The Smell of Smoke

2:30 am – I finally got my answer from a SLO county FF: “Started approx 1600 and was contained at about 1900 acres. FHL had assistance from Cal Fire and LPF.” I clarified this and it was 1900 acres with containment at 2100 hours.

It is 10 pm. I have been sitting here, thinking I smelled smoke, but not strong. Still, the smell of smoke is always a concern. So, a few minutes ago, I received an email from a member of the BSVFB indicating they came back from Lake San Antonio late today. There is a fire a ways south and east of me, but the drift was noted on Nasty-Fergy on their way home. I haven’t found any information available about this fire.

Nice to know my smeller is working, and I haven’t lost my mind or at least one of my senses!

Is this the one?
09/24/2010 16:47 LPF-3008 (New) Wildfire Gabilan Road

Wildfire Salmon Creek

2:00 pm – have heard nothing further on Salmon Creek at this point. Temperature is 95 up here. What a change from the last few days!

09/24/2010 12:55 LPF-3007 (New) Wildfire HWY 1 MM2 @ Salmon Creek

Page out indicated an abandoned campfire, so hopefully, this will be picked up early. I will continue to keep an eye and ear out on this today, as needed.

Bear Trap Fire – Ft. Hunter Leggitt

5:30 pm – nothing further, which is good news.

3:45 pm – Now 200 AC and still spotting but they are reporting that they are making progress.

3:20 pm – Bear Trap road x Sam Jones inside the base, 100 AC, ROS, spotting, both flanks are running on ground crews, having erratic winds on fire. BEU sent full wildland response

3:00 pm – Still trying to get details, but I can see the smoke from here off the back side of the ridge. A friend in Paso said a couple of planes took off a short while ago, and this is being reported:
as of now LPF sending: Div-1; BC-11; Monterey hotshots; Eng: 15, and 19
BEU (CALFIRE) just sent BC, Dozer, Engine’s # ?, C406, onto the fort to assist FHL with a fire in the Bear trap loop area from BC 4613 on scene 10-15 acres spotting across the road.

Dispatch is reporting erratic winds in the area. Lockwood reports very smoky on the valley side.

09/12/2010 14:02 LPF-2881 BEARTRAP Wildfire Fort Hunter Liggit

San Bruno Fire

Around 6 pm this evening, a natural gas main, 24″ pipe exploded, causing a crater 30′ x 25′ x 15′ deep. Many homes and vegetation are on fire. 53 homes destroyed, 120 damaged so far, at 10:30 pm. All medical staff have been called back to duty in Daly City. Injuries and casualties are expected to mount throughout the evening. Most Bay Area stations are providing live feed, and from what I can tell, it is pretty horrific. Firefighters are being called in from throughout neighboring areas, and the planning for tomorrow is already being discussed. I won’t be covering this one, other than to mention it here, but suggest you follow the local stations for that area for additional information about this fire. Our hearts and prayers go out to our neighbors to the north.

For more information on this incident, you can follow the LA Times blog here.

More on Illegal Campfires

And this is just one example of why campfires are illegal during the fire season, when vegetation becomes a tinder box.

09/06/2010 16:07 LPF-2811 Botchers Gap Wildfire Botchers Gap Escaped Campfire, 25 X 50

Fortunately, the fire crews were able to get to and put this one out very fast, before it grew. However, in other locations, it may take an hour to get an engine on site, and by then, that 25×50 escaped campfire could be acres and acres, and much more difficult to put out.

Typically, once there is a ban on campfires, it is not lifted until after the first rains. Fortunately, the summer tourist season is over. Unfortunately nice weather will bring campers out for another couple months, before the first rains come. We all take the ban on campfires very seriously here in Big Sur.

And yet another illegal campfire # 5897

Okay, I am joking about which number this is. I haven’t kept track.

09/05/2010 19:55 LPF-2794 (New) Wildfire Sand Dollar Day Use

What are people thinking? I know what they are thinking. Because, I know how they get to my blog, and right now people are googling to find out what the fine is for an illegal campfire. Now, correct me if I am wrong, but that seems to indicate whoever these people are, they are doing a cost effective analysis. You decide.

The fine is $5000 and/or 6 months in jail. And, you WILL get caught, as fire is visible FOREVER at night, and all of us who live here will call it in. And we have a couple of USFS cops who love to get in people’s faces, and at least one of them will probably search you, your vehicle, your tents, etc. Probably not legally, but whatcha going to do?

Do you have any idea how visible fires are at night – for MILES. Time to go out and check!

Fire in Big Sur

4:10 pm – LPF reports: “Forward spread of the fire has been stopped. No aircraft required at this time.”
CHP reports:

At an earlier point CALFIRE was asking for closures of both Highway One and Coast Rd, but I doubt that is still in effect.

4:00 pm – closest shot. Last report (45 mins ago) was 3 acres, moderate rate of spread. All photos below are by Debbie Reed. In my haste, I forgot the captions on most of them!

3:45 Closer shots:

I believe this is the shot where you can see the helicopter.

3:30 pm – Fire is currently 3 acres in size, with a moderate rate of spread. Burning in Redwoods and other veg.

Sur Fire by Debbie Reed

I don’t know what dispatch is naming this one, could be Molera, but for now, I’m calling it the Sur Fire

3:15 a friend coming home from town noted the fire. She says it is in between the El Sur Ranch and Andrew Molera. She indicates CAL-FIRE has responded, and that she just saw a helicopter and one plane working the fire. She has photos she is sending to me, and as soon as I get them, I will post them here.

At 2:39, WildCAD LPF reported a new fire:

09/04/2010 14:39 LPF-2756 (New) Wildfire Hwy 1, mm 51 near Andrew Molera


Controlled Burn at Ft. Ord

It started yesterday, and the smoke was bothering a friend in town. This morning a smoke alert was put out for the Big Sur region. So …

That smoke you see is probably the controlled burn at Ft. Ord, but given the triple digits temps in the mountains of Big Sur this weekend, and given that is is the last hurrah of summer – Labor Day weekend, report any other smoke you may see.

Lake Fire

I have been following the fire out at Lake Nacimiento this afternoon, but it only got up to 17 acres, destroyed one mobile home, and was out by this afternoon. One FF injured due to heat exhaustion.

I also have been following a number of SoCal fires, particularly the Post near Lebec (off Highway 5 near the Grapevine), but as it is not in my reporting area (I cover Big Sur, Los Padres, SLO, and Santa Cruz) I haven’t been blogging about it.

SoCal lightning strikes have started a number of fires this afternoon, but the air attack guys and gals are all over them, so things are going pretty well for California, wildfire season wise.