Nepenthe Fire Photos 12/2/11

If all goes well, and it hasn’t so far, I have 4 or 5 photographs of yesterday’s fire sent in by readers, showing different points of view. Quite fascinating to see the fire from different perspectives. Okay, it has been a couple hours, unknown what the problem is, as I have 4 bars, but can’t surf the internet. I’ll get them up when I can.

First, here WILL BE two from Wally Barnick of Coast Outfitters, and one from Sander Koning, of Nepenthe, and one from Joshua Gallo Hernandez, of Ventana – WHEN this blasted internet gremlin moves somewhere else!

Nepenthe Fire by Wally Barnick (12/2/11)
Nepenthe Fire #2 by Wally Barnick (12/2/11)
Nepenthe Fire by Sander Koning (12/2/11)
Nepenthe Fire by Joshua Gallo Hernandez (12/2/11)

Vegetation Fire closes Highway One in both directions

4:30 pm – the evacuation order for Ventana has been lifted. Good news.

3:50 pm – As of 3:07 pm, a car fire that spread into the vegetation has caused the closure of Highway One in both directions. As of this moment, The Restaurant at Ventana has been evacuated. Air Support is on its way. More information to follow.

Report of Wildfire 101 & Jolon Rd./Bradley

1:30 pm – Just after 1 pm this afternoon, there is a report of a grass fire off the 101 Highway, near Jolon Rd. in Bradley. Unknown the extent. There is no wind here, but the Salinas Valley area is notorious for consistent afternoon winds. A fire watch was issued for today and tomorrow down here in the southern portion of the county. Won’t be further reporting, unless circumstances require. I will just be keeping an eye on this to see if there are any developments.

Fire Restrictions & other Fire-related topics

I just noticed that several queries were made via google for “fire restrictions – prewitt ridge” which directed the requestor to my site. YES, fire restrictions are still in effect – no open campfires and no charcoal stoves. Propane stoves ONLY at this time.

Also, a reminder that the major fund-raiser for the BSVFB is coming up on Halloween Night at Nepenthe – the Bal Masque. It is always a wonderful time for everyone. After what happened to Rachel Short last year, I hope everyone will drink responsibly and/or have a DD along.

Finally, a word from our Fire Chief:

“October 23, 2011

Dear Big Sur Residents,

Two years ago the Big Sur area received a grant for over $430,000 for wildfire fuel reduction in areas on the west side of Highway One between Esalen and Andrew Molera State Park. CERT leaders worked very hard to make this happen. The clearing has finally begun with contracts going to local and out of town contractors to do the work either by hand or with equipment.

The work done so far in the Clear Ridge area looks wonderful and will make a huge difference in the event of a fire. However, we are now hearing that some property owners do not want the work done. To leave areas with thick dense fuel where a fire can take hold and spread will completely defeat the purpose.

The areas being treated are either private property or on road company easement. If you don’t want any work done on your private property that is up to you. Work being done on road easement is exactly that, road easement, not private property, where the road company makes the decision on what will occur.

We would like to remind you of the Basin fire, one of the most devastating fires in our area which happened only three years ago. How quickly some of us have forgotten the lessons learned from this fire, with the IC stating he would not send engines to protect homes where the access was overgrown.

We at the Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade have not forgotten and quite frankly are very dismayed at the attitude of some of the residents in Big Sur. It would appear that some of you expect us to send our firefighters to fight fire and risk their lives to protect your homes, but you are refusing to provide safe passage for them to do so!! We will not risk the lives of our members and will not send them into dangerous areas. You must do your part if you expect an engine to respond to your emergency.

The clearing is like mowing a lawn, there are no roots disturbed and everything will eventually grow back. It will not make the hill sides erode. You should make plans to maintain the work that has been done to prevent overgrowth. We have received approval for the project, all permits have been issued and a licensed forester is closely monitoring the process.

You have chosen to live in an area where the danger of wild land fire will always be present, please help us out by choosing to provide safe access to your home, and remember, if or when we get there, 100 foot clearance around your home is the law!

Martha Karstens, Chief
On behalf of the Members and Board of Directors, BSVFB.”

Fire at Esalen’s South Coast Center

Last night (Sunday 10/9), a fire took most of the upper residences at the South Coast Center at Esalen. Mike Gilson so kindly sent me a number of photos, that just as soon as I can get them downloaded, I will post here.

