Message from our Fire Chief

I am going to be trying to sign out early tonight, as it has been a long 5 days for me since the River Fire stated. This is going to be another marathon, and while I am experienced in them by now, they do not get any easier. It will be a marathon for all of us.

We have always felt close to our neighbors in Tassajara, Cachagua, and Carmel Valley, but never more than during a fire when we realize how close we really are. This time, we have three separate fires going simultaneously on both sides of the Santa Lucias. I doubt that has ever happened before. Getting accurate information is more difficult and resources are stretched thin statewide. Patience, understanding, and a willingness to serve one another is critical toward getting us through this time.

Let us take Matt’s words to heart, especially those of being patient with one another. Let us continue to do what few other communities do as well as we do…work together to get us through yet another tense and stressful time, together, and in tact as a community. This community always represents the best of human nature in times of emergencies and it holds such love for each other and of this place that defines us. It is during these difficult times that those qualities of ours shine. Let us shine together for as long as it takes. Bless our firefighters, first responders, neighbors, family, and friends and hang tight everyone.


 
Dear Beloved Big Sur Residents and Friends,

Big Sur and its residents are no stranger to fire.  We have faced many over the years and have always been strong and resilient as a community to overcome the challenges associated with them.  Last week, California was bombarded with a lighting event resulting in well over 300 fires across the state, all needing attention and resources.  Big Sur seemingly escaped unscathed that night and there was a sense of relief but also disbelief by many, myself included.  Over the next few days, the heavy smoke generated from the nearby River and Carmel Fire’s coupled with the intense heat wave made it feel as if Big Sur was already burning.

When the call came in for a vegetation fire in the area of Dolan Ridge, we could only hope that it was just the glow emitting from one of the nearby fires.  As more information came in, we learned that it was spotted by an infrared satellite mounted camera through the thick smoke and was estimated at 100 acres high up on the ridge.  Big Sur Fire quickly mobilized with nearly every apparatus and 20 personnel.  It became readily obvious we had a large fire from the intense crimson red glow filtering through the dark smoke and that it would likely become an extended incident.  Crews immediately went into notification and evacuation mode of Dolan Ridge and surrounding residences and were successful in getting everyone out safely.   Crews also worked tirelessly through the night preventing the fire from crossing Highway 1 from rollout of which there were over a dozen occurrences.

Big Sur has always been in focus when a fire starts and this time is no different however, we are seeing unprecedented need across the state for the exact same resources which leaves few to none for us here for the first time in recent memory.  Our responding partners including the US Forest Service and CalFire were only able to send a few engines and hand crews to help because nearly all other resources were committed to other incidents.  The thick smoke clinging to the coast has also shut down the use of air support short term which has made it even more apparent this will be a long duration incident.

Today, an Incident Management Team (CIIMT2) mobilized and will be assuming command of the Dolan Fire starting tomorrow morning.  I have been involved in the transition and planning processes much to our benefit and stressed the importance of timely and accurate information getting out to our community.   They are committed to that end and are committed to success with managing this incident which is now well of 8000 acres with multiple enclaves and structures threatened.  The circumstances surrounding the start of this fire are unclear but certainly suspicious and are being fully investigated by a Federal Investigative Team that will generate official statements regarding it.

Big Sur Fire is very involved supplying firefighters with local knowledge, engines and water tenders and continue to collaborate at the management level ensuring our community priorities are heard and addressed.  Current fire conditions, evacuation warnings and orders are being updated by the Incident Management Team and will be released first thing tomorrow morning by the Public Information Officers.

We must all remain patient with each other and the process and that we plan ahead as best as possible for imminent evacuations to both the north and south of the fire and that we also remain tight as a community as we have done so many times before.

Thank you all for your continued support and trust of Big Sur Fire,
Sincerely,

Matt Harris
Fire Chief

Misc, non-fire specific fire info

RV and Tent Camping Vouchers Available for Fire Evacuees

Monterey County and Weather Tech Raceway management are joining together to offer space for fire evacuees who wish to shelter in their RVs or a tent at the Laguna Seca recreation area at no charge.

Evacuees with recreational vehicles, or who wish to tent camp, should come to the gatehouse at Laguna Seca, 1021 Monterey Salinas Highway, and ask for Monterey County staff.

