Mill Fire, Day 5, 8/3/19


August 3, 2019


Date Started:​July 30, 2019​Cause: Under Investigation​Total Acres:  310Containment: 50%

Injuries to Date:   1​​Structures Damaged/Destroyed:​0​​Total Personnel: 478

Assigned Resources:

Crews: 15​​Engines: 21​​Helicopters:3Air Tankers: 0

Evacuations: 0


KING CITY, Calif. – The Mill Fire was reported at 5:36 am Tuesday, July 30, near Nacimiento-Fergusson Road and the intersection of California State Highway 1 in the Monterey Ranger District of Los Padres National Forest.  The fire has currently burned approximately 310 acres.  There are 478 firefighters on scene as part of a full response that includes engine crews, hand crews and air support. There is currently 50% containment. 

Overnight there was minimal fire activity. Today crews will continue suppression efforts and work to increase containment.  Water drops help cool the fire, reduce spread and contribute to suppression and containment.

There are currently no evacuations in effect and no structures threatened.  There has been one minor injury. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Road Closures:

Nacimiento-Fergusson Road is currently closed at Highway 1 and at the Fort Hunter Liggett Boundary to allow emergency equipment and fire engines to safely navigate the road.  

For additional Fire Information call Monterey Ranger District (831) 385-5434

This will be the last day I provide updates on this fire, unless there is a drastic change. One of my neighbors stopped by and said, “They get an A+ on the way they handled this fire.” Yes, they do. There are so many to thank for what they did, but I was not “on the line,” so I may not know the whole story, but it seems to me, the IC (Incident Commander) on this fire for the first 3 days deserves a lot of credit. They are the ones making the decisions, putting in the request for resources, and leading the effort. There were 2 ICs for the Mill Fire for those first critical 3 days — Tony Zavalla was the day IC and the night IC was Pete Harris of the USFS Nacimiento Station. Tony & Pete, you did a terrific job. I think you both showed them you were more than worthy of a promotion to be part of a Type 2 Incident Management Team. 

Besides Tony & Pete, we had the most cooperative agreement I have seen in my 30 years down here — USFS, Big Sur Fire, FHL, and Cal Fire working in coordinated effort, like a well-oiled (and trained) machine. While weather played no small part (no wind, fuels still moist), it was the professional men and women who put everything on the line each fire and each season that made the difference.

It was not just the paid professionals, but also the volunteer professionals who made a difference. Our volunteer fire department was one of the first on the scene, as they so often are.There was also the MCSO volunteer SAR (Search and Rescue) people who made sure all the back country hikers and campers were found and warned and brought out. Once they were, VWA sent volunteers down to staff the trail head to make sure no new hikers tried to go back there. Meaningful volunteerism is the sign of a healthy and civilized society. Big Sur is very healthy.

There are some lessons to be learned and shared from this fire, and I hope they are. Working together there is nothing we can’t accomplish. Team Big Sur — I salute you and tip my hat to your long hard hours of training and perseverance, and for caring so much for Big Sur. I wish I could meet and thank you all.

I know the season is not only not over, but just beginning, really, but I don’t think I have felt this safe in a very long time back here. My son, Brendon Shave, is “patrolling” many nights each week to educate the people he finds with illegal campfires. It makes a difference. No one person can patrol all of Big Sur EVERY night, but if we all chip in and do what we can, instead of waiting for some government agency to handle it, we can make a difference. Other neighborhoods have “neighborhood watches” we can establish “neighborhood fire watches.” Set up a meeting in your portion of Big Sur and set up fire patrols. Remember, polite and respectful works wonders with the uneducated and uninformed.  Feeling empowered and feeling safe is a wonderful feeling. This is our home. No one cares as much as we do, and no one takes care of it like we do. Let’s band together and take care of the problem, instead of just complaining. Signs aren’t the answer — they are often ignored. Education and knowledge are the answer. Educate in every contact you have with our visitors in a respectful manner. You will get the message across better if people listen and hear you, and they won’t listen if they are not being respected and honored. We need to change our attitude, if we expect others to change theirs.  

We got this, Big Sur. Let’s do it!

7 thoughts on “Mill Fire, Day 5, 8/3/19

  1. Good advice, also carry a round point shovel and a couple of gallons of water and you can help right away.

  2. Kate, thank you for this beautiful story of how many of us view this fire. Cooperation Big Sur !

  3. Like Vanessa Harris Preasmeyer & had said put the right resources in the right places & box it in & you’ll have success. Luke worked as a IC for awhile up there & Duke an IM. Like you said with the whole coming together they did a beautiful job. I think this is the first time it went so smoothly. Maybe there was a “Coyote Angel” watching out from above giving them a little extra help….Thanks JR.

  4. Kudos to everyone who had a hand in keeping this fire from getting out of control. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting it to be controlled so quickly. Many thanks to all who are involved. I hope it continues to go well.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.