Paul’s Slide Opens today

•July 18, 2017 • 7 Comments


Paul’s Slide (PM 21.6)
Paul’s Slide reopens this morning at 9 am to the public 24/7, with one-way reversing traffic control with flaggers; which means a lane of travel is open 24/7.


Fire near Parkfield – Park Fire, Garza Branch II

•July 17, 2017 • 1 Comment

7 pm – 900 acres.

3:30 pm – 250-300 acres about to enter into Monterrey County. They have designated this the Garza, Branch II fire, for now. Oops, back to Park until the new team takes over the Garza.


It is on the Fresno side. They are pulling resources off the Garza Fire and sending them to this one. “Per IC 75 Ares Still Dangerous Rate Of Spread.” Fire will be moving into Monterey County. Also will impact structures in parkfeild proper. 4319 heading into parkfeild proper to set up for structure defense.


Watch Nacimiento Rd. Crumble

•July 16, 2017 • 8 Comments

Last week, I sat at the turn out on the west side of the tiny bridge while a caravan of 16 tractor trailer rigs crossed the bridge. I noted that all 16 of them had their entire weight on the bridge at one time. I have photos. This is what it is doing to the road itself. Believe it or not, these 13 are just SOME of the problem areas. Going to be a lot of work to fix this.


I am grouping them into batches of 4 for your convenience. They are rather boring, but must be shown and preserved so that when this road says “no more” I have documentation I have been talking about this for MONTHS. And making suggestions on how to lessen the impact, but people are getting impatient, businesses want to bring in their big bucks and to be semi-normal, and tourists are clamoring to come in, so this “life-line” is just a minor detail that apparently will be addressed eventually, but seeing how things get done around here, won’t be addressed until it is beyond critical.


These were all taken on Friday, July 14th, 2017. Note in particular in the two smaller ones above, the pavement is completely gone in spots.

Vehicles need to be moved

•July 15, 2017 • 4 Comments

Can you help get the word out….

These vehicles are parked too close to the job. Need to move by Wednesday or tickets / towing will ensue.
No parking signs will be installed Monday.


Camp Rescue

•July 15, 2017 • 6 Comments

July 14, 2017

First Responders Discuss Circle V Ranch Camp Rescue

Goleta, CA – Today, following an update on the Whittier Fire, some of the first responders who were involved in the widely publicized Circle V Ranch Camp rescue on July 8, 2017 were present to provide more details of the incident. This press conference provided additional facts and insight into the coordinated effort involving the multiple agencies who rescued 82 campers, counselors and staff members who were trapped by the fire at the Circle V Ranch Camp.

Speakers included U.S. Forest Service Incident Commander Mark Von Tillow, Santa Barbara County Fire Division Chief Steve Oaks, Sheriff’s Sergeant Neil Gowing, U.S. Forest Service Patrolman Dave Dahlberg, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team Incident Commander Nelson Trichler and the Executive Director for St. Vincent de Paul Circle V Ranch Camp David Fields. The group recounted the incident and provided a timeline of the incident.

At July 8, 2017 at 1:42p.m., concerned citizens reported a fire now known as the Whittier Fire to the Santa Barbara County Public Safety Dispatch Center. The fire was located near the entrance to Camp Whittier and the Cachuma Lake Recreation Area. The fire burned toward the Circle V Ranch Camp where 124 people including 88 campers, 36 adult staff members and counselors were attending a summer camp. Thirty campers and 12 staff members were able to evacuate in vehicles. Eighty-two people could not leave when a wall of flames, falling trees, rocks and debris blocked the dirt road that led to Highway 154 from the camp.

Personnel from the U.S. Forest Service, Santa Barbara County Fire Department and Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene shortly after the fire was reported and began coordinating an evacuation plan.
At 2:00 p.m. Santa Barbara County Fire Division Chief Steve Oaks, who was on scene, became the Evacuation Supervisor. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team responded to assist with the evacuations while U.S. Forest Service Patrolman Dave Dahlberg, responded to assist with traffic control in the Highway 154 – Whittier/Circle V area.

At 2:19 p.m., Dispatch received the first report that campers and staff members were unable to leave the Circle V Ranch Camp. At 2:20 p.m., Oaks and Sheriff’s Lt. Brian Olmstead began an evacuation and rescue plan.

At 2:25 p.m., Sheriff’s Deputy Brice Bruening who is assigned to the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, notified Dispatch that the Chumash Casino would send buses to help in the evacuation effort.

At 2:30 p.m., Sheriff’s Deputy Dave Wicklund drove toward the Circle V Ranch Camp up the dirt road but was not able to drive to the camp due to flames and falling debris.

At 2:45 p.m., Sheriff’s deputies in eight patrol cars, led by Sgt. Neil Gowing attempted once again to access Circle V up the dirt road. They drove up the road about one mile but when, a wall of flames engulfed the roadway, they were unable to proceed any further.

