VegetationFire E/O Prunedale, CA (Monterey Co) – BC4612 reports 15 acres, slope & wind driven, potential for 500 acres. AA460, T79 & T80 arriving now. 1000blk San Juan Grade Rd. This is the #BoomerFire. The fire mapping is a new link I have added to my fire links to the right.
Fire is looking much better. Aircraft is being released and diverted to other fires.
I’ve been following wildland fires since I moved to the Big Sur backcountry in 1994 and survived my first close encounter in 1996. Big Sur has had a lot of fires since then, and I’ve closely monitored them all. But I had a new fire experience earlier this month that I hope never happens again: two fires in two weeks along the road leading to my house.
The first, on June 3, was called the Plaskett Fire and was caused by humans. The U.S. Forest Service says it is under investigation. The second, the Ridge Fire, started June 17. They were both put out quickly, but before describing how, I want to talk about the science of firefighting first.
I have studied the language of firefighting in my online interactions. Every year, I am immersed in the wildland fire culture in person and online. Fire is why I first learned how to blog and has been an all-consuming summer unpaid occupation for 12 years now, as more and more people use the backcountry, some of whom don’t have a clue about the dangers.
CAL FIRE NEWS RELEASE California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection San Mateo & Santa Cruz Unit CONTACT: Dan Bonfante RELEASE Fire Captain DATE: June 23, 2020 (831) 335-5353 CAL FIRE CZU To Conduct Training Burn FELTON – Crews with CAL FIRE CZU plan to conduct a one-day training burn starting at 9:00am Wednesday. The burn will take place on private property near the Ben Lomond Training Center in Santa Cruz County, west of Boulder Creek. This training burn for new and returning seasonal firefighters will consume 10 acres of grass. This burn will provide the opportunity for firefighters to practice cutting line, making a mobile attack, and firing. The burn is sanctioned by the Monterey Bay Air Resources District. Smoke may be visible throughout parts of Santa Cruz County while the burn is taking place. ###
I don’t have a name for this fire yet, nor an acreage estimate, and will add the name to the title and the acreage to the post itself when I do. There is also a fire in Paso Robles, called the River Fire. I will probably have to do a a separate post for the River Fire.
Here is a photo of it taken from the 101:
Report of Fire Location: Exit 263 Us101 N At Paris Valley Rd/san Ardo Loc Desc: EXIT 263 Lat/Lon: 36.069183 -120.987720
 [Appended, 14:31:10]  TRANS CAL FIRE
 [Appended, 14:31:10]  ABOUT 2 MI FROM RP’S HOUSE – 65301 DEAD MANS GULCH RD
 1039 CAL FIRE MTRY
 CALLER DISC’D ON TRANS TO CAL FIRE MTRY
 TRANS CAL FIRE MTRY
 TRANS SALINA
 FIRE TO THE EAST
 [Appended, 14:22:49]  SEES FLAMES AND SMOKE
As of 10 am 6/22, Hunter Fire still at 140 acres with 15% containment. (Just for frame of reference, when the Ridge fire was at 30%, it was no longer of any concern to me)
7:30 PM — spotting on left flank. Two additional tankers being ordered. Now 140 acres burned. Talk of moving resources into the Copperhead area out front of this.
7:00 PM — 140 acres, spotting, starting to take the next “bowl” and still need two tankers that were diverted to Stage, and to Vista, a 3d fire in San Juan Bautista. 0% containment on the Hunter incident.
Fire on Sam Jones Road. FHL unit is making his way into the incident, stating that its on private property and in the SRA. BEU is going to start aircraft as soon as they have coordinates. BEU & FHL resources responding to a working fire, with a structure involved, on Sam Jones Road approximately 1 mile passed the green bridge.
This should be in the area of Bald Mountain, which is the border of FHL and BEU, near the Bryson-Hesperia community.
Full response from both agencies, with a large column visible. Additional ground resources responding from SLU.
Noon update: RidgeFire currently 83 acres & 30% contained. Aerial retardant drops were key in limiting the spread yesterday. Crews are focused today on constructing line & snuffing out hotspots inside the perimeter. #OneLessSpark Photo courtesy Ventana Crew 1.
Photos by Brendon Shave this morning. Still working it.
