Dolan Fire, Day 4, 8/21/20

Public Information Phone:
 (831) 272-0222

Incident E-mail:

Incident Website:

To register for evacuation alerts go to

For Carmel/River Fire, see Here 

This is the link for the county created interactive evacuations map for all three fires. You can enter an address and find out the status. Nice job MoCo! Thank you.


Evacuation zones in red


Mandatory evacuation order in place for the following area:HWY 1 @ Nacimiento Ferguson Rd. (Post mile 19)North to:HWY 1 @ Torre Canyon (Post mile 39)West of hwy 1 to Pacific OceanEast Hwy 1 to North Coast Ridge Rd./Cone Peak Rd. To include Partington Ridge Road..


8-21-2020/1130 hrs Mandatory evacuation order is in place for the following area:

HWY 1 @ Anderson Canyon
(Post mile 35)

North to:

HWY 1 @ Torre Canyon
(Post mile 39)

West of hwy 1 to Pacific Ocean

East Hwy 1 to North Coast Ridge Rd.

To include Partington Ridge Road.

While the satellite maps belong show that the fire has crossed coast road, those who are up there are saying they are seeing no fire. Heat detections can be inaccurate and give false readings. On the other hand, during the day, fires may be in low areas that are not seen. The good news for Partington is that the winds are predicted to start blowing to the south about 6 pm.

Dolan Fire, 8/21/20

12:30 pm — From the Ventana Wilderness Society’s FB page:

“The Dolan Fire in Big Sur, California burned through the Condor Sanctuary jeopardizing the Ventana Wildlife Society’s recovery effort. Two live cameras, operated by, recorded the devastation. The nest cam, where baby condor “Iniko” is being raised by wild parents Redwood Queen and Kingpin, was lost on the evening of August 20, 2020 and the Sanctuary Cam, with an overview of the release area, was burned over at around 3:45AM on the 21st. Our release pen was engulfed in flames just before the feed cut out. As condors and their chicks have survived wildfire in the past, there is still hope for Iniko and the others. Once it is clear, we will rebuild as nothing will get in our way of restoring this magnificent species back to nature!“

11:45 am — Jon Knight informs he is at Anderson Canyon, and so far they have been able to hold it to the South side. Firefighters are at the (very wide) dozer line back behind the Hermitage preparing to make their stand. The next few hours will give us a better idea of what this fire wants to do.

10:15 — I can’t upload video here because I don’t think I paid the extra fees wordpress wanted, and they do take up so much storage space, but Jon Knight did send me a video of the fire on the east side of the highway burning in Anderson Canyon, almost real time. I can take a screen shot and post that.

This morning’s map from John Chesnut. He added MM to make it easier for all us neophytes.

9:30 am — Serge Withrow and Billy Volpe meeting with structure protection coordinator at Gamboa Point.

Structure Protection

And just for grins, here is an old postcard Rhea found when she was packing up. The Withrows caretake the property most of us will always remember as Don Harlan’s, the original road warrior, place, where he grew up and worked on the road as the Supervisor for Willow Springs for years, if not decades.

Hot off the presses:

Dolan Fire ​​Update

AUGUST 21, 2020 8:00 AM

Public Information Phone: (831) 272-0222

Incident E-mail:

Incident Website:

Los Padres National


Big Sure FD:  

Incident Information:

Start / Report Date: Aug. 18, 2020

Cause: Unknown

Fuels Involved: Chaparral, Brush, Timber understory

Size: 8,500

Location: 6 miles N. of Lime Kiln State Park. 10 miles S. of Big Sur

Containment: 0

Injuries: 0


Hand Crews: 6

Engines: 20

Dozers: 2

Helicopters: 4

Fixed wing: 1

Water Tenders: 2

Total Personnel: 335

Current Situation: The Dolan Fire was reported August 18, 2020, just after 8:00 p.m. Active Fire behavior was observed with long range spotting, uphill runs, flanking and backing fire. The fire was initially managed by local resources but due to the extensive history of large fires in the area, statewide resource issues and a high degree of complexity, a decision was quickly made to request a Type 1 incident management team. California Interagency Incident Management Team 2, under the command of Mike Minton entered into unified command with Big Sur Fire this morning at 6:00 a.m.

The fire is burning on private, state and federal lands, including the Ventana Wilderness. Fire behavior is expected to be much the same as it was yesterday. An inversion shaded the fire and limited fire growth but fire behavior was still active on peaks above the inversion. Due to the inversion, the helicopters assigned to the incident were unable to fly on the Dolan Fire yesterday. They were able to provide some assistance to the Carmel Fire.

Firefighters will take advantage of these weather conditions today as they continue their physical assessment of the fire area. Firefighters on scene will be using infrared imagery and physically scouting the area to locate the fire’s edge and barriers that could potentially be used as fire control line. The current control objectives are to keep the fire south of Partington Ridge, north of Nacimiento Fergusson Road, east of Highway 1, and west of Coast Ridge Road.

The fire is threatening the communities of Partington Ridge, Big Sur and Lucia. Multiple businesses, communications sites, parks and recreational sites are also threatened. Among natural resources threatened are the Ventana Wilderness and coastal watershed and habitat for threatened and endangered species, including the California condor.

Fire activity in the western United States has caused a high demand for fire personnel and equipment. The nation is in Preparedness Level 5 (PL5), the highest level. In PL5 over 80% of the nation’s incident management teams and wildland firefighting personnel are committed to incidents.  

Weather: A low pressure trough will hold the inversion over the area today. Fire behavior will be similar to Thursday. With the arrival of Hurricane Genevieve in the Eastern Pacific on Saturday humidity will increase and air will become unstable potentially leading to more active fire behavior.

