Soberanes Fire, Day 62, 9/21/16

9 pm – flare up reported on Mt. Manuel, and no power in Big Sur Valley. Damn … I am so tired of this. I can’t get any IR info right now for the Big Sur Valley, but this afternoon shows a couple flare ups on the interior sections of the west side of the fire.(see 004 and 005 below.)


The VIIRS overpass (time stamp 2:15 PM) has been posted. Active heat in Pine Valley, and one spot down in the extreme SE corner. No heat detection in the Anastasia/Bear Trap slop-over
The Hastings weather station shows steady 13 NW wind, with gusts to 19 at 2 PM. Wind is building steadily. Map by John Chesnut.


This is the morning VETS map, finally posted on line, this shows the Chew’s Ridge detail.


Div L Detail map in PDF

Interesting loop map of the fire progression here (thanks Lucas Ryan!)

Fire Progression loop map

From Cachagua about 1 pm by unknown photographer from Instagram:


1:43 pm – right now from Laureles Grade looking toward Carmel Valley Village by Sandy O’Keefe Bellany:


Today’s status report (current situation only):

” A Red Flag Warning takes effect this afternoon and is expected to remain in effect through Thursday. Potential gusting winds of 25-35 mph have prompted the warning. Large fire runs and increased activity on ridge tops and west-northwest aligned drainages are possible. There is a concern that hot spots could intensify and threaten established east-side containment lines. Wind-driven embers from hot spots could ignite spot fires as far away as 0.75 miles [Ed note – In today’s fire behavior discussion it puts spotting at 1 mile OR MORE for Thursday – so a good example of one set of information for firefighters, and another for the public]. Firefighters will be staged and prepared to deal with that contingency.

A Red Flag Warning indicates the onset of critical weather and fuel moisture conditions that could lead to rapid or dramatic increases in wildfire activity. Factors may include low relative humidity, strong winds, and dry fuels.

Firefighters on Tuesday and early today successfully limited progress of hot spots burning outside the primary containment line north of Chews Ridge and near Arroyo Seco.

Both of those spots continue to burn but neither is advancing. Both are within secondary containment lines. [Ed. note – up until this report, PIOs have insisted, to me, anyway that they were within containment lines – no discussion of primary and secondary, despite questioning. This change is a welcome step toward better communication.] Evacuation orders and warnings remain in effect as a result of the Chews Ridge spot fire. Information on all Soberanes Fire evacuation orders and warnings is available at

The burnout operations of the past week, which have been highly successful in establishing and strengthening the containment lines, will be limited because of the changing weather conditions.

A community meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24, at the fire station in Arroyo Seco. A well-attended community meeting was held in Arroyo Seco on Tuesday.”

From inciwebs report today, a few statements of interest (in no particular order):

1) “Current uncontained fire perimeter is 75 miles with a total planned 191.1 miles to reach containment objectives.”

2)”Coordination with the Pacific Southwest Regional Office and Los Padres National Forest is underway for additional use of mechanized equipment within a small portion the Ventana Wilderness. This operation will enhance firefighter safety, and minimize risk to life and property within the area.”

3) “12 Hours: The Red Flag Warning issued for the area has the potential to aid in large fire runs and increase fire activity on the ridge tops and WNW aligned drainages. Hot spots near the line will have an increased probability of threatening containment lines.”

To find your own statements of interest try here: Inciweb for Soberanes

From John Chesnut:

“Very few hot spots detected in the overnight VIIRS pass (shown with fire icon). That is very good news for the day.

The pix you uploaded yesterday showed a smoker from Carmel Valley Road being worked by helicopters with retardant — this is the area highlighted with arrow in bottom right corner of image. The smoker is outside the primary containment line, but as your pix showed has retardant lines all around it.

Note there is a tiny hot spot right at the buildings at Church Creek/Caves — this might be a patrol or backfire around the buildings.

Got my fingers crossed that with another good day the FF will be ready for a windstorm.”


Today’s Maps:


IR Topo Map in PDF


Ops Briefing Map in PDF

And here are the weather predictions and fire behavior discussions for both the east and west sides of the fire.  Due to winds, low humidity, and possible slope alignment spotting up to a mile or more is possible. Head on a swivel this wind event still predicted to begin at 3 this afternoon and go until 9 pm Thursday.


27 thoughts on “Soberanes Fire, Day 62, 9/21/16

  1. Hello, I was wondering if anyone out there knows if we get an Evacuation Order, is it just a phone call on a landline from the Sheriff, or do they actually knock on your door and tell you at all hours…I have three neighbors who only have cell phones that dont work in this rural area in East CVR….am I supposed to go warn them if I get an Evacuation Order? I am worried about this…any information would be helpful..thank you

  2. Have there been any structures lost to the spot fire, or updates on its size and containment?

  3. I haven’t heard of any structures lost, CV Mom, but that will come with the daily update. From what we can tell from the IR maps, it looks as if the spot fire is contained at the moment. Whether that will change with the wind event – knowing the IMT is fully preparing for that – is anyone’s guess.


  4. Cell phone users can sign up for reverse 911 calls, as well. Have them call the fire hotline at 204-0446 to get the number for signing up. I only have cell, and I did that when it first became available. I believe it is through MoCo OES, but not entirely sure which is why I suggest you call the hotline to get confirmation. From what I’ve heard, they use both reverse 911 and door-to-door, not necessarily together, depending on the circumstances.


  5. Alva, it is with the MoCo OES, and there is an article about signing up for emergency notifications in today’s Herald, which is available online. Also, I forgot to post, but will try to get to it, a notification of a Preparedness “Fair” at the Del Monte Shopping Center, I think this Saturday.


  6. The area from about the CVR / Cachagua Rd. intersection and areas to the East, seem to only work with AT&T and compatible services (i.e. Consumer Cellular).

  7. Thank you for the phone info..even if they got reverse 911 for their cell phones, it wouldnt work if they were home…I am sure if they see fire trucks pull up, they will know..I pray the windstorms help put out the fire, and not make it worse..yes, At&t is the only landlines that work up here..unless I see Sheriff cars, I will run over to the neighbors just in case..just to be sure..if it comes to that…thanks again.

  8. Alva, Test might get through when voice on cell will not. You and friends in remote areas can sign up for text emergency notices, too.

  9. any news about the backfire near chew’s jumping the fireline? Evac warning updates? Should Jamesburg be worried again?

  10. Red Flag Warnings fire zone areas do not trigger state or regional parks currently open to temporarily make different contingencies? How severe do these conditions have to change for those department heads to shut them down again?

  11. What’s the story on the “Sasquatch” figure shown by The Caves on today’s Topo Map?

  12. A friend just spoke to a firefighter in Carmel Valley Village. He said that the fire is “out of control” at Chews Ridge – and I observed a flurry of firetrucks heading in that direction around 4:00 today.

    anyone have any info about what is going on out there? With the high wind warning (40-50 mph expected Wed 3 pm through Thurs – most worrisome on the ridges) – it is of great concern for those in the path of the fire (winds are traveling northwest).

  13. Firing operations were just completed at Church Ranch as winds pushed fire toward Tassajara Road and Tassajara. Fire burned up out of Church Ranch looking spectacular until it hit the ridge and slowed to a stop. This is just west of Chews Ridge well within the perimeter. Alpine Hotshots and Tassajara Fire Brigade prepared and ready for firing operations at the monastery when the time is right. Fire is a mile or more from Tassajara.

  14. From Big Sur Bakery – I’m seeing small ember fires on Mt. Manuel high up above the gorge being fanned up by the wind. Look like distant campfires.

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