Soberanes Fire, Day 66, 9/25/16

7 pm – a look at the VETS infrared from this afternoon, comparing it to previous, reading what I can find, my confidence level is not as high as it was earlier today. Primarily that is due to the VETS infrared. There is still an active line in Div CC with no dozer line in front of it. Anastasia is still active. The skies have been smokey this afternoon, but by no means as smokey as previous days. I do NOT feel there is imminent threat to either Arroyo Seco or Tassajara tonight, I am just saying it is not over, yet. Here is the map I was looking at:


“#SoberanesFire Taped live at the September 24th, 2016 community meeting in Arroyo Seco, Cal 4 Incident Commander Rocky Opliger announces a major change in firefighting tactics. Instead of utilizing strategic firing operations to secure the threatened residences in Arroyo Seco, firefighters will take the opportunity to build direct fire line around the existing fire which is 2 miles north. In addition to being the correct tactic based on current and expected weather and fuels conditions, leaving the vegetation in the watersheds above Arroyo Seco unburnt will result in a significant decrease in erosion. Additionally, strategic firing operations would have resulted in a mandatory evacuation order for numerous residences.”

For those who don’t do FB, here is a link to Vimeo:

New tactics

From Pacific Valley School:


Daily Update: September 25, 2016

Current Size: 126,693 acres (89,499 acres Los Padres National Forest; 37,194 acres CAL FIRE)
Containment: 77% Personnel: 2,072 Cause: Illegal campfire Injuries: 1 fatality, 8 injuries

Structures Destroyed:
57 homes, 11 outbuildings
Structures Threatened: 410
Crews: 42
Engines: 97
Helicopters: 22
Dozers: 16
Masticators: 4
Water Tenders: 15

Current Situation:
After evaluating weather and fire conditions, the Soberanes Fire incident management team has made the decision to go direct. Barring unexpected events, there will be no burnouts in the Arroyo Seco area. Recent days of favorable weather, including increases in relative humidity, have created conditions that allow firefighters to engage closer to the fireline.

Direct attack on a fire means constructing a containment line directly on the fire perimeter. The advantages:
· Minimal area is burned; no additional area is intentionally burned
· It is often the safest tactic because firefighters can usually escape into the burned area
· The uncertainties of firing operations can be reduced or eliminated
The disadvantages:
· Firefighters can be hampered by heat, smoke and flames
· Control lines can be long and irregular
· Burning material can easily spread across mid-slope lines
· Can only be initiated when escapes routes and safety zones are available
· More mop-up and patrol is usually required

On Saturday, crews maintained and improved the line around the Chews Ridge spot fire and will continue to do mop-up today. Crews also will continue to mop up the spot fire near Arroyo Seco.
The most active fire area is near Church Ranch, west of Tassajara Road. On Saturday, aircraft worked to cool the area. Firefighters are prepared to protect the Tassajara Zen Center in the event fire reaches that area.

Incident management staff participated in a well-attended public meeting on Saturday at Arroyo Seco.

Evacuation orders and warnings remain in effect in the eastern areas of the fire. Information on evacuations is available at (click on the Announcements tab).

For more information, visit: or follow us at or
Other contacts: SPCA, (831) 646-5534; American Red Cross, (866) 272-2237.

John Chesnut map:


6:30 am – Containment is looking good based on today’s IR Map, only lost 65 acres since the last map.


IR Topo Map in PDF


Briefing Map in PDF

Weather predictions and fire behavior discussions:




19 thoughts on “Soberanes Fire, Day 66, 9/25/16

  1. Good Morning Kate. IR map gave me a fright. Chews Ridge Slop over is bright red!. Checked date and it is from Friday night. Thank god.

    Looking for today’s worksheets per section. Do you remember how I can access that. It shows what they are actually planning for the day, cause it is the assignment for the day. By deduction, I can then tell if they are going to do fire ops on north side top of Anastasia canyon, the Chews Ridge slop over) and whether I can go to work in peace today, leaving my two goat girls and the love of my life Kat. Two months of being at the mercy of this event is waring.

    Smoke is starting to drift this way again, over Jamesburg in NE direction.

  2. just wondering about Tassajara – anyone know anything?

    I’m in CV Village – and seeing lots of fire trucks lately – I don’t think I’ll sleep well until I know Tassajara is no longer in danger –

    this fire is wearing me out on many levels…. just can’t wait for this to be over…. poor little forest critters…. poor forest…. poor humans everywhere who are affected…. never experienced anything like this before – whew. God bless all the heroes out there fighting to save and help all life forms! thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. 2 of the 3 past nights- I have heard trees fall up-slope from my residence. Last night 1st time all year heard a couple of howling hooting owls at dusk for a 20 minute span and then stayed quiet for the rest of it.

  4. MT, it appears Tassajara is well prepared for the fire. They have a fire crew on the grounds and helicopter support is practically assured if needed.
    If you read their latest Facebook entry the monks are anticipating the change of incident management team and what it might mean for communications. Reading between the lines that has been lacking with the California team.

  5. CV Village wind has picked up + can see a lot of atmospheric smoke moving from Tassajara across the valley and over the other hilltops toward Salinas Valley. Wind direction change, good backfire conditions? It had been pretty quiet until I poked my head out the window.

  6. Kate,
    What are “new facts” and “direct attack”? does this mean there is firefighting going on at Tassajara now, do you think? Just wondering what your words meant. Thanks!

  7. Martha, direct attack is that the firefighters are fighting the fire where it is, directly, not setting back fires to meet it. Everything I’ve heard is that Tassajara is in great shape, well protected, and not threatened at the moment.


  8. Mike,
    Thanks for your response – that’s helpful to know that they are pretty well-covered in Tassajara if the fire does come. Tassajara is a very special place to so many of us – for so many reasons – sure hope it makes it through unscathed! That would be such great news!

  9. Kate,
    Oh that is such good news! Thank you! I’m super-sensitized to firefighting activity around me now – so when I see tons of trucks in the village – I wonder what’s going on next… thank you!

  10. Folks should remind themselves to refresh blog/feeds regularly to check on new info that is added.

  11. I got two back-to-back emails today relating to the cabins at The Indians:

    The first about the AS meeting last evenng said, “-The cabins are not in danger and the containment line has been moved north to the last hot spots east of Deer Pasture, west of Jackhammer Springs and north of Escondido. The pumps hose and sprinklers, however, will remain in place until there is containment or 2” of rain. This is per the Incident Commander (Rocky).

    The second said: “…and I have just left the cabin tract and witnessed all of the hoses,sprinklers and orange tanks being removed. The crew was very quick and everything was loaded onto their trucks before noon on Sunday.”

    Right hand, meet left hand… Who can you believe???

  12. Well, since Rocky is in charge, I might tend to believe him. But that’s me. Maybe there is a communications breakdown, or a change of tactics from Saturday night until Sunday noon. It happens.


  13. My heart soared with happiness when I read “Firefighters are prepared to protect the Tassajara Zen Center in the event fire reaches that area.” That is just what I wanted for my birthday….that wish. THANK YOU, Jo Ann H.

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