South Coast Center Fire #1 by Mike Gilson

South Coast Center Fire #2 by Mike Gilson

South Coast Center Fire #3 by Mike Gilson

I am recovering from the Jade Festival today. No voice, most body parts hurt. (Am I getting old, or what?) so won’t be doing much of anything but recovering.

Weather, Jade Festival, Photo Contest

Weather is a bit unsettled, or at least I am getting conflicting reports of possible thunderstorms tonight or tomorrow, and then a second storm next week (before Jade Fest, so far).

I have been busy with preparations for the Jade Festival, as well as work, but continue to work on the photo contest. I apparently lost my mind when I said everyone could submit up to 5 photos – I’ve recovered, but still getting them all downloaded and filed.

Bradley Fire

12:40 pm – nothing additional, so probably got a handle on this one early. No additional reporting contemplated.

11:40 am – BEU Scanner reports grass fire at 101 and Bradley. Calling for Cal-Fire units from Monterey, SLO, FHL, LPF, as well as AT.

I will be following scanner traffic as well as online sources to report on this one

9/11 weather report

4:00 pm – reports of both thunder and sprinkles in Paso Robles, coming in from the NE, he thinks. I seem to be living between the high, low clouds (fog) and the low, high clouds today.

10 am – While this is the 10th anniversary of the horrible terrorist attack, other than this quick mention, I prefer not to dwell on that infamous day. I spent pretty much a week in bed in abject depression from watching it unfold, and I cannot do that again.

Instead, I am keeping an eye on the sky. Here, I had rain/drizzle last night – enough to settle the dust a bit, revive a drooping Thompson seedless, and give a fresh taste to the air. It was less than 1/10th of an inch. I woke to chill.

Today, it continues to be overcast, thunder storms continue to be a possibility, and fires continue to rage through much of Fresno County, although there was rain, along with high winds on many fire areas last night, helping the firefighting effort.

Unless we I get reports of significant lightning, or I see it, I won’t be reporting much today, as I have work to do. Enjoy your Sunday, and try to remember the importance of this date, without dwelling or residing there. Come back to today, and what you can do to make your life and the lives of your loved ones better.


5 pm – here is SLO lightning tracker. One can see that the lightning is coming across the SLO/Monterey Co line and here on the South Coast. I haven’t heard any, yet, but it definitely looks like rain. It is hard to see the county line here, but it is below the “50” and right smack through the middle of the northern group of cells.

Here is what RL (real life) looked like at 5 pm. It currently looks as if there might be rain over the ocean:

4 pm cloud build up (this is, of course, looking north, but the ESE is getting dark)

Clouds, 9/10/11


10:30 am – nothing visible here, and the clouds I woke to are gone. It is clear with a blanket of fog on the coast. However, all around us they are getting pounded with lightning strikes in Kern County and southern San Luis Obispo County as well as the LPNF in Santa Barbara. There are multiple down strikes in each of those three counties and complex fires (multiple strikes grouped together into one fire-fighting effort) are present in each county.

From my SLO weather source: “An upper-level low pressure system is anchored over southern California coast and will be slow to move out of the area resulting in scattered thunderstorms with rain and lightning today through Sunday.

The system has tapped into subtropical moisture and will continue to do so for the next couple days and, as a result, thunderstorms that develop will most likely be accompanied by possible heavy rain.

Since there is no well-defined front associated with this type of system, exact timing of thunderstorms and rain amounts is very difficult to predict. In other words, periods of sunshine or partly cloudy skies may last for extended periods, before bands of thunderstorms rolled through your area.

Note: Thunderstorms may be accompanied by lightning, gusty winds,heavy rain and hail.”

From a fire fighting source, “South Op’s has taken over 20,000 downstrikes in the last 24 hours. Most of the lightning on a line from the AZ border northwest to the SLO area appear to have light to moderate precip; Opal Mt. and White Mt. RAWS stations showed .24 and .27 inches of precip, but the majority of the RAWS stations showed less than .10 or no precip at all. but the storms farther north along the southern to central sierra foothills were light to no precip. Should be an interesting day.”

Our fire weather watch continues through tomorrow. I will update later from NWS.