Fernwood Slide

Here is a great photo by Michael Troutman of the mess we all seem to have dubbed the Fernwood Slide.


This is not likely the end of it, though depending on the upcoming rains. IF, as I have heard, there is a chance of 10 inches in 3 days coming up, then this slide will continue and possibly get worse. Rock Knocker and I have been watching this spot since the fire, as have many of you.

Michael Troutman had this to say:

“I sought out and found a geologist/soil engineer working for Caltrans, as I was greatly interested in why the actual slide was not precisely where the debris flow was yesterday.

It turns out that there is no main water course directly above on the surface, but this is actually from water percolating out through the rock from a very large area of the huge slope above; there is so much water the rock can no longer contain it. What happened is that where I photographed it yesterday was not ultimately the path of least resistance. When the water saturation reached some sort of critical mass it found a different way through the base of the hill just a few hundred feet north of the area I was in yesterday…and so finally *BAM* the whole damn hillside just came down.”

Personally, I don’t think this is over. There is too much winter left, too much water already percolating, too much burn area affected – no matter what happens the rest of January, we are in for a rough ride, but if we are lucky, and hold our heads  just right, add the necessary tin foil, this year will NOT repeat the winter of 1978.

Highway Closure Extended, 1/9/17

3:30 pm – Sig Alert update SLO-1-72.9-MON-1-47.3) SR-1 Ragged Point to Fernwood remains closed overnight. CHP manning Fernwood. Emer veh ok @ Ragged Point

1pm update from Cal Tran –

Good afternoon everyone,

The status on Hwy. 1 is this: There are still multiple slides from Ragged Point (SLO PM 72.87) to Fullers (Mon PM 42.15). There are several trees down and across the Highway at Fernwood (Mon PM 47.03)

In essence, businesses are accessible between Fullers (PM 42.15) and Fernwood (PM 47.03), but in essence, to the general public outside of these post miles, Hwy. 1 is closed from Fernwood (PM 47.03) to Ragged Point (SLO PM 72.87)

Emergency vehicles will be able to get through, if safely passable at the time of need.

The recording will be updated to reflect the new closure parameters, but the Big Sur Chamber will notify the locals who may be between the Fullers and Fernwood Closures that businesses remain open.

Thank you all for your understanding and patience. Asides from Monterey County and the Big Sur Community, we have various slides, trees down and roads closed in Santa Cruz and San Luis Obispo counties. An update will be provided this afternoon after 4 pm, when I receive it.

9:15 am – closure about to be extended again to Fernwood. See photo on next post.

From Caltrans

Good morning everyone,

Thank you for your patience with these updates. It’s not looking good for Hwy. 1 today; there are multiple slides all over the place…THERE IS A NEW AND MAJOR SLIDE JUST SOUTH OF NEPENTHE—between the Henry Miller Library and Nepenthe…more than likely, an emergency contract for repairs will need to take place.

So, the Hwy. 1 Closure is from Ragged Pt. (SLO PM 72.87) to Ventana Entrance (Mon PM 44.59).

Another assessment will take place around 4 PM and I’ll update as soon as possible; I’ll also provide a picture or two when available.

Have a safe day!
Susana Z. Cruz
Caltrans District 5
Public Information Officer/
Portavoz de Relaciones Públicas
para Caltrans en el Distrito 5

Rain and Road Reports, 1/9/17

2:30 pm – From Lucas Cotterman of Partington


And another, possibly near JPB? Photo by Erin Boubel


10:30 Photos to the south. It is dangerous, but passable for the moment. Photos by Inga Dorosz of Gorda:


10 am – Brian just came back from checking this out and has this to say:

“Just came back from the fernwood slide on from the south. Multiple power lines down and a there was a car pushed off the road when it slid. Everyone is safe. I think this one will take quite awhile to clear.”

South of Fernwood. Photo by Jen Smith:


8 am – From Todd:

“Had a slip not far in from hoist has left less than six feet of road. Impassable at this time. This is where one of the retaining walls burnt out during the fire. ”

First up from Sander Koning, near Nepenthe:


Carmel Valley Update

From a reader, Ernie Long last night:

The west end of Paso Hondo Road has been inundated with flood water. Generally, the water has entered houses and the road west of the junction of Paso Mediano and Paso Hondo. The three homes just to the east of the Garland Park ball field entrance have water running under and around them. As a local resident I was unable to walk west on Paso Hondo even to the area of the park entrance because of flowing water that was at least 1 foot deep.
Sheriffs and local fire protection District were present, including two pontoon boats and several gentleman dressed in wet suits. I encountered several residents walking east on Paso Hondo with fire personnel wading through water.
There are probably 40 to 50 homes west of the park entrance, and my guess is many of them are involved with water problems. As of 1230, the water has receded some what. Hopefully with the rain slowing down we will have a chance for the river to back off and leave the homes and people alone.
What has been described as a breach of a Leavy is inaccurate. The Carmel River in the Paso Hondo area has high banks and the volume of water simply became so great that it overran the bank on the north side of the river.