Campfire left unattended…

Brendon shot a video this last weekend. Unfortunately, it is shot sidewise, and there is a black out section when he put the camera down, and lots of f**ks, but he found an unattended campfire.  He was on his way down to the coast, and was down there about 4 hours. When he came back, these campers were just returning, and one of the guys completely denied that they left a burning campfire unattended, but did admit he didn’t touch it. I wish he had gotten a video of them coming back to their campsite.

Look at the smoke coming off that fire as Brendon uses their water to put out their fire. There wasn’t enough water, so he went to another camper to grab more water. Completely unattended for 4 hours. Un-f***ing-real.

Summer unofficially kicks off this Memorial Day weekend. Be extra vigilant. Be polite but firm, unless it involves fire. Then you have permission to get in their face.


Guests who don’t know better

These two shots were taken yesterday by Tony Shelfo. He stopped and talked to the one couple. Yes,  that is the spot of the Fergusson Fire last week. And yes, they were setting up camp on a road upon which camping is not allowed. On the other, we need to send ALL smokers to the military where they will be taught to field stip their cigarette butts and pocket the filters.



It is a very difficult situation. We – those of us who live here – have been on high alert for fires, floods, road closures, etc. for coming up on a year. Temperatures are unbelievable (90 inside my house as I type this at 8 pm last night) and tempers always flare with the heat. It is exhausting to live in this state, worried about the next careless, clueless, or uncaring visitor to come along. Just planning and executing a town run for supplies is exhausting. Add to it, the tension of knowing our world is basically “cut off” and yet visitors are coming here thinking that the rules or even that the need for rules does not apply to them. There is a complete and utter disconnect between some of our visitors and any consciousness at all as to what we have been thru and what we are going through. It is hard, if not impossible, to welcome visitors right now. We are too fragile, the land is too fragile, and our visitors are so uncaring in the general.

Some of you will read this and will honor what I have written and will trod gently and be mindful. Others will come here in a big truck pulling an even bigger trailer going down Nacimiento putting others and yourself in danger, as Tony experienced yesterday,  completely careless, clueless, and uncaring, about anyone but yourself. The sad thing is, you will not even be aware of what you are doing, and why we won’t welcome you. I can only hope you don’t damage us, this land, or even yourself. May Big Sur work its spiritual magic on you causing you to WAKE UP from your mindless sleep before you further damage her.

Campers with Campfire

Sunday morning, I went down the mountain to the coast to get my mail and saw people having a campfire. I didn’t think to get a photo of the campfire as I was completely flummoxed. I did report them to the USFS, as I found several at the station. So, on the way home, glad to see the campfire was out, I got photos.


They drove by this sign just about 100 yards before the area where they made camp. (Sorry for the dirty windshield, but that’s what happens out here.)


These were the two vehicles. Look at all that dry grass.


This shows their tents, the wood they had gathered for their fire, in the branch out in front of the orange ten, and the campfire was right on the other side of that large log, dragged out presumably to sit on. Again, note all that dry grass around their campsite.


This shows a whole lot of trash, which to their credit they did pack up and take with them, I am told. The two guys are watching me photograph them, and the two gals are to the right of them, shown in the next photo. Again, lots of dry grass.


Not wanting to be photographed, it would appear. Now these campers were polite and did put out their fire when I pointed out the error of their ways, and they did clean up their trash. But I still can’t understand why they felt it was okay to have a campfire when it was so hot and they were camped in the grass – regardless of the sign. I vow to have a dialogue the next time so I can understand the mentality, and maybe find a way to change that.

Fascinating Reading on Big Sur Land Use by the Los Padres Nation Forest, 1977

It is quite the lengthy document, which can be found here: Los Padres Big Sur Land Use If this link does not work for you, google it. Google books has digitalized it, and for those with iPhones or iPads, we can save to our “iBooks.” For those of you who use the devil’s spawn (just kidding, sorta) I have no clue. But to give you a taste on the topics we have been discussing, here are a couple of paragraphs: (remember this was prepared FORTY YEARS AGO!):


Reminder regarding Overuse and Loving Big Sur to death

Yesterday, I went down the hill. I saw vehicles and campers everywhere, off-road, cutting through fences and installed barriers to get where they wanted to go. And when I came home, most of them were gone, leaving large amounts of tp and trash behind. image

I just want to take this opportunity to remind all that I have created two separate pages, where I am collecting photographs Loving Big Sur to death and data and suggestions on the Overuse of Big Sur Page. I add to both of these several times a week, usually. Some of you are checking these regularly, others seem to have forgotten. The discussion continues and gains momentum on social media sites.  Per readers, these links do not work (and I cannot figure out why – they work for me!) but don’t despair – these same links are up above in the “Info” post and to the right under pages. Those DO work!

Goal of zero human caused wildfires?

