Dolan Fire, Day 32, 9/19/20

Update tonight from the USFS: “

DolanFire Evening Update for 9/19/2020

In the Highway 1 corridor at the south end of the fire, additional hand ignition was done from Kirk Creek to the north to connect control line at the highway up to the main fire. “Cleanup” ignitions in this area are nearly complete.

The control line holding the burnout from Prewitt Ridge along McKern Road to Nacimiento-Ferguson Road is still holding. Tonight’s photos show two members of the Del Rosa Hotshots (blue hard hats) and other firefighters working with bulldozers to light and hold this burnout the day before yesterday (Thursday 9/17/2020.)

On the eastern side of the fire, between Fort Hunter Liggett and Arroyo Seco, fire activity picked up in some areas late this afternoon. Firefighters responded with water drops from helicopters, also known as “bucket work,” successfully keeping that part of the fire in check.

For tonight’s weather, multiple layers of inversion are expected with some burning continuing in the dry layers. Dryer weather is forecast for tomorrow. Northwesterly winds will continue. Temps are expected to keep rising through midweek.

Tomorrow, hoses will be removed from North Coast Ridge Road and Highway 1. A crew will be camped out on Kern Ridge starting tomorrow night to begin pulling hoses, pumps, portable tanks, and other gear used to hold the burn. Firefighters will continue working with CalTrans to deal with falling rocks, rollout, and snags along Highway 1, but there is no estimate at this time of when the road will reopen. Please call 511 or visit the CalTrans web site for road closure updates.

Along the fire perimeter from Arroyo Seco to Junipero Peak, air operations will keep a vigilant eye on possible fire movement and continue to respond with water drops. Retardant will also be available from the mobile retardant base in Arroyo Seco. In addition to the Arroyo Seco area, firefighters will also pay close attention to any hot spots flaring up along the eastern perimeter facing Pine Canyon.

For more information, visit“


The fire is winding down and there is not much activity on the fire anymore, so John Chesnut is not going to be providing any new maps after tonight, unless there is a sudden change. On behalf of me, and all my readers, thank you very much for providing these easy to understand maps. Your selflessness in doing this for us can never be repaid, so we will just pay it forward.

Fire Information: 831-272-0222               Email: 

Media Information: 831-272-0221          Inciweb 


Size: 128,050 acres                       Containment: 46%                        Personnel: 678                     Start Date: August 18, 2020        

Cause: Under Investigation         Structures Damaged:                Structures Destroyed: 19 

YESTERDAY’S ACTIVITIES: Overall, there was moderate fire behavior on the Dolan Fire yesterday but gusty afternoon winds produced some visible smoke columns from burnout operations on Highway 1 as isolated pockets of green vegetation burned within containment lines.  

Yesterday crews continued burning along Highway 1, finishing most of the burnout from Mill Creek to Pacific Valley with both hand and aerial ignitions. On the south side of the fire, firefighters continued to hold all fire on the north side of McKern Road with the assistance of favorable southwesterly winds.   

TODAY’S ACTIVITIES: Hot and dry conditions are forecasted for the weekend, which could increase fire behavior across the Dolan Fire area. Infrared technology is an important tool for fire managers to use in identifying pockets of heat near fire lines and aircraft is quickly dispatched to drop retardant or water on these hot spots. Several helicopters remain available today to respond across the incident if there are flare ups near containment lines due to the change in weather conditions.  

Crews continue to hold and patrol the burnout operations on Highway 1 as fire backs down the steep coastal slopes to the road. Firefighters have also been holding fire lines along Prewitt Ridge and around to McKern Road where fire from Wednesday’s burnout operation has joined the main fire. Firefighters continue to hold McKern Road as a containment line and while crews remain diligent watching for spot fires, favorable winds pushing fire north of the road have allowed firefighters to begin cooling and containing the line.   

With structure protection work complete in and around Arroyo Seco, firefighters have seen little movement of the fire in recent days. Directly accessing the northeastern portion of the fire remains dangerous and firefighters cannot safely engage due to the steep, rugged terrain and challenging fuel and weather conditions. Fire managers will continue to use heavy helicopters to cool hot spots on the south side of the river and will monitor the fire’s movement in the area.   

Several large trees have fallen across the McKern Road and material from the fire area continues to roll down the steep slopes onto Highway 1. Crews often must cut through downed trees to gain access to the fire area or leave for the day. Roads around the fire area remain closed for the safety of the public. They will be reopened again when it is safe to do so and the hazards along the roadside have been addressed. 
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. SPCA 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 has closed public entry to several national forests including the Los Padres National Forest.   

WEATHER: Hotter and drier temperatures will return to the area today with winds out of the west/northwest.  


As always, here are John Chesnut’s maps. I’ll be back with the morning update later.

“Note expansion of perimeter at the very lowest ocean side of Mill and Kirk Creek == the burnout column you saw yesterday.   Looks like the burnout along McKern has expanded in depth 800 meters or more.  
Only change in the Arroyo Seco is a little expansion due north of Junipero Serra.”