Soberanes Fire, Day 30, 8/20/16 – Local Reports

3:30 pm – the Chimney Fire has blown up and is threatening the Castle on the West, and the Southern Boundary of FHL on the East. It is spotting up to  a mile or more away. All of my energies are directed there right now, while I have my head on a swivel, but the really dark stuff is SE of me. For info, go to the Chimney Fire post, below this one

8:45 am – an interesting press release from the USFS this am, with more location specific information. I hope this is what we will get each morning.

Soberanes Fire
Los Padres National Forest Service
August 20, 2016
Fire Information Phone (831)204-0446
Media Line: (831)484-9647

Incident: The Soberanes Fire was started by an Illegal campfire on the morning of July 22, 2016, in the Garrapta State Park. The fire is burning in areas of previous large fires including the Basin Complex in 2008 and the Marble-Cone Fire in 1977.
Location: Los Padres National Forest, Ventana Wilderness, Monterey County, CA
Agency Jurisdiction: CAL FIRE San Benito-Monterey Unit/Los Padres National Forest
Additional Cooperating and Assisting Organizations: CA State Parks and Recreation, CHP, CAL-OES, CDCR, CA National Guard, Big Sur Land Trust, CAL-TRANS, CCC, CA Fish & Wildlife, Coast Property Owners Association (CPOA), Community Foundation for Monterey County, BLM, American Red Cross, the County of Monterey, PG&E, Carmel Highlands F.P.D., Monterey County Regional Fire Protection District, Mid Coast Volunteer Fire Brigade, Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade and the Cachagua Fire Protection District.

Current Size: 83,830 acres (46,636 CA-LPF, 37,194 CAL FIRE,) Containment: 60% Cause: Illegal campfire
Injuries: 1 fatality, 3 injuries Structures Destroyed: 57 homes, 11 outbuildings Structures Threatened: 410
Current Resources: Crews: 48 Engines: 65 Helicopters: 13 Dozers: 32 Water Tenders: 50
Total Personnel: 2500

The Soberanes Fire remains in unified command with CAL FIRE San Benito-Monterey Unit and the USDA Forest Service.

Current Situation: The Soberanes Fire has increased 2,434 acres, with most growth occurring between Double Cone and Uncle Sam Mountain. Firefighters continue their efforts building and improving existing control lines spanning from the Los Padres Reservoir to Chews Ridge. Due to inaccessibility along most of the fire’s east side, some crews have been temporarily spiked (camping near the fire front) out, scouting for options for direct line to restrict fire spread where possible.

East of Big Sur, the fire has burned toward Logwood Ridge where the fire continues to be the most active, though growth remains minimal in this area. Gusty afternoon north to northwest winds along with poor overnight humidity recovery, keeps the fire dynamic in the Sur Zone. Crews are working around the clock operations in this zone. Burning operations are only utilized during the day shift and when conditions are favorable. Aviation resources are assisting with keeping the fire in check.
There has been no active fire in the north for several days though interior heat still remains. Crews continue suppression repair work. Patriot Camp in Greenfield has been demobilized as of Friday, August 19.

Wilderness Tactics: To reduce the impacts associated with fire suppression activities in wilderness areas, crews continue using MIST (Minimum Impact Suppression Tactics) as much as possible. The steep and rugged terrain of the Ventana Wilderness is inherently treacherous to firefighters. Most direct fireline is being constructed near the perimeter in areas that have been pretreated and supported by aircraft.

Anyone with information regarding the cause of the Soberanes Fire is asked to call the CAL FIRE Tip Line at: (800) 468-4408.

US Forest Service Road and Trail Closures: A forest closure order has been implemented to close the trails and roads within the Los Padres National Forest, Monterey Ranger District pursuant to USC 551 and 36 CFR 261.50(a). The order prohibits going into or being upon National Forest System lands within the Soberanes Fire area. The Arroyo Seco Campground and Day Use Area is closed. For a complete list of closures please visit:

California State Park Closures: All California State Parks from Garrapata State Park through Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park are closed until further notice; this includes Point Sur State Historic Park (Lighthouse), Andrew Molera State Park, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park Campground and Day Use.