Evacuations / Closures: Click here for an interactive map of Monterey County evacuations.

Highway 1 is closed between Pfeiffer State Park on the north and Lucia on the south.

Smoke: The Monterey Bay Air Resources District has issued a Wildfire Air Quality Advisory. When the concentration of smoke has reached UNHEALTHY levels of the AQI, residents should limit their activity by staying indoors with the doors and windows closed to avoid breathing smoke.  Updates on the current air quality forecast and Air Monitoring data can be found at

Alert Monterey County: To receive emergency notifications regarding evacuations and critical events in Monterey County please sign up for A!ert Monterey County at the following website.

Cooperating and Assisting Organizations: National Weather Service, California Highway Patrol, Monterey County Sheriff’s Department, Big Sur Volunteers, Cal Trans, California State Parks, OES, Ventana Wilderness Alliance

Safety Message: Area residents are encouraged to prepare for the approach of fire in advance. Go to to learn how to prepare.

Big Sur Fire Captain Marcus Foster says they had a big stop on this spot on the west side of the freeway and here is the photo that shows it:

Big Sur Fire doing what they do best

8:30 am — Dave Nelson confirms the fire crossed the highway at MM 30, between Dolan Point and Rat Creek. Here is one photo of it. He says they are trying to do a hand line. Damn steep.

7 am — I am still collecting information, even though I’ve been up since 5:30, but the first thing I gathered was from the CHP website which states that early this am, the fire “jumped” the highway. Where is a bit unclear, but somewhere between Dolan Rock at 29.5 mm (milemarker) and Santa Lucia Ranch at 32 mm. I do have a John Chesnut heat map for you, though. He says: “When dots are spread out usually indicates a smoke column heat signature, drew line out around them based on  fire images you posted last night.Couple of hits just over the Coast Ridge Rd,  these might be within the uncertainty footprint” Remember, these heat signature footprints have quite a margin for error. I view this as an approximation of where the fire is.

This is an 11:00 pm inciweb report. I will post the most recent am one on top when it is released.

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 approximately 6 miles north of Limekiln State Park, 10 miles south of Big Sur. 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 6,780 acres and is 0 % Contained. The cause is under investigation. There are 355 personnel on the fire. There are (6) handcrews that include 3 hotshot crews, (4) helicopters, (20) engines and (2) water tenders.

Los Padres is in Unified Command with the Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade, the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office, California State Parks, California Office of Emergency Services, CalTtrans, California Highway Patrol, National Weather Service and the Ventana Wilderness Alliance.

Evacuations in progress for the community of Partington and an evacuation warning in place for Lucia and communities South of the fire.

Communities threated are Partington Ridge, Lucia, Limekiln State Park, Big Creek Reserve, Essalen, Big Creek Reserve, residences, resorts, Federal and State Recreational sites. Coastal watershed is being impacted. Critical habit for California Red-Legged Frog, Steelhead, California Tiger Salamander and California Condor.

For the most current information on evacuation warning and orders in Monterey County visit the Monterey County Office of Emergency Services Website

Monterey County residents can sign up for the emergency alerts system. These systems help public safety officials to provide critical updates, such as evacuation notifications, as quickly as possible.

  • AlertMontereyCounty – Monterey County residents can sign up to receive emergency notifications about where they live or work. AlertMontereyCounty provides time-sensitive messages to wherever you specify, your home, mobile or business phones, email address, or text messages. Sign up, click here.
  • Nixle – To receive emergency information, including evacuation alerts, text MocoOES to 888777 and include any and all zip codes you want to be alerted for in your text. For daily fire updates for the River and Carmel fires text MCFIRES2020 to 888777. 
  •  211 – You can call or text 211. Operators can provide updated fire and evacuation information. You can also text “fire” or “wildfire” to 211-211, add your zip code and receive links to current information.

Incident Information

Basic Information

Current as of8/20/2020, 11:04:05 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 Personnel355
Size6,780 Acres
Estimated Containment DateWednesday September 02nd, 2020 approx. 12:00 AM
Fuels InvolvedChaparral (6 feet)Brush (2 feet)Timber (Grass and Understory)
Significant EventsFire continues to make active runs to the North, East and South. Fire activity forced evacuations to the community of Partington. Fire spread is likely to continue to spread in all directions.


Planned ActionsCrew will scout for opportunities of primary and contingency lines.
Projected Incident ActivityFire will continue to burn in the Ventana Wilderness. Fire is taking advantage of slope driven runs and dry fuel, moving up and down canyons, spotting and making erratic runs, fire movement in all directions, ie. west, south, north, and east. 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.

Current Weather

Weather ConcernsContinued hot and dry weather pattern for the next 24 hours. Movement of Hurricane Genevieve is expected to arrive in the coastal communities on Saturday and increase humidities and generate showers and thunderstorms.

Related Links

Incident Cooperators

For other information sources see:

Quick reference of key resources to stay up-to-date here

National interagency Fire Center Map 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)

8 thoughts on “Dolan Fire, Day 4, 8/21/20

  1. Thank you Kate for all of your good work. We all enjoy the good info you distribute. It would be great to have everyone on the same page. The Sheriff came to Partington yesterday to give us all an evacuation warning. They were very specific about that as we asked for clarification. It’s a bit unsettling to then have both the USFS and the the OES late night reports talk about evacuations in progress. While there are some of us evacuating we haven’t been ordered to go. The new incident team will be in touch with us this morning.

  2. I am working on the post for the Dolan fire, but the Hermitage is fine. Doing good in fact. Hotshots parked there for the duration.

  3. bsk, you are doing a fantastic job with the reporting. 🙂 It is appreciated.

    One of the Bay Area channels had a report, yesterday, from Carmel County, CA.

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