Remembering the Gorda-Rat Creek Fire, Pt. 2

(Continued from last Saturday…)

“I can’t remember all of those that helped in the following days but Greg Byrne and his son Airic, TJ, JC, Jim Cook, PB Rivers, Tall Cliff Anderson, Rob Stonecipher, Saj all come to mind. We didn’t have much as far as tools at first, just a few chain saws and weedeater besides the 125 gallons of water, pump and a couple of hundred feet of 1″ hose. A fire camp was set up at Sand Dollar and the Pacific Valley School was serving meals. I was having lunch with Greg Byrne when his son came up to us and said,” Hey guys, I talked to a fireman across the street and he said we could check out anything we needed to fight fire”.—Airic was 10 or 12 years of age but we decided to check it out.——We went over and acted like we did this all the time, identifying ourselves as the South Coast Volunteers and proceeded to make out a wish list. Everything we asked for was available and given to us on the spot with only a signature required. Little Airic had earned our respect for sure!

We went up to MJ’s place on top of Willow and joined with the Texas Hot Shots who were down in Spruce trying to keep the fire from crossing to the North side.  Our folks and their’s combined to make a successful stop with the Borate bomber dropping its load on us two different times. We came out of Spruce, colored with the fire retardant and felt like heroes! Up at MJ’s there were three full size city fire trucks in the yard. The hot shots had told us they could now hold the creek bed and we should all go take a well deserved break. We agreed and went over to Dave and Mariska Harris’s place for a hot meal, showers and some cold beer.—-I woke up at dawn and jumped on my motorcycle and went over to MJ’s place. The smoke was so thick you couldn’t see but 20 to 30 yards. When I got to the yard and I saw that the fire trucks were gone, in fact the yard was empty. I started down the road to the pool and ran into a wall of flame coming up the hill. I raced back to MJ’s and woke him up (he had taken a couple of sleeping pills the night before) yelling that the fire was coming, and quick!!   I drove back to David’s and woke everyone and soon we were out in the woods trying to establish a fire line below MJ’s without even having our first cup of coffee. The terrain was not too steep and was covered in good size pine and smaller madrone and manzanita. We started dropping pines with no sense of order and would probably have gotten someone hurt when we heard the clank clank of a big tracked machine coming our way.   A D-9 came to our rescue and pushed those little pines over creating a fire line that would have taken us hours, in a matter of minutes.—–We found out later that the Rat fire had Blown Up in the middle of the night and our Forest Service and Fire Fighter guys had been pulled off the Gorda fire to go fight the Rat. I also learned that the individual fire fighter might as well be in the Army in the fact that they have to obey orders from their superiors leading me to never trust what they might say, no matter how much they might mean it! —-No shame, no blame,—just the way it is!” (To be continued next Saturday…)


Big Sur River Run

A quick reminder that tomorrow morning is the Big Sur River Run

Race day registration is from 8:00 to 9:30 am and we still have room for plenty of runners and walkers. Bring cash or check and the fees are 10k adult- $45 5k adult- $35 and children under 12 are $20 for either. See you there- gonna be a super nice day!

Join us on October 26th, 2013 for the 33nd Annual Big Sur River Run! This 5K/10K race follows a beautiful loop course alongside the Big Sur River through towering redwood trees and oak groves. Register online: (online registration is now closed but there is plenty room and you can register on race day)

October 26, 2013 at 10:00 am sharp
Start line is in the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.

This race has been a fun community-oriented fundraiser for the Big Sur Volunteer Brigade and Health Center for 32 years. The 5K/10K is limited to 1,000 participants, so register online early.

Registration fee includes a long-sleeve t-shirt.

See website for additional race information and description of prizes.

Burn Permits Notice

IMPORTANT: Backyard burn permits are required for this burn season. Burning is allowed ONLY on Permissive Burn Days. The Permit holder MUST call 1-800-225-2876, or visit the Air Resources Board to find out if it is a permissive burn day.

Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade coverage area

Residential Burn Permits

Beginning with the “Backyard Burn” season starting on December 1, 2012 as regulated by the Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District, the Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade now requires a permit for burning yard trimmings on residential property within the response area of the Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade. Burning on residential property requires a permit from either the local fire department or the Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District. In order to properly manage and monitor residential burning within the Big Sur community at the local level, burn permits are now required from the Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade.

Permits for burning on residential property within the response area of the Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade are valid for the entire burn season which begins on December 1st of each year and ends on April 30th of the following year. Each new burn season requires a new burn permit. There is no fee for the burn permit. Burn Permits may be obtained at our web site or by calling the Brigade at 831-667-2113 or email to

The Residential Burn Permit is for burning yard trimmings only on residential property in accordance with the terms and conditions as outlined in the burn permit. Any violations of the terms and conditions of the permit may be cause for the permit being revoked. A burn permit for recreational fires or barbeques is not required. Information on “backyard burning” can be found at the MBUAPCD website at: by clicking on the “Burn Permits” tab.

All data collected stays with the local Brigade and is used to know where burns take place in case of smoke reports.

Mid-Coast Fire Brigade coverage area

Permits Now Required For Backyard Burn Season – Free From Fire Brigade

Burn season will begin December 1st, 2012 and there is a major change, The Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District is now requiring that those who burn in our area of responsibility obtain a free burn permit through the Mid-Coast Fire Brigade. Those without permits are subject to steep fines from the MBUAPCD.

Please understand that the Fire Brigade is in no way responsible for this new requirement. Apply Online For Backyard Burn Permit. For those without Internet access who wish to obtain a burn permit, please call the Fire Brigade at 831-625-8175. If you have questions, please email the Fire Brigade for more information. See burn guidelines at our web site:

Upcoming Events

Lots going on in the month of May. The Henry Miller Library schedule for May is posted on the Announcements Page, including the Big BIG Sur Fashion Show this Thursday, the 13th.

Don’t forget the Annual BSVFB Muster coming up this Saturday, May 15th, at the State Park.

I’m sure I’ve missed something, and will add it here and/or on the announcement page when I find out what it is.

Later today, or tomorrow, I will post some photos of the Pitkins Curve/Rain Rocks project as could only be obtained by Cal-Trans … or Rock Knocker!

Fire Safety

On the morning of September 18th, an unattended, still smoldering campfire was found in a meadow in Sycamore Canyon. Due to the efforts of local residents and members of the Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade, the incident did not cause a wildfire and became, instead, a simple reminder that we must all be extra vigilant during these last dry months before the rains dampen the extreme fire danger we face. We have a very hot, dry week ahead of us, so let us be exceedingly cautious. The months of September and October have seen many wildfires over the years. Living in the wildland as we do carries responsibilities for all of us.

BSVFB Muster Photos

I’m sitting in cool, wonderful Morro Bay, where not only is it cool, but the internet is SOO much faster. I remembered I owed you some muster photos, so without further ado … (no comments, or names, just photos. Okay, a few silly comments.)

Okay, so the internet is only a little faster, and I don’t have time to load a whole bunch, so a few more now, and a few more later.

And no editing on any of these. What you see is what you get. Some of us have to work for a living.

We all know this guy, don’t we? He’s the guy behind our new fire chief.
And here’s to the woman behind our retiring chief (not the one above, he’s got another fabulous woman behind him!)

There she is, on the left.

And food. Did I mention the food? Lots and lots of food.

The man of the hour — giving an interview.

That’s the line for the food. A long, l-o-n-g line. There were lots of us.

And what’s a muster, without some mustering?

Go to it, boys!!

I’ve got lots more photos, but I rarely seem to get around to Round 2. There are always other things to report, other photos to take. But I’ll try. No promises, but I’ll try.

A group shot I meant to include. Photographers shooting photographers, again.

Those of you who know me, know I am a hat lady. I cannot resist a good hat, or a photo of it.
And red hats are my favorites!

I shot in both jpg and raw. Those close-ups of people in jpg were too saturated, and the skin tones not right, so I posted the raw ones. Of groups or the muster, the saturation was just about right, so I used the jpg ones. You can tell the differences. As I said, these are straight out of the camera, I didn’t have time for editing, and one can tell. I am always learning.