Photo Sunday, 7/26/20

Tomorrow is Rock Knocker’s 80th birthday. He is a Leo and an extravert, so celebrations are his thing … unfortunately, COVID-19 has made this darn near impossible, except for a special meal planned around his favorites. This is where we would have gone for breakfast, and will, hopefully, next year. Happy Birthday, R!

Fire in Palo Corona, probably now controlled

Incident: 00363 Type: Report of Fire Location: Sr1 / Rio Rd Loc Desc: NB 1 AT RIO RD Lat/Lon: 36.539340 -121.910241 Detail Information8:11 PM6[21] [Appended, 20:11:09] [1] HOUSE ON FIRE8:09 PM5[18] [Appended, 20:09:33] [1] BLACK SMOKE SEEN BEHIND CVS8:08 PM4[12] [Appended, 20:09:30] [5] [Appended, 20:09:13] [1] TRANS TO CDF MTY8:07 PM3[11] [Appended, 20:09:30] [4] RP SEES BLK and GRY SMOKE and FLAMES8:05 PM2[3] TRANS MTY COM8:05 PM1[2] FLAMES SEEN, HUGE PLUME OF SMOKE

Here is a photo by Jason Olcese:

Photo by Jason Olcese

Covid-19 Community Meeting

COVID-19 Community Response Group Meeting NotesJuly 22, 2020
Attendees (via Zoom):
20thCongressional District, State Senate District 17, 30thAssembly District, Cal State Parks, US Forest Service, 5thDistrict Supervisor, Parks Management Company, Ventana Wilderness Alliance, Big Sur Chamber of Commerce, Big Sur Health Center, Esalen Institute, Big Sur Fire, Big Sur CERT, and the Community Association of Big Sur 
Big Sur Chamber of Commerce:·      Kirk Gafill reports that Big Sur businesses are in crisis management mode as it relates to addressing the challenges brought about by COVID-19.·     2/3 of California is on the State watchlist, with uncertainty around messages emanating from Sacramento and Monterey County regarding metrics for continued business operations.·     Sacramento has decreed that local public schools will begin the academic year “distance learning”. This will have an impact on working parents.·     Currently visitation numbers are down 20-25%.·     In a positive outcome of the pandemic, Diana Ballantyne reports tobacco sales are off 80% at Fernwood.  Big Sur Health Center:Executive Director Sharen Carey reports for the Big Sur Health Center:·     There are currently 8 positive cases of COVID-19.·     BSHC has conducted 277 tests, 141 tests in July.·     Sharen is urging community members to wear masks, practice excellent hand washing hygiene, social distance and don’t panic if you or someone you know tests positive for COVID-19.  ·     When an employee tests positive, the employer is required to notify ALL employees that there has been a positive person identified, but the employer must also protect the identity of the person who tested positive. ·     The employer is also required to notify those who meet the threshold for close contact time with that employee to undergo testing and quarantine.·     In a small community like Big Sur, these twin responsibilities are very difficult to successfully accomplish.·      Under these circumstances, the person who tests positive is understandably stressed and those who may have come in contact with that person may feel apprehensive and even angry. Please keep in mind that a person who tests positive is not at fault. They deserve to be treated with kindness and understanding.  Big Sur has always gone beyond the norm to help neighbors in a crisis. This is no different.  We need to get through this by sticking together.USFS, LPNF Monterey District, Fin Eifert sitting in for Ranger Tim Short:·     With 28 employees in isolation due to exposure to a positive COVID-19 case, Fin reports that there has been a high level of communication and cooperation between State and Federal partners as well as shared learning between the Agencies. Every action that is taken is done so with an abundance of caution.·     Shared housing is being evaluated.·     Butch described an encounter with the team covering the quarantined crews. There were no masks evident and of course, in a crew truck, social distancing is impossible.  Others on the South Coast reported the same behavior, leading Butch to ask, “if these men get sick, who is covering for them, and how are you going to change this culture around masks?”·     Fin replied that he is acting immediately to address this problem.·     He went on to say he is thankful for being able to work with all those on the call and in the community.  Fifth District Supervisor. Sarah Hardgrave for Supervisor Mary Adams reports.·     Was unable to attend. Ca. State Parks, Monterey District, Big Sur Sector Superintendent Marcos Ortega reports:·      He, Katie, Phil and Butch installed the visual displays of the proposed wind turbineprojectoffshore of Big Sur at the MAF. 3 representative photos are located outside on the South East corner of the building with an array of different perspective photos located inside the MAF conference Room and available for community members to view from 9am to 4pm daily. There is also information posted on how to make public comments.  These turbines will be visible from our shoreline. The time to comment is now!·     Brent Marshall, Tim Short and Marcos are working closely together on the repercussions of COVID-19 and employees in shared quarters at the MAF.