To receive a voucher to stay at the RV area there at no charge, evacuees must be able to provide proof of an address that is in the fire evacuation zone, whether it is a current ID, bill, statement or vehicle registration.

Staff will be available to assist with vouchers during evacuation center hours: 8 am – 8 pm.

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BTW, please be patient with me today, my MMM who has been helping me on the Carmel and River Fires evacuated his family yesterday, and today is packing up their camper and evacuating himself. Once he gets settled somewhere, I am sure I will hear from him. Keep lucasryancv (gave me permission to use that in addition to my mystery map maker) and his family in your thoughts along with all our family and friends.

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Resources for Evacuees and Other LocalResidents Regarding Monterey County FiresPlaces to Stay in the Monterey County Area Including Current availability and known rates Restaurant Guide for Local Food Offerings Evacuation Centers Resources for Animals and SheltersSPCA Monterey County 831-264-5455Updated Evacuation Map Current Road Closures – According to Cal FirePine Canyon at Mesa RoadRiver Road at Parker RoadIndian Springs Rd at Murietta RdLos Palamas Rd at River RdRiverview Crt at River Rd117 Drive at Highway 68 Air Quality Advisories Evacuation Preparedness ListMonterey County United Way 211*All information is subject to change*For fire updates visit Cal Fire

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LOL. Okay, maybe I am getting punch drunk but that title tickles me. This is a post that applies to ALL fires, not just a specific fire.

First, I have to thank my Mystery Map Maker. Those of you who followed me during the Soberanes Fire will remember him. He lives in Carmel Valley and jumped in and helped me on the Soberanes Fire reporting and saved my sanity and was able to help me provide more and timely information than I could alone. On the River Fire, he again did the same thing. When the Carmel Fire broke, he jumped in and took over that one, which was great, as later that night, the Dolan Fire broke, and I took that one. We have been working as a team for the last 5 days. Thank you, MMM, I couldn’t do it without you!

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The Community Foundation for Monterey County has started a Monterey County Fire Relief Fund: www.cfmco.org/FireRelief.

People can designate relief specifically for those affected in Big Sur through the Big Sur Disaster Relief Fund of the Weston Call Fund for Big Sur.

We took the liberty of linking to your blog and Facebook in our resource area as a key source of information.

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This spot reserved for any future general fire topics.

Dolan Fire, Day 3, 8/20/20

5 PM — I just got a call from one of the lead PIOs for the USFS Dolan Fire. His name is Michael Lindbery. He has been PIO here before, he was on the Kirk-Hare, the Basin, the Soberanes, and all those in between. He will be providing me, and others, with a daily update twice a day. They are also arranging to do live briefings on FB similar to what Cal Fire is doing on the River and the Carmel Fires. He also understands that live in person updates may be necessary for this community given our unique challenges. It will take a few days to get this all up and running, so be patient. I am very grateful he is reaching out to us community members to make sure we have the communication we need. I provided the email contact (I’ll have to find it and create a sticky post with all the contact info on it for Dolan, as there will also be a public phone number contact number two. Right now the team is coming on at 0600 hours. Logistics is looking at 3 different sites for a base camp and I will be notified when that happens. So stay tuned.

4:15 PM — Going door-to-door on Partington for mandatory evacuation. Dave Smiley says this is NOT happening. My source heard it on the scanner, so I don’t know.

Have heard from the Hermitage that the fire has jumped Vicente Creek now (which you can see it starting to do in this photo).And that the Hermitage is under mandatory evacuation now. Also heard Lucia is as well.

This taken Looking north at Gamboa ridge from south side of Vicente creek. “I am at the fire. We are calling it roughly 6,700 acres. It still hasn’t reached Coast Ridge Road, but mostly will today. A lot of effort is going in to protecting the structures and the Hermitage.” (A firefighter’s story and photo) Tim Short tells me we are transitioning to a Type 1 fire team.

Noon — new info on inciweb. First, Dolan is currently at 6,700 acres and is 0 % Contained.

