Ponderosa Fire, 8/2/09

8:30 pm – reports are that Ponderosa has reached 500 acres. Sam Jones is 600 and moving north across containment lines. Here is a last look at the Ponderosa fire tonight. This photo is not as spectacular as the plumes from earlier, but what it shows is fire in an east west Canyon, moving in both directions. This canyon is north of the McKern Rd. firebreak, which I drove on today. It is wide, and it is clear, so it would be hard for the fire to cross that. And if this canyon fire does move west, as it appears, it will run into the footprint of the Chalk Fire.


You can see the smoke all the way down the canyon, behind the trees and the bushes. It actually goes even further west, but that is not visible in the photograph. This is shot looking north north-east, so west would be off the left side.

News release just came in at 2:56 pm. See USFS page to the right for the entire missive.

2:00 pm update:Jim Smith’s Type II Incident team will be in command. You can find information about the team here: http://ccimt7.imtcenter.net/main/index.aspx

Spoke with District Ranger Tune and the press release is being prepared. At this point they are calling it 200 plus. She said when the team comes in at 1700 (Smith’s Type II IT) then it is her understanding that the Ponderosa will be put up on inciweb. I would imagine that might not happen until tomorrow morning.

WildlandFire posted this: “Per Southops: Ponderosa CA-LPF-2563, The fire has burned 250 acres with a potential to triple in size. Ponderosa and Nacimiento Campgrounds have been evacuated. The Nacimiento-Ferguson Road has been closed. Smith’s Type II Incident Management Team has been assigned to the fire.”

More photos from late this morning to follow here:


This was was taken at 11:04 am, and clearly shows the McKern Rd. firebreak.


These people snuck through before the signs were posted on Highway One, but were turned around. This is the intersection of South Coast Ridge Rd. and Nacimiento.


This photograph shows the burn from the Chalk Fire, with the Madrone regrowth and the Ponderosa Fire in the background.

You tired of these plumes, yet? I have a couple more showing the progression of the north flank, then I am finished until this evening, when I will go shoot some more photos.

Here’s the last one this afternoon, showing the progression of the north flank.


When I know more, I will post more.

1:30 pm. These photos were taken starting at 10:50 am from various places along South Coast Ridge Rd. This first one is from 10:50 am from about 1/2 mile south of Plaskett intersection.


I took a series of shots in 2 minutes from this spot, and it is interesting to watch the progression. I’ll post 4 here.




And now, a short break in the photo show, so that I might bring some information to my readers in the 2:00 pm update above.

12:30 pm. Just got back from my field trip. Photos and more photos up shortly. Impressive plumes. Fire south of N-F Rd., and north of the McKern Rd/firebreak. Lots of air attack. 3-4 miles, maybe 5, from me. Spotters up on South Coast Ridge Rd just north of McKern. N-F Rd. closed. Sheriff on top. Locals can go west. Now, to sort and post some photos.

Ponderosa Fire

10:30 am – “Radio traffic has it at 150 acres, Header can be seen for miles.” Now, I am really going to take a look. Back before noon, I hope. Will have phone, but there are many “dead zones” out there.

10:00 am – going off line for a bit to check on things in the back country. Call, if needed. Otherwise, back before 11 with a report. Oh, plume visible, but not particularly close. Don’t know direction of spread, but we have the old Chalk Fire between us and it, for the most part.

9:30 am – hearing lots of low-flying aircraft. I’ll be going out to open gate and go check the rear. Will take phone, but not computer, and will report back if I can see anything. From FHL-Capt. “75 acers 0% containment. Large orders for crews and aircraft. Steep and rugged terrain. Just outside Chalk Fire Burn from last year in Negro drainage.” (I think this had another name in the old days.)

9:15 am – Los Olivos Engine arrived at 7:30 am. Also, “Must have something going. Aircraft assigned to the incident: Bravo 2, AA502, T74, T75, C406, Helitanker706, C528, 3 AT on order.
Air tactics 166.675. Air to ground 170.000.”

9:00 am – found out what “cover” is. Ordered resources to come cover the two stations where the engines were from. E16 & E17. Also the exact coordinates of the fire are only near the Ponderosa campground. The exact lat & long is: 35 59 430 X 121 23 504

5:45 am – At 1:22 am, per WildCAD-LPNF, a resource order was issued for “Ponderosa Cover.” I have attempted to find out what that means, but have not been successful. It may mean simply an order for a PIO for this morning’s press release. I have found no other reports on this fire, which is a good thing. Inciweb is not reporting this fire. It has actually been quite chilly up here this am, also a good thing. The lack of available information supports a theory that the fire remained small and is under control. So, going back to sleep. Blessings, bigsurkate

Fire at Ponderosa Campground

Midnight – nothing being reported, significant or otherwise, so I’ll be signing off until morning. Blessings, bigsurkate

11:00 pm – no significant events being reported, so maybe the USFS will have a handle on it by the morning and we will all wake up to it being “old news.”

10:00 pm – I received a call from the new District Ranger, Sherry Tune, whom I just met yesterday, to give me a “heads-up” about this fire. It may have grown a little since initial reporting, but it is difficult to tell at night. She will be issuing a press release tomorrow morning, probably not until around 10 am. She will fax me a copy, which I will post here. She hasn’t been assigned a PIO, yet. She is brand-new, and only about 2 weeks into the job. It is her intention to keep locals fully informed. As a side note, I like her and others who have met her like her as well. It is a helluva welcome to the neighborhood, and she is literally being tested by fire.

9:30 pm – It began around 8:15 pm this evening, August 1st. It is approximately 4-6 acres, with a slow rate of spread. Two USFS Engines are on it right now. Ponderosa Campground, for those unfamiliar with the area, is several miles down from the summit, east on Nacimiento Rd. in the flats, by the river before one enters Ft. Hunter-Leggett.

Check back in in a couple of hours. I’ll try to report one more time, somewhere between 11 and midnight. Phone will be working all night. If necessary, I will start the gennie and stay online on and off throughout the evening.