Soberanes Fire, Day 70, 9/29/16

There is a flair up on Mt. Manuel today, which resulted in the following story and photo:

“Just a kinda funny story. I was in my kayak in pond today around 11:30am. I was tying rope to broken willow trees on the island and then to tractor to pull them out. This was some of the minor damage done from the 6 weeks of dipping during the fire. It’s been around 10 days since the last air operation here so I was surprised when all of a sudden sitting on my kayak in middle of pond I heard a helicopter. Before I knew it I got a visual of a Sikorsky heading my way. I scrambled to get out of pond and move tractor, tools, kayak, etc.

They have been dipping ever since making short trips northeast of here. I’m assuming hitting a flare up in the black?

Thanks again,

Marcus Foster
(Rancho Grande)”

As the fire winds down, transitions to a Type 2 IMT today, is over the 90% threshold for containment, so does my coverage of this fire begin to wind down.

Here is John Chesnut’s map:


Basic Information

Current as of September 29, 2016 at 7:19:54 AM PDT
Incident Type Wildfire
Cause Illegal Campfire
Date of Origin Friday July 22nd, 2016 approx. 08:45 AM
Location Soberanes Creek, Garrapata State Park, Palo Colorado/Big Sur, & Ventana Wilderness.
Incident Commander Rocky W. Opliger, USFS, California Interagency Incident Management Team 4.
Incident Description Wildland Fire
Current Situation
Total Personnel 1,462
Size 129,395 Acres
Percent of Perimeter Contained 92%
Estimated Containment Date Saturday October 15th, 2016 approx. 12:00 AM
Fuels Involved
Chaparral, tall grass and timber
Significant Events
Minimal fire activity overnight due to a deep marine layer and high humidity. Interior smoke production and fire activity may be possible do
to the drought stricken fuels, even in areas that have been dormant for weeks.
Planned Actions
The North side of the fire continues to be in patrol status.
On the East side of the fire, suppression efforts are being focused on the interior around the Church Creek drainage area, to cut off possible fire growth. Infrared is being utilized to detect heat. Air resources are also being utilized to strengthen containment and treat hot spots on the south side of the Church Creek drainage area with retardant and water drops. Crews are being inserted around the areas that need hot spotting and cold trailing.
Suppression repair plans on the east side of the fire are being implemented.
On the west side of the fire, a more direct attack tactics are being implemented. Crews are being inserted into those areas conducting hot-spotting and cold trailing operations.
A substantial suppression repair effort continues to be a high priority for resources on the west end of the fire.
Projected Incident Activity
Predicted lower temperatures and RH associated with the arrival of a deep marine layer will assist in control efforts. Fire behavior is expected to be moderated under the influence of these conditions.
Transition to Central Coast Incident Management Team – Type II, will occur on 9/29/16 at 0800.
Projected final footprint of the fire has been reestablished. Due to the expected consumption of green islands within the interior of the fire, final projected acreage has increased. All acres are accounted for that lie with the containment lines, burned or unburned.
Current Weather
Weather Concerns
Temperatures near active fire area: 55-60 except 70 around the thermal belt.
Relative Humidity near active fire area: 15 to 20% ridges…30 to 45% valleys.
Winds near active fire area:
Valleys: becoming downslope/downvalley 3-5 mph gusts 8 mph.
Mid/Upper Slopes: NW 10 to 15 mph with gusts to 20 mph becoming SW 5-10 mph with
gusts to 15 mph overnight.
Outlook for Today:
Temperatures near active fire area: 80-90
Relative Humidity near active fire area: 11-18%
Winds near active fire area:
Valleys: Upslope/upvalley 5-10 mph gusts 15-20 mph by midday.
Mid/Upper Slopes: SW 5-10 mph gusts
USFS Shield
Los Padres National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
6750 Navigator Way
Suite 150
Goleta, CA 93117
Fire Information Line
Phone: 831 204-0446
Hours: 6:00 AM -10:00 PM
Soberanes Fire Daily Update for September 28
News – 21 hrs. ago
Soberanes Fire Daily Update for September 27
News – 2 days ago
Evacuation Warning for Arroyo Seco Area Lifted
Announcement – 3 days ago
Sorberanes Fire Daily Update for September 26
News – 3 days ago
If you Fly, We Can’t
One Less Spark
Ready for Wildfire
Ready,Set, Go
Center for Disease Control – Smoke Management Tips
Monterey County Reverse 911 Signup
Wildland Fire Terminology Glossary
Air Quality Index for California
Los Padres National Forest
Temporary Flight Restriction
Firefighting Aircraft Recognition Guide
SPCA Monterey County
CPOA – Coast Property Owners Association Big Sur
The Community Foundation for Monterey County
Bureau of Land Management
American Red Cross
Big Sur Land Trust
Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade
Cachagua Fire Protection District
California Conservation Corps
California Department of Fish And Wildlife
California Department of Parks & Recreation
California Department Of Transportation
California Highway Patrol
California State Office of Emergency Services
Carmel Highlands Fire Protection District
County of Monterey
Mid-Coast Fire Brigade
Monterey Bay Air Resource District
Monterey County Regional Fire Protection District
Pacific Gas and Electric
United Way
Twitter Feed
Article RSS Feed
Google Earth Network Feed
help »
Incident Related Links

19 thoughts on “Soberanes Fire, Day 70, 9/29/16

  1. Thank you so much for your dedication here keeping all of informed about this everyday for 70 days now. You are a blessing!

  2. Thanks Kate, now while the wound is still fresh we can get back to the discussion of Over Use and why we don’t need a new park on the Point Lobos Ranch property.

  3. Day 70. Unbelievable. I remember when I first saw your maps with what looked like a huge containment footprint and thought no way, they will surely get it out in a few days. Naive! Thank you, and thanks for the others who helped you with your daily posts of maps and reports. Stamina for sure!

  4. Agreed. Think the best place to continue this discussion is at the upcoming Big Sur Multi-Agency Advisory Council on Friday, Oct. 21st, at 10 am at the Big Sur Lodge Conference Center, where we started the public discussion in April.


  5. I am right there with you Terri, when the fire was at Ponciano Ridge I thought for sure they would have it contained and I remember reading Kate comments about Los Padres Forest section will continue to burn. I just kept reading that, like what?, did I read that correctly? That took my breath away. Just saying, knew then we were in for the long haul, and thank you to my cousin’s comments (20 year veteran Cachagua resident) for saying the back fires will work reassuring on evacuation day.

  6. Kate, Thank you for everything. Your comitment to constant communications about the Soberanes disaster have been greatly appreciated. Always the first email I open. I’m in Carmel Valley and was under an evac warning for several weeks. But having grown up part time in Big Sur, my heart broke when so many there were threatened as well.
    So thank you, thank you, thank you!

  7. kate, thanks for all your updates. I have family in the valley near the back burns, and relied on your maps and commentary over the past months to know they are safe and relay info to them when they were off the grid, in their home. So grateful to see that the fire is winding down and the much needed process of restoration an repair can begin. Wishing you well.

  8. I join the chorus in saying thanks. You do a “bang-up” job of keeping focus on what matters (and some of us need more help with that than others 🙂 ) and disseminating pertinent info. It has been a pleasure to ‘get to know you better’ this time, as unfortunate as it is that it’s because of these damned fires. I truly hope things calm down (in ALL ways) there soon and y’all can ENJOY the beautiful place you live.

  9. Dear Kate,
    A couple of weeks ago or so you gave a phone number to call to alert the county about the need to re-surface the Carmel Valley Road east of Sleepy hollow where the heavy equipment has taken a serious toll. Might you tell us again? The road needs care and I would like to call and to tell others to call this number.
    Thank you for being there for all of us throughout this fire!
    Yours, Page

  10. Page, I don’t recall having such a number, but I do recall telling you this should be part of the BAER work. I would call the fire number line and ask how to get in touch with the BAER team. Also, or even better, I would call Dave Potter’s Office and ask them to intercede and facilitate between county roads and the BAER team to make sure it gets done. Ask for Bryan Flores. Tell him I suggested you seek his help.


  11. Hello Kate!
    Thank You for your incredible coverage of the Soberanes Fire; all the commentary, maps, photos, etc.! You provide a great service to the Big Sur Region and beyond! And thank you for sharing, from time to time, photos from your “perch”, high above the South Coast! That was a nice extra! It is an honor to get you know you better! I have read every post on your blog since I found it; and I will continue to do so!
    As I have hiked the Big Sur mountains for over 40 years, I have come to see Big Sur as very special: the very heart of California. I love Big Sur! Big Sur is a gift to us from God!
    So again, Thank You for all your efforts and service!
    David Pfeiler
    Mount Shasta, CA

  12. I am sure I speak for many when I say there were times I never thought I’d ever see a Big Sur post about this fire winding down. I feel what you all have been going through in my hearts and such incredible thanks to Kate and all who have been dealing with this fire in all ways. I also know what a passionate and loving community yours is and my most heartfelt hope is that you can take that energy and keep on pushing for changes and prevention that have been discussed here. Some very good ideas here. Until then, rest, recover, and know the world is watching and sending love your way!

  13. Hi Kate, I would like to join everyone in thanking you for all you have done to keep us aware and informed on the fires in our community. I have a daughter living in Big Sur and I would not have rested if I couldn’t check your blog everyday. I even followed from my recent vacation in Ireland and all of our Air BnB hosts knew about the situation!!
    I hope your life gets back to normal now, you deserve a well earned break!😊

  14. Thank you Kate, i have jotted down the contacts you advised. I urge all Cachagua and Jamesburg residents and all who live East of Carmel valley village to Call Dave Potter’s office soon to get East Carmel Valley road repaired before the rains come.
    Thank you Kate for expanding the Big Sur community to include us on the East side of the mountains. You have been a beacon for us.
    Yours, Page

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