Incident Information

Basic Information

Current as of8/20/2020, 11:52:33 AM
Incident TypeWildfire
CauseUnknown
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 Personnel232
Size6,700 Acres
Estimated Containment DateWednesday September 02nd, 2020 approx. 12:00 AM
Fuels InvolvedChaparral (6 feet)Brush (2 feet)Timber (Grass and Understory)
Significant EventsExtreme Long-range spotting, short-range spotting, running

Outlook

Planned ActionsFull suppresion and structure point protection. Build direct and indirect contingency line.
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. Concern that the smoke inversion will lift and the fire activity will increase.Forestcast for hot and dry weather. Anticipate Fire to continue to actively burn, spot, run and increase in size.
RemarksSmoke Inversion existed all day over the fire. Unable to fly Fixed or Rotor wing over the fire.Concern of fire movement to Highway 1. Presently Hwy. 1 is closed from Pfeiffer State Park at the North to Ragged Point at the South.Communities of Lucia, Partington Ridge, Big Creek Reserve and Camboa Point face potential evacuation.

Current Weather

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

11:45 pm — Just received a text from Brendon that there is now a “suggested” evacuation of Lucia. I am going to venture a guess that this is an evacuation warning. I know Partington Ridge got one last night.

The USFS is back behind the Hermitage cutting a line all around us and Lucia. (From Brendon at the Hermitage.)

AKABoras from Castro Slope
AKABoras from Castro Slope this am
Dolan Fire from Gamboa Point by David Halterman about 10pm

8:00 am — this post will be updated through out the day. USFS managed fires are harder to get info on than Cal Fire ones, but here is what the USFS has posted, and where they post. It has not yet been updated since 10 pm last night. https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7018/

The Dolan Fire started at 8:15pm on Tuesday, August 18, 2020. The location is approximately 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 232 personnel on the fire. There are (6) handcrews that include 3 hotshot crews, (1) Type 2 helicopter, (15) engines and (2) water tenders.

Incident Information

Basic Information

Current as of8/19/2020, 10:02:54 PM
Incident TypeWildfire
CauseUnknown
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 Personnel232
Size2,500 Acres
Estimated Containment DateWednesday September 02nd, 2020 approx. 12:00 AM
Fuels InvolvedChaparral (6 feet)Brush (2 feet)Timber (Grass and Understory)
Significant EventsExtreme Long-range spotting, short-range spotting, running

Outlook

Planned ActionsFull suppresion and structure point protection. Build direct and indirect contingency line.
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. Concern that the smoke inversion will lift and the fire activity will increase.Forestcast for hot and dry weather. Anticipate Fire to continue to actively burn, spot, run and increase in size.
RemarksSmoke Inversion existed all day over the fire. Unable to fly Fixed or Rotor wing over the fire.Concern of fire movement to Highway 1. Presently Hwy. 1 is closed from Pfeiffer State Park at the North to Ragged Point at the South.Communities of Lucia, Partington Ridge, Big Creek Reserve and Camboa Point face potential evacuation.

Current Weather

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

National Fire Interagency maps can be found here: https://maps.nwcg.gov/sa/#/%3F/EditLayerSatelliteFireDetections/36.3523/-121.4401/10

The yellow dots are the oldest fire detections, the red, the newest. Remember there can be false readings, and other areas where fire is not detected. Use these for general information, not for a very specific spot.

John Chesnut’s map

Generally, John outlines the fire’s parameters, and like here, the 24 hour prior outline is in blue, and current is in red. Thank you, John.

Below photos by Jon Knight (and no, the fire is not on both sides of the road)

Report from Rhea this am: “Good morning, We just went up to Gamboa to have a look and we talked to the crew chief for a while. The fire wasn’t that active overnight, marks place on circle m was saved, it burned through most of whale point and it made a run up the ridge behind circle m, but it hit the grass line and slowed way down. It’s still trying to get back into devils, but the north west winds slowed it down a lot last night. The dozer crew is supposed to show up this morning and start opening up the road behind here. Surge also showed him the old line just south of Gamboa and he said he’d send hand crews up there today. He said that crews will start assessing homes and structures in Lucia today too. Tried to take some pics, but there wasn’t much to see.”

River Fire, Day 5, 8/20/20

7:50 pm — Due to the River Fire encroaching on the command post located at Toro Park in Salinas, CAL FIRE Incident Management Team 1 has initiated plans to relocate all non-essential personnel. Essential personnel remain at the incident command post to manage the River and Carmel Fires.

