a few fires ago, but lost that knowledge somewhere) which he most promptly offered. We don’t have the landmarks on it due to lack of time, but those in the area will recognize anything of concern to them.


7:30 pm – just spoke to a PIO at operations about some concerns I have. Strike Team from Santa Cruz and Santa Clara was toned out around 5:30 pm and there are some MODIS spots outside containment lines – but remember, MODIS is notorious for picking up heat in the columns, so we will have to wait on this for confirmation. He had not heard from operations, so was unaware of any problems out in the field. Seems communication with their own PIOs cannot be updated on conditions as fast as we would like. He will be recommending another community meeting for the Cachagua/Carmel Valley folks, but in the mean time, he encourages all of you to call the information line anytime with any concerns you have.

12:45 pm – Huge plume visible from the Eastern side of the fire. Must be more firing off operations.

Here is the VETS IR flight from this morning: (BTW, VETS is an acronym for a private company that does day-time Helicopter IR flights – usually two a day.)



From John Chesnut:


10:30 am – from the USFS:

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: 117,656 acres (80,462 acres CA-LPF; 37,194 acres CAL FIRE)

Containment: 67% Personnel: 2,021 Cause: Illegal campfire Injuries: 1 fatality, 7 injuries

Structures Destroyed:
57 homes, 11 outbuildings
Structures Threatened: 410
Crews: 45
Engines: 116
Helicopters: 7
Dozers: 12
Masticators: 2
Water Tenders: 11

Current Situation:

Firefighters have made strong progress on the Soberanes Fire, as evidenced by the increase in the containment level to 67%. That is an increase of 15 percent since September 13. The increase is largely due to weather conditions that contributed to favorable burnout* operations. Activity is predominantly in the south-southeast areas of the Soberanes Fire. The burnouts are key to the firefighters’ success over the past days in widening and strengthening the indirect* containment line.

The fire continues to burn in remote, rugged terrain, including in the Ventana Wilderness. Firefighter and public safety remain the priority in every situation.

Heavy smoke in the area on Sunday was the result of an atmospheric inversion that held smoke from the burnouts in the valleys. Area residents will continue to see smoke columns and atmospheric smoke today.

Winds in the region changed today, with flows now from the south and southwest. The change may mean more erratic winds affecting the fire and pushing smoke toward the east side of the fire. Continual monitoring of weather and evaluation of forecasts will be used to determine when conditions allow for burnouts.

All evacuation orders and warnings remain in effect on the southeastern side of the fire.
For more information, visit: or follow us on social media at or

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


Forest Service Shield
Jennifer Gray
Visitor Information Assistant
Forest Service
Los Padres National Forest
p: 805-961-5795
f: 805-961-5729
6750 Navigator Way, Ste 150
Goleta, CA 93117
Caring for the land and serving people


Here is John Chesnut’s map:


4:30 am – Day 60. *Sigh* Today we tied the previous record for the longest running fire in the Los Padres National Forest held by the 2007 Zaca Fire in Santa Barbara County…a dubious distinction, at best. Almost 4,400 additional acres were scorched yesterday, bringing the total to 117,656. Here are the maps:


IR Topo Map in PDF


Briefing Map in PDF

Here is the Branch III map that covers the Chew’s Ridge burning operation:


Chew’s Ridge Operations Map in PDF

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