At 2:59 p.m., Dahlberg, who had trained for structure protection simulations at Circle V Ranch in the past, drove the one and one-half mile dirt road to the Circle V camp. When he arrived, he met the campers inside the dining hall area along with a handful of staff members waiting outside. Dahlberg assessed the situation and decided the safest course of action was for the campers, staff members, and counselors to shelter in place.

Santa Barbara County Firefighter Mark Linane had offloaded his bulldozer in the area of Camp Whittier to begin cutting fire lines on the fire’s edge. When he heard there were children trapped at Circle V Ranch and he turned his dozer, heading toward Circle V Ranch.

For the next two hours, Dahlberg calmed the campers and reassured them of their safety. They remained sheltered in place inside the dining room building until Linane joined Dahlberg when he reached the Circle V Ranch Camp in his dozer.

When Santa Barbara County Battalion Chief Matt Farris arrived at the Circle V Ranch he, Dahlberg and Linane began active fire suppression to minimize the impact on sheltered campers and protect the structures from encroaching flames.

At 4:30 p.m., the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team and Sheriff’s personnel staged at the Circle V Ranch entrance on Highway 154.

At 4:40 p.m., Oaks directed Olmstead to send the extraction vehicles to the camp.

At 4:48 p.m., 12 Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team members in seven Search and Rescue vehicles along with six Sheriff’s vehicles and personnel initiated the search and rescue effort up the dirt road to the Circle V Ranch Camp.

At 4:56 p.m., they arrived at the Circle V Ranch Camp and coordinated with camp staff members to assign children, counselors and staff members to the vehicles. Once everyone was safely in vehicles, the bulldozer, driven by Linane, led the caravan down the dirt road toward Highway 154. The bulldozer minimized the threat to the vehicles and cleared fallen trees and other obstacles partially blocking the roadway.

At 5:30 p.m., the caravan reached the intersection of the camp road and Highway 154. The children, counselors and staff members transferred from the caravan vehicles into two Chumash buses that shuttled them to Mission Santa Ines where they were reunited with their family members.

St. Vincent de Paul Circle V Ranch Camp Executive Director David Fields spoke at the press conference and expressed his sincere appreciation to all of the first responders.

This rescue is a great example of the cooperation among various agencies who have worked together on major incidents over the years. This working relationship has developed a great foundation that was evident during this potentially devastating situation.

DashCam Video of Santa Barbara County Sheriffs Deputies attempting to access Circle V Ranch.
One minute version:
Longer version, but shows the length of the road.

Forest Service Shield

Lee Beyer
Recreation Technician
Forest Service

Playing Tourist

•July 14, 2017 • 6 Comments

Took the day off and used the noon opening to go through Paul’s Slide and head to Nepenthe with a friend. What a lovely day. Lots of people there for lunch, but then it started thinning out. We had to stay until 5:30 for the 6 pm opening at Paul’s Slide. That was tough (joking). I got to see people I haven’t seen since before the fire!! Son came up and joined us, too, as well as a southsider friend. What a delight … and no internet all day! I had forgotten what that was like!!! And nothing important happened close to home, anyway. The Whittier Fire near Lake Cachuma and the Garza Fire in Fresno were both active. Garza made its way into Monterey County today, and there were new evacuation orders for Whittier. Back to regular programming tomorrow.

Highway One closure update, 7/14/17

•July 13, 2017 • 1 Comment


State Route 1 in Monterey County continues to be closed from north of Salmon (just south of the Ranger Station (PM 3) to Pfeiffer Canyon (PM 45.5), which is south of the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge construction site, with the exception of 10 miles (Gorda to Limekiln State Park) that is accessible only via Nacimiento-Fergusson Road.

REMINDER: travelers CANNOT go all the way on Hwy 1 but local businesses are open on both sides of the closure points at Pfeiffer Canyon and Salmon Creek.

Mud Creek (PM 8.9)
Mud Creek had a major slide on Saturday, May 20, 2017, losing 5 million cubic yards of material. Geotechnical and radar assessments continue at the site it remains impassable.

Paul’s Slide (PM 21.6)
The targeted opening for the road at Paul’s Slide is mid-July (July 15-20). Until then, access through Paul’s Slide continues with the following schedule for local residents and deliveries:

Access times for the morning and evening
Sat-Thursday: 5:30 am to 6 am and 7 pm to 7:30 pm
Friday: 5:30 am –8 am and 6 pm to 7:30 pm

12:00 noon Monday/Wednesday/Friday
A single caravan south and a single caravan north will be allowed. You must be in line by noon! There may be up to a 45-minute delay to clear the road before the opening.

Delivery vehicles (restricted to 30 feet maximum length and 50,000 lbs. maximum weight) can use all access windows shown above.

Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge [PCB] (PM 45.52)
· Steel girders continue to be fabricated in Vallejo, CA and are being sent to Linden, CA (near Stockton) for painting before being trucked to the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge construction site.
· Temporary Tower completion and welding

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