Sounds impossible? It is not. My friend, Barbara Sparhawk found one USFS Ranger District which has achieved this goal. The leading cause of human fires is abandoned campfires, which have seen a tremendous increase down here on the South Coast.


“Over the last three years, we have had a specific, written goal of reducing human-caused wildfires on the district to zero for an entire calendar year,” said Quentin Johnson, fire management officer for the Tusayan Ranger District. “Given that the district receives millions of visitors each year because it is located immediately adjacent to Grand Canyon National Park, we knew this would be an incredible challenge.”


The district’s success in 2014 was due largely to focused fire prevention efforts beginning almost 15 years ago that have chipped away at the leading cause of human fires on the district – abandoned campfires. Specifically, district fire prevention specialist Bob Blasi worked to gain compliance in dispersed camping areas and issued citations when necessary. With increased early-morning patrols, an extensive signing program, visits to local schools, Smokey Bear’s presence at local events, and a consistent prevention message for more than a decade, Blasi was able to systematically reduce the number of abandoned campfires and, therefore, the overall number of human-caused wildfires.


“Because of the support of fire managers, Kaibab National Forest leadership, the community and public, we have been able to go beyond just re-introducing fire into the ecosystem, to take it to the next level and demonstrate how when fire is managed responsibly, it becomes an integral part of obtaining desired forest health,” Blasi said. “This is the proof in the pudding. The more fire treatments we are able to successfully implement, the better chance we have of reducing and ultimately eliminating unwanted human-caused fire in our part of the forest.”

While focused fire prevention efforts have decreased the number of abandoned campfires in the Tusayan area, the challenge of eliminating all human-caused fires will continue. Each fire season brings a unique set of challenges including millions of new visitors to a popular tourist destination.

“If I were to designate one goal for the future, it would be that this record never last 50 years again,” Blasi said. “Eliminating human-caused fires is attainable through education, prevention and good stewardship.”

Monday Morning’s illegal campfire list

Much more ticketing, educating, and anguish for today. When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn? (Peter, Paul, and Mary – Where have all the flowers gone?)



17 illegal campfires on the South Coast Sunday morning

I just don’t understand this … It is hotter than Darwin, as dry as the Mojave and people are having campfires? What is wrong with people?? And people wonder why those of us who live here don’t want any dispersed camping? Being constantly on edge that someone is going to “accidentally” burn us out is nerve wracking. This is absolutely nuts. I give up. We can’t educate those who don’t want to be, and they WAY out number the ones who do.


Kudos & Thanks to our USFS personnel

I just went on WildCAD to check on things and saw that our local people were patrolling after dark last night and managed to find SEVENTEEN illegal campfires – four on Plaskett, and the rest on Nacimiento RD., South Coast Ridge RD. And Prewitt camp. Since campfires are now banned, if they gave out 17 tickets at $5000/each, that is $85,000 worth. It would probably fund two firefighters for a year, if we could keep the money. Regardless, that is 17 potential wildfires that were caught before they became an inferno, and this even with the Sherpa raging in the southern portion of the LPNF. Bob Baird, Forest Supervisor, Tim Short, District Ranger, Chip Laugharn, Asst Dist Fire Management, and our pals at PV and Nacimiento Stations, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I look forward to reading tonight’s statistics. I tried to copy and paste the data, but no go. Go to WildCAD-LPNF to view for yourself.

Fire Restrictions


Los Padres National Forest
For Immediate Release
Contact: Andrew Madsen (805) 961-5759
Twitter: @LosPadresNF

Fire Restrictions Take Effect in Los Padres National Forest

GOLETA, CA, June 13, 2016…Due to extremely dry vegetation and an increasing fire danger, Los Padres National Forest officials announced that Level III fire restrictions will go into effect beginning tomorrow, June 14, 2016. The following restrictions will be rigorously enforced until this Forest Order expires:

Wood and charcoal fires are prohibited in all areas of Los Padres National Forest except for designated Campfire Use sites; however persons with a valid California Campfire Permit are allowed to use portable stoves and lanterns using gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel outside of designated Campfire Use Sites. California Campfire Permits are available for free download from the Los Padres National Forest website ( You must clear all flammable material for a distance of 10 feet in all directions from your camp stove, have a shovel available, and ensure that a responsible person attends the stove at all times when it is in use.

Recreational target shooting is prohibited in all areas of the National Forest unless specifically authorized by a special use permit with the Forest.

Hunting with a valid State of California hunting license during open hunting season is exempt from this restriction.

Smoking is prohibited in all areas of the national forest except within an enclosed vehicle, building, or designated Campfire Use Site.

Operating or using any internal or external combustion engine without a spark arresting device properly installed, maintained and in effective working order on roads and trails specifically designated for such use. (This restriction is in effect year-round.)

A list of designated Campfire Use Sites is attached. For further information regarding current conditions and safety tips, contact your nearest Forest Service office or visit the Los Padres National Forest website at

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.