Evacuation Orders: An evacuation ORDER remains in effect for Coast Ridge Rd. from mile marker 1.5 to Marble Peak at the end of the road.

Evacuation Warnings: Evacuation WARNINGS remain in effect for the east side of HWY 1 from Andrew Molera Park to Coast Ridge Rd at the Ventana Inn. This area includes the Ventana Inn and Coast Ridge Rd to mile marker 1.5. A WARNING remains for Tassajara Road from Carmel Valley Road to the Tassajara Hot Springs Zen Center. This area includes all roads that lead from the above described roads.

Donations: Local relief efforts have been provided by the Coast Property Owners Association (CPOA) and the Community Foundation for Monterey County have provided to the fire victims of the Sobranes
Fire. Donations can be made to the CPOA at Coast Property Owners Association, PO Box 59, Big Sur, CA 93920 and the Community Foundation for Monterey County 2354 Garden Road, Monterey, CA 93940 (831)375-9712.

The American Red Cross is very grateful for the offers of assistance, but at this time we are not able to accept in-kind donations such as food and clothing. If people have questions about in-kind donations related to the Soberanes Fire, they should contact, which is a local web site that matches people who have supplies and other in-kind donations with people who have those same needs. To list an item that could be donated or to list a need, individuals are asked to submit that information on the organization’s web The organization’s phone number is 831-649-3050. People can help those affected by disasters by making a gift to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. These donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to, and help people recover from disasters big and small. To donate, people can visit, call 800-RED CROSS (800-733-2767), or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

The American Red Cross Resource Center is open 10 am to 3 pm at 8th Ave. at Dolores St. SE, Carmel (831) 626-5256 thru Fri., August 19th. For any unmet disaster related needs please call our 24 hour hotline at 1.866.272.2237.

(In future postings of this media release,  I will be removing donations info to keep the post a bit shorter.)

This electronic message contains information generated by the USDA solely for the intended recipients. Any unauthorized interception of this message or the use or disclosure of the information it contains may violate the law and subject the violator to civil or criminal penalties. If you believe you have received this message in error, please notify the sender and delete the email immediately.

7:00 am – Today, more firing out operations behind Partington Ridge can be expected. It is anticipated that this may be the last such needed in this area,  as the fire makes its way south, away from populated areas. I am expecting a report later on today from a local who will be going to have a look at the operations to see how things are progressing.

As this fire enters its second month, it is burning away from the occupied areas and into the wilderness areas. While daily … And throughout the day … reporting has been helpful to all of us to find out what was going on with the fire with the wonderful first hand accounts of those who had eyes and cameras on it; as well as the maps and links that Lucas Ryan provided all of us for almost 3 weeks now; as the fire winds down, so does the need for the constant reporting. I will probably start a new format tomorrow, of a single post for several days, as I have been doing for the Chimney Fire. I will include the links to the maps, and perhaps the IR map, if available. If warranted, Lucas and I are ready to come back in with full reporting, but I don’t anticipate that being necessary.

My personal gratitude goes out to all the firefighters and support personnel who took this community into its collective heart, and protected us so well. We are still here for you, and will be until you go on to your next assignment or home. Kathleen Lee, of Dave Potter’s Office has gone so far above and beyond any duty she has felt to help communications between the Command Structure and the Local Communityk, it is hard to find the words which express that thankfulness. We are so thankful for her sweet caring. To all of you in this community who shared stories, photos, help, strength, and support; we are like no other. We are blessed to be here, and because of the hardships, we are stronger and closer to one another – not just Big Sur, but Cachagua as well. And finally, to Lucas, who came in on Day 8 of the fire to help me in the background and then only 2 days later, jumping in to create the maps post for me by obtaining (and making them look good) the maps that were essential to understanding the progress of the fire. Your assistance was invaluable to me. Thank you.

The fire is not over, nor is my coverage of it, but the need for the constant coverage has lessened, and we will all start to go back to whatever routine or lives we can rebuild from the venture we have endured. It has my honor and privilege to be a part of such a wonderful collaboration of efforts – the dream I had for this blog when I started – in the blessings of this unique, loving, and strong community.

And to top it off: