Dolan Fire, Day 2, 8/19/20

USFS Inciweb report on Dolan Fire:

Incident Overview

Dolan Fire First Night Aug 18 photo credit by Kate Novoa and Connie McCoyImage options: [ Full Size ]

The Dolan Fire started at 8:15pm on Tuesday, August 18, 2020. The location is 6 miles north of Limekiln State Park, 10 miles south of Big Sur. The fire actively burned throughout the night, running through Hot Springs Canyon and is now burning in Big Creek Canyon.The east side of Dolan Canyon was evacuated. Highway 1 is closed between Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and Ragged Point. The fire is burning in the Ventana Wilderness. It is currently at 2,500 acres. The cause is unknown and under investigation. There are 50 personnel on the fire. Los Padres is in Unified Command with the Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade, the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office, and the Cal Fire BEU. This fire is putting out a lot of smoke so the public is strongly advised to avoid this area.

Incident Information

Basic Information

Current as of8/19/2020, 2:01:19 PM
Incident TypeWildfire
Date of OriginTuesday August 18th, 2020 approx. 08:15 PM
Location6 miles North of Limekiln State Park, 10 miles south of Big Sur
Incident CommanderPete Harris,US Forest Service, Incident Commander
Incident DescriptionWildfire
Coordinates36.123 latitude, -121.602 longitude 

Current Situation

Total Personnel50
Size2,500 Acres
Fuels InvolvedChaparral (6 feet)Brush (2 feet)Timber (Grass and Understory)
Significant EventsExtreme Long-range spotting, short-range spotting, running


Planned ActionsFull suppresion
Projected Incident ActivityFire is burning in the Ventana wilderness. Fire is moving up and down canyons, spotting and making erratic runs, evacuations with structure protection on the North and South of fire. Fire will continue to burn in the Ventana Wilderness. Area tends to burn actively in the evening hours driven by mid-slope thermal weather activity.Forestcast for hot and dry weather. Anticipate Fire to continue to actively burn, spot, run and increase in size.
RemarksConcern of fire movement to Highway 1. Presently Hwy. 1 is closed from Pfeiffer State Park atthe North to Ragged Point at the South.Communities of Lucia, Partington Ridge, Big Creek Reserve and Camboa Point face potentialevacuation.

Current Weather

Weather ConcernsContinued Hot and Dry weather pattern. Potential for previous days lightning to produce new starts in the area.

Most recent satellite, courtesy of John Chestnut:

DolanFire southern road closure moved to Ragged Point, northern is still at JPBurns.
DolanFire est 2500 acres, actively burning in all directions. Evacs on east side of Dolan Cyn. Hwy 1 closed on the south at Lucia & north at Julia Pfeiffer Burns SP. @LosPadresNF in Unified Cmd with @CALFIREBEU, @MCoSheriff & Big Sur Vol Fire Brigade.

Just got an update from one of the residents at Dolan:
“evacuating went well. things were so fast moving. i was lucky to have help and get my important things and make it out around midnight, but it was fast moving, downhill with no marine layer to slow it down. high likelihood all structures east of the highway were lost in the Santa Lucia Ranch.”

Provided by John Chestnut:

Important caveats: Please note that the squares on the heat detection maps represent the expected margin of error, not the size of the area burned. In other words, the detection could have come from anywhere within the square. Also be aware that false detections do sometimes occur. An outlying or “over the line” heat detection is not, by itself, a confirmation that there is fire in the area indicated. In addition, the satellites do not detect heat everywhere that fire exists. Creeping, backing or smoldering fire is often not detected. Finally, the detections are only snapshots of moments in time. Flare ups that occur before or after a satellite pass may be entirely missed.

7:45 am — Dolan is about 2500 acres. Highway One is closed from JPBurns to Lucia. Spotter plane just flew over, evacuations of east side of highway and, I am told, Esalen last night. Fire established in Big Creek.

7 am — Looks like the fire is fully entrenched in Big Creek Canyon, the dozers were sent home as the fire is in the Ventana Wilderness, and Connie McCoy walked down the Hot Springs Canyon about 4:30 am and took these photos from Highway One. Here, it is so dark with the smoke, I have to have my lights on inside. Eerie.

Hot Springs Canyon by Connie McCoy
Hot Springs Canyon by Connie McCoy
Hot Springs Canyon by Connie McCoy
Hot Springs Canyon by Connie McCoy

Maps showing the extent of the fire early this am. Made it to Big Creek.

Big Creek, Circle M, Esalen, and some homes were evacuated last night/early this am. I had word early this am that 4 civilians were dug in and protecting their homes.

Will be setting up a separate post for the Carmel Fire, which like this one, we will be updating through out the day.

11 thoughts on “Dolan Fire, Day 2, 8/19/20

  1. Chris and I evacuated safely. Thank you so much for these updates it’s really helping us.

  2. I’m all packed. In Buck Creek watching all the ridges. Have not seen a flame yet. That it has not topped the ridge yet from Hot Springs is astonishing.

  3. Everyone stay safe and heed the the warnings. Thank you Kate for keeping all informed.

Leave a Reply

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