Campers with Campfire

Sunday morning, I went down the mountain to the coast to get my mail and saw people having a campfire. I didn’t think to get a photo of the campfire as I was completely flummoxed. I did report them to the USFS, as I found several at the station. So, on the way home, glad to see the campfire was out, I got photos.


They drove by this sign just about 100 yards before the area where they made camp. (Sorry for the dirty windshield, but that’s what happens out here.)


These were the two vehicles. Look at all that dry grass.


This shows their tents, the wood they had gathered for their fire, in the branch out in front of the orange ten, and the campfire was right on the other side of that large log, dragged out presumably to sit on. Again, note all that dry grass around their campsite.


This shows a whole lot of trash, which to their credit they did pack up and take with them, I am told. The two guys are watching me photograph them, and the two gals are to the right of them, shown in the next photo. Again, lots of dry grass.


Not wanting to be photographed, it would appear. Now these campers were polite and did put out their fire when I pointed out the error of their ways, and they did clean up their trash. But I still can’t understand why they felt it was okay to have a campfire when it was so hot and they were camped in the grass – regardless of the sign. I vow to have a dialogue the next time so I can understand the mentality, and maybe find a way to change that.

21 thoughts on “Campers with Campfire

  1. Good work Counselor. I guess that is their campfire to the left of the tent in the second picture. Do you have other pictures that show the actual license plate numbers/letters?

    Yes the dry grass is a bit terrifying. A tiny spark even from a properly cleared space for a campfire could easily start a conflagration.

    Another point of danger. All modern vehicles have catalytic converters which get very hot. They have been known, especially if idling for a while in the same place, to start fires.

  2. Unbelievable! Maybe the fine structure needs to be assessed. Didn’t people start littering less when signs advised $1000. Fine and enforced? Illegal campfire Fines should be $100,000+ but there must be an amount that would both provide a deterrent and be enforceable. Then again, these people must be completely oblivious! I wonder what was said to them by the USFS? Were they fined?

  3. Correction: That probably is not the actual campfire as I first thought, but part of their kit.

  4. By zooming in, one can read the CA license. The other is not as clear. There are other fire restriction signs that tell people there is no off-roading here, but that doesn’t stop them any more than the no campfires signs do.

  5. My compliments to bring this critical issue. Last Saturday late afternoon you can see the ” campers” outside the park that reflects the risk we as society are taking. With the current struggle to battle the road decay, the extreme heat why not putting a. Omplete stop on overnight camping or parking.
    Your story is written with full rational and assuming people from other places can think like the locals.
    However, too many people have no idea what risk there is and why we need police to stop overnight. Anping and fire 24 hours a day. If not just close the roads for non permit people.
    It is not ordinary weather pattern.
    Hope common sense takes over and start protecting life in Monterey County

  6. I don’t know if USFS talked to them. The USFS has informed me that they are charged for the firefighting costs if the campfire starts a wildfire. The people who started one at the Indians a few years ago lost everything and are still paying, one ff told me.

  7. Way to be on it Kate. Thanks for keeping us safe! This will keep happening unless we can get enforcement patrols and/or just make camping only in designated campsites. You would have thought the Soberanes Fire would have been a wake up call for all the government agencies. If you don’t have the resources to manage these areas then shut it down!!!! How many devastating fires is it going to take?
    Now our local representatives want to open the “emergency trail” to the public where there is no easy way to get mutual aid requests if there is a fire and more importantly no easy way out. Smart!!!

  8. And, as someone else pointed out, until the bridge and Paul’s Slide are open, we are subject to the same possibility as the horrible tragedy in Portugal with people trying to flee a wildfire on a narrow, mountainous road, and dying in their cars.

  9. Thank You Kate!!!! Prevention is key. Good idea to stop, take photos and have a lil chat with ‘careless campers’ . Going to be a long summer and yes, it is dry.

  10. I will never understand the mindset that operates in camping wherever it suits them. I grew up camping and backpacking all summer but it was droned into my head by my father and scouting to always be safe and to always leave a place cleaner than you left it. Zero impact. I lament the fact that it gets more difficult to be a spontaneous camper, however, that does not mean that it is OK to camp anywhere endangering the lives of people who live in the area. Thank you again for trying to determine what goes through their heads.

  11. I immediately thought of Portugal and Nac-Ferg when I saw this. I hope to hell nothing bad happens. Still don’t understand why they don’t just shut down access to visitors during this road-closed issue. And, before anyone chews me out, I understand that there are businesses and campgrounds that would be severely affected. But if one of these yahoos start a fire that burns down the business or harms people, will the gamble be worth it? Like I said, I hope nothing worse happens, and I hold all y’all in my thoughts for calm and reason to prevail in the visitors. And Kate, as usual, you’re on it. I hope they can ‘hear’ you.

  12. Kate, OASN..

    Usually I don’t pay attention to the “related” spot stories below the main present story – and the ‘Ballistic Kate & Rave’ title caught my eye, I must admit very entertaining and true to your nature- I can only imagine how you would feel while a heatwave and other major crises of this past season could unleash demonic Kate? ; )

  13. 🙂

    I can hear the Farmer’s commercial tune as I type.

    “Campfire catastrophe”

    “… and we covered it.”

    “June 2017”


    I will roll through NF on Wednesday. I will be looking for violators as I drive too. If I catch a violator I will handle on scene as always.

  14. Kate, 3:30pm…

    I heard on khtk am 1140 that Cal Fire in its public address air spots has advised home owners to remove all dead trees from one’s property.. Can anyone confirm these spots being aired in other counties?

  15. Kate, the fire started at the Indians a few years ago, was that in 2008?
    We lost our home in that fire.

  16. The question in my mind (as an ‘outsider’) is – why is the ‘entrapped’ area open to outsiders at all? Seems to me that the ‘authorities’, whoever they are and on all levels, should be brought to recognize the potential for disaster and shut the whole area down, commercial enterprise notwithstanding.

  17. There are those who feel the entire area should be closed until the bridge is open. Those who own businesses or are employed by same, want to see it opened in some fashion so that there is work available. It is a complex problem with no simple answer. The potential for further disaster (we’ve already suffered through a fire, bridge collapse, and the biggest slide in CA history) is significant, and many people and agencies are working to try and find solutions.

  18. Toward a remedy…ever since your area started showing up on the free camping sites like, the clueless camper problem fires/trash/feces only continues to grow. On my last solo trip up there to surf, I put out 3 abandon campfires alone in a 10 day span. One that was smoldering for days I had to call the fire crew, and it took a tanker truck to put out. Maybe get these free camping sites to remove the listings for you area? (Edited to remove site name)

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