We will be unable to host the Facebook Livestream Briefing event at 7p.m. tonight. Please continue to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for future updates.
For information regarding wildfire preparedness, please visit ReadyforWildfire.com. To register for evacuation alerts please visit AlertMontereyCounty.org.

Evacuation Map as of 3:25 PM:

ev

2:24 PM:  KSBW reporting backburn operations underway at Indian Springs.

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8/20/20 Morning briefing for River and Carmel Fires 11:07 AM:
 

Update on Fires in Monterey County 10:16 AM: River Fire 33,653 Acres – 7% contained, Carmel Fire 4,285 Acres – 0% contained, Dolan Fire 2,500 Acres – 0% contained. More info: https://www.facebook.com/MontereyCountyOES

River Fire – Evacuation Order for Corral De Tierra south to Tassajara Rd. 9:40 AM: The Monterey County Sheriff’s Office has issued an Evacuation Order for all areas south of Corral de Tierra Road and Underwood Road extending south to Tassajara Rd, not to include Corral de Tierra Road and Underwood Road.

River Fire – Zone 13 Evacuation Order Overnight 9:22 AM: Over night the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office deputies issued in person evacuation orders for areas West of River Road extending west to Carmel Valley Road. West of River Road south from Gonzales River Road to Puma Road. East of Carmel Valley Road from south of Tassajara Road to Finch Creek.

River Fire – Evacuation Warning from River Road to Arroyo Seco 9:02 AM: The Monterey County Sheriff’s Office has issued an Evacuation Warning for all areas east of Carmel Valley Road extending south from finch Creek to Arroyo Seco Rd. All areas west of River Road and For Romie Road and Arroyo Seco Road extending South to Elm Avenue and Arroyo Seco Rd.

11 am — from the office of Mary Adams:

Update #RiverFire – 33,653 Acres, 7% Containment

Fire continues to actively burn in all directions. Progression to the north impacted homes in the outlying communities of Salinas. The fire is making slope driven runs.

Firefighters continued their aggressive attack on the fire from the ground and the air. High temperatures, low humidity, topography influenced winds, steep mountainous terrain and difficult access continue to hamper firefighting efforts. Firefighters continue with 24 hour a day operations.

Wind patterns differ on each side of the fire, which contributes to the spread of the fire in multiple directions.

For more details, see pictures or go to https://www.fire.ca.gov/incidents/2020/8/16/river-fire/

Please register for evacuation alerts by visiting http://AlertMontereyCounty.org.

For information on how you can prepare for wildfire please visit http://www.ReadyForWildfire.org or fire.ca.gov

For information regarding the Dolan Fire, please visit fire.ca.gov or inciweb.NWCG.gov

7:00 AM this page will be updated throughout the day. Check back for more updates.

33,653 Acres, 7% Containment

CalFire Incident page here & Facebook Updates here. Sheriff Facebook Updates here.

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PIO map 8_20 AM_1

River and Carmel Fires Google Earth Image with VIIRS and MODIS Satellite and CDF Infrared combined. Some of the latest detections are from 10:48 UTC (3:48 AM PT, see Important caveats note below).  Click this link to view larger image: River_Carmel_Fire_082020

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Toro view: River_Carmel_Fire_Toro_082020

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Palo Escrito Peak view: River_Carmel_Fire_Escrito_082020

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From John Chesnut:

jc1

River Ortho Map (click on map to view full size):

20200820_River_IR_Ortho_11x17_1

River Topo Map (click on map to view full size):

20200820_River_IR_Topo_11x17_1

Daily IR Log here

National interagency Fire Center Map can be found here

Evacuation Map can be found here (Red is Order, Yellow is Warning)

Evacuation Notifications can be found here

Current Wind can be found here

Alert Wildfire Camera here

Scanner Fire & Sheriff

Air Traffic here

Road Closures here

CalFire’s Ready, Set, Go! Checklist here (see page 9)

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.

Also be aware that yellow squares disappear from the map after 6 days. These are not maps of the area burned since the fire began, just maps of where heat has been detected during the past week.

Carmel Fire, Day 3, 8/20/20

7:50 pm — Due to the River Fire encroaching on the command post located at Toro Park in Salinas, CAL FIRE Incident Management Team 1 has initiated plans to relocate all non-essential personnel. Essential personnel remain at the incident command post to manage the River and Carmel Fires.

We will be unable to host the Facebook Livestream Briefing event at 7p.m. tonight. Please continue to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for future updates.
For information regarding wildfire preparedness, please visit ReadyforWildfire.com. To register for evacuation alerts please visit AlertMontereyCounty.org.
 
Report from above Stonepine 6:45 PM: This burning right up to the fire break at Sleepy Hollow. Dozers are on it.
45512
 
7:00 PM : Fire coming right up to the break🤞
45527
 
Not to alarm people this fire is doing exactly what it should be doing, moving right into the break.
45544
 
Google Earth Image with VIIRS and MODIS Satellite and CDF Infrared combined. Some of the latest detections are from 21:04 UTC (2:04 PM PT, see Important caveats note below).  Click this link to view larger image: River_Carmel_Fire_Sleepy2_082020
 
2-04
 
 
 
 
8/20/20 Morning briefing for River and Carmel Fires 11:07 AM:
 

Evacuation Map as of 3:25 PM:

ev

 

 

Update on Fires in Monterey County 10:16 AM: River Fire 33,653 Acres – 7% contained, Carmel Fire 4,285 Acres – 0% contained, Dolan Fire 2,500 Acres – 0% contained. More info: https://www.facebook.com/MontereyCountyOES

River Fire – Evacuation Order for Corral De Tierra south to Tassajara Rd. 9:40 AM: The Monterey County Sheriff’s Office has issued an Evacuation Order for all areas south of Corral de Tierra Road and Underwood Road extending south to Tassajara Rd, not to include Corral de Tierra Road and Underwood Road.

River Fire – Zone 13 Evacuation Order Overnight 9:22 AM: Over night the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office deputies issued in person evacuation orders for areas West of River Road extending west to Carmel Valley Road. West of River Road south from Gonzales River Road to Puma Road. East of Carmel Valley Road from south of Tassajara Road to Finch Creek. 

River Fire – Evacuation Warning from River Road to Arroyo Seco 9:02 AM: The Monterey County Sheriff’s Office has issued an Evacuation Warning for all areas east of Carmel Valley Road extending south from finch Creek to Arroyo Seco Rd. All areas west of River Road and For Romie Road and Arroyo Seco Road extending South to Elm Avenue and Arroyo Seco Rd.

11:30 pm — from John Chesnut: “Cal Fire has released a “red blob” map of the Carmel and River incident.
I redrew my VIIRs mash up to follow the “red blob” map.    The Cal Fire indicates several of the suburban roads were effective firelines,  and hence drawing the lines to reflect that success reduces the “fog of war” that over-estimates fire extent.

Attached is the Cal Fire released “red blob” map.

7:00 AM this page will be updated throughout the day. Check back for more updates.

CalFire Incident Page here & Facebook Updates here. Sheriff Facebook Updates here.

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PIO map 8_20 AM_1

River and Carmel Fires Google Earth Image with VIIRS and MODIS Satellite and CDF Infrared combined. Some of the latest detections are from 10:48 UTC (3:48 AM PT, see Important caveats note below).  Click this link to view larger image: River_Carmel_Fire_082020

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Sleepy Hollow view: River_Carmel_Fire_Sleepy_082020

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Tassajara Road View: River_Carmel_Fire_Tassajara_082020

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From John Chesnut:

jc2

Carmel Ortho Map (click on map to view full size):

20200820_Carmel_IR_Ortho_11x17_1

Carmel Topo Map (click on map to view full size):

20200820_Carmel_IR_Topo_11x17_1

Daily IR Log here

National interagency Fire Center Map can be found here

Evacuation Map can be found here (Red is Order, Yellow is Warning)

Evacuation  Notifications can be found here

Current Wind can be found here

Alert Wildfire Camera here

Scanner Fire & Sheriff

Air Traffic here

Road Closures here

CalFire’s Ready, Set, Go! Checklist here (see page 9)

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.

Also be aware that yellow squares disappear from the map after 6 days. These are not maps of the area burned since the fire began, just maps of where heat has been detected during the past week.