July 2, 2008

The Basin Fire started 11 days before this date one year ago today. One year ago, today, Highway One was closed due to the fire. Today, I start a retrospective for the next few days.

Today’s story and photo is by Dave Egbert, of http://www.firesafegardens.com, a BSVFB member:

That morning, I had hung out the Flag as I always do each July. Then I left Big Sur for SF to do an appearance on KGO’s View from the Bay, ironically talking about fire safe plants and my experiences as a firefighter. While I was gone, the fire met several “trigger” points in the gorge and atop Mt. Manuel. I was on my way home when I got the news that the highway was being closed at 7pm.
When I rounded the corner at the lighthouse, I saw the extent of the fire. Pico Blanco was fully ablaze and other fires were working down the Golden Staircase in Molera. Heavy smokes spouted from Cielo Prieto and Mt. Manuel. I was the only truck heading south and was waved by from CHP and Sheriff. When I reached Front Hill, the last residents were scrambling off the hill wild eyed and dusty.
I was scattered and alone on the ranch.
The dogs paced and fussed and the smoke was dropping down with the sunset. I went out on the atv to scope the now nearly empty ridges. I shot this photo of the house with the flag moving slowly in the sunset. The house looked so vulnerable, unable to stop the angry orange smoke.