Dolan Fire, Day 32, 9/18/20

And as usual lately, I will end this evening and today’s post with a heat map by John Chesnut. With this I can see exactly where the huge plume I photographed came from. There was no heat detection in the Arroyo Seco segment of the fire, so no new map.

Dolan Fire 

Basic Information

Current as of9/17/2020, 8:59:08 PM
Incident TypeWildfire
Date of OriginTuesday August 18th, 2020 approx. 08:15 PM
LocationHighway 1(MM 32.20) North of Limekiln State Park, 10 miles South of Big Sur
Incident CommanderRob Allen, PNW Team 2 Jeff Mannetti, Fort Hunter Liggett 
Incident DescriptionWildfire
Coordinates36.123 latitude, -121.602 longitude 

Current Situation

Total Personnel732
Size125,559 Acres
Percent of Perimeter Contained40%
Estimated Containment DateMonday September 28th, 2020 approx. 12:00 AM
Fuels InvolvedChaparral (6 feet)Brush (2 feet)Timber (Grass and Understory)Narrative:The area is surrounded by recent fire scars except to the SE where there is no record of much of that landscape burning since 1999 if not earlier. Recent burn scars (Sobranes) have helped reduce fire spread. In the 2008 fire scar areas, where shrub growth is recent the fuels aren¿t receptive. Where there are dead fuel components (older, decadent brush) fuels are receptive and are carrying/consuming well.A fire behavior advisory is in place for the mountain PSAs of Southern California for extremely dry fuels. Low live fuels moistures combined with poor humidity recoveries can result in very active fire behavior on the Dolan fire, even in the absence of significant winds.
Significant EventsActiveUphill RunsFlankingSpottingNarrative: With low relative humidity values and poor recoveries above the marine layer, fuels remain available for active burning day and night. The big change today was a change in wind direction as a light northerly flow dominated the fire area. The Dolan fire footprint covers a large area with complex topography, varying vegetation types and numerous local weather factors that have been influencing fire behavior. With a wind change, the primary concern is relatively quiet areas of the fire showing increased activity. On the coastal side of the fire, the persistent marine layer has minimized fire behavior but fire weakened trees and rolling material continue to be a safety concern.


Planned ActionsContinue burn operations on the southern perimeter of the incident. Continue to prepare for burn operations if needed on the northern and eastern perimeter. Continued direct and indirect control actions along the northern, eastern and southern perimeters. Continue prep and protection of values at risk. Assess and scout areas of new fire growth for potential direct and indirect opportunities.
Projected Incident Activity12 hours: There were some challenges with spotting during the burn operations on the south side of the fire. Inland fuels remain available for active burning during the day and night and a primary concern is any undetected spot fires becoming active. On the coastal side of the fire, the persistent marine layer will continue to minimize fire behavior.24 hours: The main concern will be the impacts of north winds on suppression actions on the south side of the fire. Fuel moistures, forecasted temperatures and humidity values are conducive to active fire behavior and continued fire growth. Fire behavior will be dictated by the depth and persistence of marine layer and shading from area smoke.48 hours: Continuing with a along any unchecked fire edge on the north side of the fire.


YESTERDAY’S ACTIVITIES:With cloud cover from a high pressure system that passed over the fire area moderating fire activity, firefighters were able to successfully complete the burnout operation along McKern Road on the south side of the Dolan Fire yesterday. The burnout connected the black contained perimeter of the fire at Nacimiento-Ferguson Road west to Highway 1. 

TODAY’S ACTIVITIES:Forecasted cooler temperatures will allow firefighters to continue to hold and monitor the burn they completed yesterday on McKern Road. Helicopters are available to assist firefighters in cooling hot spots on containment lines again today while the fire backs down the steep slopes to join the main fire. Executing this burnout was a critical step in containing the southern portion of the Dolan Fire and the next few days will be spent holding and improving this fire line and monitoring for spot fires. 

Crews along Highway 1 continue the work of bringing fire down the rugged terrain along the highway and through the Pacific Valley community. Firefighters on the fully contained northwest portion of the fire will transition down to this portion of the fire to assist in these ignitions and focus efforts to containing this portion of the fire as quickly and safely as possible. 

With predicted temperatures in the low-to-mid 80s, fire behavior is expected to be minimal around the fire today. While structure preparations are complete around Arroyo Seco, helicopters continue to respond to any flare ups to prevent the fire from crossing the river. Contingency fire lines in are in place outside of the community and along Arroyo Seco Road, but fire managers continue to look for opportunities for crews to safely engage the fire on the south side of the river. 

The east side of the fire remains quiet with pockets of heat where heavy timber is burning close to fire lines. Crews monitor these hot spots and bring in helicopters to drop water and minimize the threat of the fire jumping containment lines. Firefighters have also completed contingency lines and structure preparations around Coleman and Pine Canyons.

EVACUATIONS: The Monterey County Sheriff’s Office has evacuations ORDERS and WARNINGS in effect. For current evacuation information view the OES interactive map or call 211. SCPA Monterey County can assist with rescuing, sheltering, and evacuating animals. Call 831-373-2631 – day; 831-264-5455 – night;

ROAD CLOSURES: HWY 1 is closed between mile post 25 and mile post 10. Nacimiento-Ferguson Rd is closed to all traffic from Highway 1 to the Fort Hunter Liggett base boundary line. For more information visit REGIONAL FOREST CLOSURES: Regional Order No. 20-10 USDA Forest Service. All National Forest Lands are closed to public entry in California. 

WEATHER: The high pressure weather system passing over the fire area will moderate fire behavior today with lower than average temperatures and winds out of the northwest. 

No USFS maps provided today.


From John Chesnut: “The satellite heat detection server is not updating.  I went to a second source to get dots.New overnight IR aircraft flight, but very little change in perimeters (though different areas mapped inside the burnout).
Arroyo Seco reads cold.“