·     State Park Rangers are reporting unprecedented road side parking levels and working on traffic management solutions along with Agency partners.·     Marcos, Butch, Nate and Brian from PMC met earlier in the week to discuss contingency plans for sudden closures due to State mandates. Some additional signage may be employed alerting the public that Pfeiffer Beach is closed may be employed as a pilot project, to relieve congestion at the top of Sycamore Canyon Rd.·     Kirk expressed thanks for all the interagency cooperation and also asked for an explanation for maintain the Park Day Use parking at 50% capacity and continuing to keep the Day Use lot at JP Burns closed. Marcos explained that doing so makes it harder for the public to over crowd an area, violating social distance guidelines.  These policies are undergoing continual evaluation.·     Marco went on to cite the terrific job the State Parks staff is doing in dealing with this unprecedented time. All on the call acknowledged the challenges and expressed appreciation for their efforts on behalf of the Public and the Big Sur community.
Parks Management Company, Nathan Koontz reports:·     So far, no PMC employees have tested positive for COVID-19.·     Concurred with all on the call that the challenges USFS and Parks are experiencing are issues they are dealing with as well.·     Senior Management team are currently circulating to all PMC managed sites to evaluate Staff and protocols.·     Offered that if anyone sees something not right with Staff or Operations to get in touch with him or Butch who has a direct line. Big Sur Fire, Chief Matt Harris reports:·      Unable to attend.  Community Emergency Response Team, Martha Karstens:.·     14 member refresher training was held. Wonderful class with an exceptional Instructor.   Ventana Wilderness Alliance, Rich Popchak reports:·     Terrace Creek and Pine Ridge trails: Since the last call, there have been 3 outings involving 10 volunteers and 3 contractors (horse packers). The work was in preparation for the eventual reopening of the corridor to visitors (when it is safe to do so). ·     The purpose of two of the outings was to make the Terrace Creek Trail safe for pack stock to support contract trail crews (ACE). They will begin work on the Pine Ridge Trail on July 29.  ·     The third outing involved 8 volunteers. They packed in the components of two wilderness toilets which were assembled and installed at Sykes Camp. ·     A Volunteer Wilderness Ranger completed a patrol of the Silver Peak Wilderness. ·     Since the last report, volunteers donated 189.5 hours of service, made 34 visitor contacts (26 in the Silver Peak and 8 on Coast Ridge Road) and packed out 15 pounds of trash. 
Esalen Institute. Lacy Shannon:·     Unable to attend.
30thAssembly District. Dominic Dursa for Assembly Member Robert Rivas.·      Assembly Member Rivas office continues to work on EDD cases for constituents.·      As of now, there is no extension of the Federal $600 per week supplement to EDD.
17thState Senate District, Colleen Courtney for Senator Bill Monning reports:·     Senator Monnings Office is working on a recent influx of EDD cases involving Big Sur residents.·     Legislature will be back in session next Monday in Sacramento.·     The Legislature and the Governor have come to an agreement on a Budget that features: $5.7 Billion in response to C-19, $85.6 million to Cal-Fire and $50 million for community power resiliency (wildfire prevention programs).·     The Budget notably did not cut funding for programs addressing Aging, Community based services, In home support services, Cal Work and Medical Optimal Services. 20thCongressional District, Katie Moon and Phil Deppert on behalf of Congressman Jimmy Panetta.·     Great American Outdoors Act, co-sponsored by Congressman Panetta, passed the House. May be a source of funding for local USFS lands.·     An analysis shows that in the 20thCongressional District, 6,621 businesses received PPP affecting the jobs of 82,000 people.·     Katie reported on the Wind Turbine visual installation at MAF and will issue a notification regarding public comment details on Thursday 7/23/20.
Monterey County Sheriff Department, Deputy Villasenor:·     Jesse calling in on his day off that illegal camping over the July 4thperiod was extreme.·     He reported that there is a general warning circulating among law enforcement to be extra careful due to concerns over social unrest. Officers in the County are doubling up.  Here on the Coast, all the Agencies with a law enforcement component provide mutual Aid to one another.·     During discussion around parking on the Highway issues, Jesse noted a distinct difference in Travelers who are just passing through and those willing to pay a Day Use fee and commit to a Big sur experience.
Community Association of Big Sur, Butch Kronlund. ED:·     Efforts to gather data on impacts of illegal activities (Roadside camping, illegal campfires) continue. CABS is working on creating an interactive application that will simplify the data collection process. ·     Illegal camping along Highway 1 from Mal Paso Bridge to the SLO County line, Saturday night, shows a total of 115 car, truck, trailer, van and RV campers.