Congressman Panetta Leads California Congressmembers in Calling for Increased Support for Wildfire Preparedness SALINAS, CA – Today, Congressman Jimmy Panetta (CA-20) led 18 members of Congress in the California Delegation in calling on House leadership to ensure that any future legislative package focused on infrastructure, economic stimulus, and job creation include robust funds to address deferred maintenance and wildland fire preparedness needs in the U.S. National Forest System. “For a long time, the U.S. Forest Service has not received sufficient funding to adequately complete its necessary infrastructure projects. That backlog increases the threat to communities across the Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest region, including California, as we move into the 2020 wildfire season,” said Congressman Panetta. “As Congress considers legislation for infrastructure, economic stimulus, and job creation, we must fight for more funding for Forest Service projects that will not only generate jobs, but also give our federal firefighters the necessary tools to prepare for wildfires and keep our communities safe.” “It is important to note that the current backlog of projects in the USFS Pacific Southwest Region is particularly concerning as the state of California progresses deeper into its 2020 wildfire season, with fire officials predicting higher-than-normal fire potential through the fall. As the Region works to swiftly implement new wildfire suppression tactics to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread at base camps, it is all the more important that USFS employees have access to working infrastructure,” the members wrote. The text of the letter can be found here or below: Dear Speaker Pelosi and Leader McCarthy: As Congress works to develop and disburse immediate relief to communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, we must also consider the investments needed to bring tens of millions of people back to work to rebuild a stronger, more sustainable economy. To this end, we write to you to ensure that any future legislative package focused on infrastructure, economic stimulus, and job creation include robust funds to address deferred maintenance and wildland fire preparedness needs in the U.S. National Forest System. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, communities across our nation have turned to National Forests as spaces to safely spend time outdoors while adhering to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) physical distancing guidelines. Additionally, U.S. Forest Service (USFS) roads and bridges are playing a key role in ensuring rural communities can safely reach grocery stores and hospitals during the pandemic. At the same time, our National Forest System is suffering from $5.2 billion worth of backlogged repairs for roads and road bridges, trails, and facilities, which far exceeds the $446 million included in the fiscal year 2019 USFS budget for infrastructure improvement and maintenance. In the USFS Pacific Southwest Region, which includes eighteen national forests spanning 20 million acres of land in California, a recent Regional review identified over 90 deferred maintenance projects with critical safety components for administrative facilities, fire facilities, and employee housing, including five priority projects on each National Forest in the state. Completion of these projects would reduce maintenance costs, improve visitor experiences, support employee recruitment and retention, and allow for additional modifications needed to protect employees, particularly in light of COVID-19. Notably, funding these projects would also create hundreds of jobs across the state. It is important to note that the current backlog of projects in the USFS Pacific Southwest Region is particularly concerning as the state of California progresses deeper into its 2020 wildfire season, with fire officials predicting higher-than-normal fire potential through the fall. As the Region works to swiftly implement new wildfire suppression tactics to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread at base camps, it is all the more important that USFS employees have access to working infrastructure. To keep these federal employees and the rural communities they serve safe, we urge you to provide funding for the design and construction of new fire cache facilities and updated airtanker bases throughout the state. By replacing the debilitated and aging Northern and Southern Operations Geographic Area Caches, the USFS Pacific Southwest Region would be able to significantly reduce leasing costs and increase wildfire preparedness. Similarly, by updating the infrastructure at airtanker bases, the USFS would be able to generate jobs, more rapidly deploy large airtankers to the fire line, and enhance initial attack effectiveness to protect communities and firefighters. In addition to prioritizing the aforementioned physical infrastructure projects, we urge you to include funding for technology updates needed to provide real-time tracking and response of firefighting resources, particularly during rapidly escalating wildfires. With upgraded information technology, firefighting teams will not only be able to virtually access weather and other incidental information but also share information in real time with other firefighting teams. This type of collaboration will significantly enhance the common operating picture for all levels of a firefighting organization. For decades, the USFS has struggled with insufficient funds to address critical infrastructure needs, and every year, the backlog of projects becomes increasingly overwhelming. As the COVID-19 pandemic puts new and unknown pressures on our National Forest System, we cannot wait any longer to prioritize these projects. Over the coming weeks, as you work to make critical funding decisions to address the current unemployment crisis, we ask that you strongly consider the high potential for USFS projects in the Pacific Southwest Region to create thousands of sustainable jobs, particularly during a time of heightened need for effective USFS services. As the Pacific Southwest Region has already completed a comprehensive review of projects, we encourage Congressional investments directly to the Region so these projects can move forward in a timely manner. Sincerely, ###