Notice to Big Sur Community from Big Sur Health Center

The Big Sur Health Center is committed to keeping the Big Sur community safe, especially during these challenging times with the COVID-19 crisis.
Now that the virus has been identified in Big Sur, we have received several reports of unkind behavior when someone has become infected. It is natural to feel some anxiety, but there is no need for panic.
It has been reported that employees are angry that the employer won’t reveal who the positive person is and they are afraid they might have been infected. This is a natural reaction when facing the unknown that holds such significant consequences.
At the health center, we have stressed to each concerned person that the businesses are taking all recommended precautions and following appropriate protocols to ensure everyone’s safety.
We are asking the business community to help us disseminate this information and help quell the panic that seems to be growing. We know you are required to send a notice to all employees as soon as someone has been identified as positive and we would like to suggest that the notice include the following:
1) Acknowledge that you are required to send a notice to ALL employees whether or not they are at risk for close contact.
2) State that you are REQUIRED to withhold the name of the infected person to protect their privacy.
3) Advise that all persons that meet the threshold for close contact have been identified, sent for testing, and told they must quarantine.  If you were NOT notified that you are a contact, you most likely are not at risk and do not need to be concerned.
4) Include some statement emphasizing that the positive person is not at fault. Contacts should be advised to adhere to the policy of protecting privacy. The infected person is already stressed with their own uncertain outcome and deserve to be treated with respect, kindness and understanding.  
Big Sur has always risen to the occasion during a crisis and gone way beyond the call of duty to help neighbors.  This should be no different.  We are in this together.

Fire in See Canyon, SLO

2:15 pm — it looks like the two tankers and AA were able to get a handle on it fast. Not contained, but not running away from them.

From chp website:

Detail Information
1:31 PM15[33] [Notification] [CHP]-CORDS LL ETA 10 [Shared]
1:28 PM14[32] [Notification] [CHP]-1039 CORDS WILL RECALL W/ ETA [Shared]
12:30 PM8[19] [Appended, 12:31:54] [2] TRANS CAL FIRE
12:30 PM7[18] [Appended, 12:31:54] [1] CAN SEE SMOKE OVER THE HILL
12:28 PM6[15] [Appended, 12:28:49] [2] TRANS CAL FIRE

Veg Fire Sleepy Hollow & CVR

Looks like they hit this hard and fast and are saying the forward movement is stopped.

Incident: 00270 Type: Report of Fire Location: 32835 CRG16 Loc Desc:   Lat/Lon: 36.459483 -121.707956 

Detail Information
4:20 PM7[31] [Appended, 16:21:13] [1] SEES SMOKE
4:10 PM6[15] [Appended, 16:10:16] [1] TRANS TO MONT COM
4:05 PM4[8] [Appended, 16:06:10] [1] RP SEES SMOKE F/HER RES
4:04 PM3[5] [Appended, 16:05:29] [1] BY SLEEPY HOLLOW RD ON CVR
4:01 PM1[3] REP A FIRE

COVID Community Meeting Notes

COVID-19 Community Response Group Meeting Notes

July 15, 2020

Attendees (via Zoom):

20th Congressional District, State Senate District 17, 30th Assembly District, Cal State Parks, US Forest Service, 5th District Supervisor, Parks Management Company, Ventana Wilderness Alliance, Big Sur Chamber of Commerce, Big Sur Health Center, Esalen Institute, Big Sur Fire, Big Sur CERT, and the Community Association of Big Sur 

Big Sur Chamber of Commerce reports:

  • Kirk Gafill notes, Ca. has resumed restrictions on indoor business activities, affecting Big Sur as well, with no clear guidance as to the duration of restrictions. (no sunset) 
  • This has hit the local Hospitality industry hard resulting in reduced income to employees. The Summer season contains key months for local Hospitality, with 40% plus of yearly revenue and 60% plus of profit for the year during that period. 
  • Diana Ballantyne observed that it has been 4 years (2016) since there has been an uninterrupted year of business activity.

Big Sur Health Center:

Executive Director Sharen Carey reports for the Big Sur Health Center:

Executive Director Sharen Carey reports for the Big Sur Health Center:

  • 6 individuals who work in Big Sur have tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Of the 6, no hospitalizations. All are in self quarantine, at home.
  • 218 people tested, 27 of which were symptomatic.
  • Test results are unreliable.  A person can test negative and actually be infected.  An infected person can remain positive for weeks (after recovery) and yet no longer be contagious.
  • Test result turn-around times currently vary widely, from 3 to 10 days, due to increased numbers of individuals getting tested and labs being overwhelmed.
  • Recent findings indicate the virus is communicable via airborne droplets from normal breathing remaining in the air, not just through coughing or sneezing. Mask wearing is critical in stopping the spread of COVID-19 both inside and outside.
  • Recent data is also showing that those who have had the virus and have recovered, may not have long lasting immunity from contracting illness a second time.  Patients who recover may develop antibodies that disappear after a few weeks.

**New post-meeting information:  We learned at a 5:00 zoom meeting with Monterey County that all testing sites, including Big Sur Health Center, will be asked to follow new state guidelines and prioritize persons for testing due to the current high impacts on laboratories.  Close contacts of positive persons are of high priority.  In order to help us prioritize appointments, we are asking: If an employer has requested an employee to be tested please have your HR department FIRST notify BSHC with the name and why (ie contact or employment need, etc).

USFS, LPNF Monterey District, Tom Murphey sitting in for Ranger Tim Short:

  • There is 1 confirmed C-19 case on the Monterey District of the LPNF. This individual was in close enough proximity to potentially expose 28 other personnel.  All are now in self quarantine.
  • Sarah offered that there may be County help to support temporary housing for those in quarantine. (Motel stay)
  • District Office in King City is under lock down for 7 days.
  • Goleta Fire personnel will be providing back up cover.

Fifth District Supervisor. Sarah Hardgrave for Supervisor Mary Adams reports.

  • Sarah shared her screen with meeting attendees, highlighting the County website:

(COVID-19 | Monterey County, CA) displaying data that is driving the State and County response to the pandemic.

  • These charts reveal that Monterey County is exceeding the allowable incidence of positive cases per 100k of residents as well as positive cases in skilled nursing homes.
  • On the bright side, supplies of PPE, hospital capacity and ability to contact trace are all good.

Ca. State Parks, Monterey District, Big Sur Sector Superintendent Marcos Ortega:

  • Campground and all Day Use Areas are open, with Parks much busier on the weekends.
  • Lodge is also open and business is good there as well.
  • Marcos, Nate Koontz (PMC) and Butch Kronlund (CABS) to meet next week to discuss contingency planning for unexpected mandates to open or close Parks and the Forest.

Parks Management Company, Nathan Koontz reports:

  • All properties PMC manages on the Monterey District not as busy as expected.

Big Sur Fire, Chief Matt Harris reports:

  • Last weekend was very busy for BSF. 
  • 2 more cliff rescues but thankfully no wildfires.
  • BSF was only able to provide one patrol on Saturday afternoon/evening and encountered 1 campfire that crews extinguished and made numerous contacts with campers.
  • 2 more weeks left of fire academy training.

Community Emergency Response Team, Martha Karstens:.

  • Unable to attend. 

Ventana Wilderness Alliance, Mike Splain, ED: 

  • 7 VWA Trail Crew & Ranger volunteers contributed 98 hours on 2 coast-side trail patrols. Volunteers conducted brushing & tread-work, contacted 42 visitors, packed out 25 pounds of trash, dismantled 4 user-created fire rings, replenished “no campfire” signage, & installed a backcountry toilet at Estrella Camp.
  • The Scantron machine (to be used for tallying self-registration Wilderness Permit data) arrived at the Big Sur MAF today (7/15/20). The permit form is finalized & 100,000 copies have been ordered.

Esalen Institute. Lacy Shannon:

  • Unable to attend.

17th State Senate District, Colleen Courtney for Senator Bill Monning reports:

  • Unable to attend.

20th Congressional District, Katie Moon and Phil Deppert on behalf of Congressman Jimmy Panetta.

  • Phil, Katie and Butch to install a display of the proposed wind farm off the coast of Big Sur at the MAF next week.
  • Federal PPP to end August 8th and $600 Federal supplement to State UI ends July 31st.
  • Congressional office available to help with SBA loans.
  • International students may now stay in the US to take online courses until schools reopen.
  • Panetta is working to reverse benefit cuts to the Cal Fresh program.

Monterey County Sheriff Department, Deputy Villasenor:

  • Unable to call in.

Community Association of Big Sur, Butch Kronlund. ED:

  • Efforts to gather data on impacts of illegal activities (Roadside camping, illegal campfires) continue.
  • Illegal camping along Highway 1 from Mal Paso Bridge to the SLO County line, over Friday and Saturday night, shows a total of 212 car, truck, trailer, van and RV campers.  .
  • These numbers reflect a consistent disregard for the County ordinance against this activity.

Coyote Fire, San Benito Co. 7/15/20

4:30 pm — I need to separate this one out from the other one as it will go extended and is already grabbing resources from other areas due to structure and lives threats. Evacuations are in progress.

CoyoteFire (San Benito Co) – IC reports 30-50 structures immediately threatened, another 100 will be threatened in the next 12 hours or so. High tension powerlines also in the area.