Forest Service Releases Cause of Pfeiffer Fire

This is the link to the reports. There are three parts.
pfeiffer fire report on cause

Here is the general link to the LPNF. Will add the specific link when I get a moment.

Forest Service Releases Cause of Pfeiffer Fire

GOLETA, CA, December 3, 2014….U.S. Forest Service officials today announced the release of the Pfeiffer Fire investigation report which determined the cause of the fire to be a local water company’s electrical control wires creating a competent ignition source.

All other fire causes were investigated and excluded.

The Pfeiffer Fire began just before midnight December 15, 2013, on the Pfeiffer Ridge in Big Sur and eventually burned 917 acres.

The investigation report is accessible to the public on the Los Padres National Forest Internet website.

Pfeiffer Fire, 6 months later

The BSMAAC Meeting ended at 1:00 pm. I was meeting friends at 4:00 in Big Sur. Hm… Go to town or staying in Big Sur Valley?

Ray Sanborn was in the audience. He and his wife Celia lost their house. It has been six month, so I thought I would do a follow-up. I got the combo, directions, then went to lunch before I headed up the hill. I had my camera, so photos were to be taken, and a report written after I see it and talk to the residents.

Life always returns.

CPOA reported at the BSMAAC Meeting that they raised just over 1/2 million dollars, and have distributed just under that amount to homeowners and renters. Over $100,000 of the money collected was designated for a particular family or purpose. Ray Sanborn had nothing but good things to say about how CPOA handled the donations and distributions.

Tim Short, District Ranger reported that the investigation into the cause of the fire is still on-going. He apologized for the delay, but said it was a different branch, over which he had no control or influence.




And sometimes, we throw the unexpected into the mix. As Celia did.



The day I was there, Friday, they got the news that the county approved their temporary site, so this week, after six months in a motel room at Glen Oaks, they will be moving back onto their land, and they can work their magic daily.

Phoenix Fire Benefit Gathering


This photo Kodiak Greenwood took of the metal sculpture that Dave and John created last week at Treebones metal shop, to be auctioned this Saturday at the Benefit , all proceeds (thru CPOA) to Fire victims.

A natural disaster calls for a natural blast.

Here is the link to purchase tickets: tammyfirefly

In the wake of the Pfeiffer Fire in Big Sur that gripped the community with smoke and trepidation—and claimed more than 30 structures along one of the most scenic coastal ridges anywhere—a range of local groups have rallied to provide relief.
RiseBigSur and Luvlab Productions now join that push as they’re orchestrating a blockbuster event at a location TBA to ticket buyers—they promise an epic Big Sur setting—Saturday, Jan. 18.

Another rumor-summoning mystery surrounding the soiree? The possibility of a certain world-famous rock band with local ties making an appearance.

In the mean time, here’s what we know: Tickets are available for $50 at the Tammy Firefly site (proof of purchase and identification will need to be shown to get on the shuttle). A few days before the event, ticket holders will be given more details about the location.
So far, the entertainment offerings include music from SLO electronic-psych outfit Tropo Musik and ethereal singer-songwriter Marya Stark.

Several DJs (Kevin Dayspring, Joey Grajeda, Bryan Scott, Ardalan) will help keep the dancers dancing as well.
In addition to all the ear candy, there will be plenty of other-worldly performance art, Big Sur style, to stimulate the eyes.
The extensive list includes multi-talented contortionist Tammy Firefly herself, mermaid/snake charmer Adelaide Marcus, mystical Big Sur favorite RosaliaWebster and aerialists Lei Lei de Kirby and Paige Wyatt. San Luis Obispo aerial school Suspended Motion will put on a show that’ll blow some minds.

As for libations: Cayucos Beach Ale, specialty cocktails prepared by the DrinkMistress Vanessa Share and Shamanic Tea Service from RonJon Terlane will be offered for a donation. A silent auction with plenty of donated items to choose from will be available, including a metal sculpture of a Phoenix bird rising from the fire, made from reclaimed metal pieces from burnt homes on Pfieffer Ridge.

A couple more details: The Phoenix Benefit is a 21 and over gathering and it goes until 2am.

Unlicensed contractors

Hi Kate,

Here is the update I posted to your FB yesterday.

The County of Monterey has received notice that unlicensed and unscrupulous contractors are descending on Big Sur to acquire work during the rebuilding effort following the Pfeiffer Fire. Contracting without a license in the State of California is a misdemeanor and if the area is declared a disaster area it would then become a felony.

Only hire licensed contractors to perform work. In Monterey County the list is long, no need to hire out of the area unlicensed contractors to save a few dollars; in the long run it could cost you!

Check to see if your contractor is licensed at:


Bryan Flores
Assistant to Supervisor Dave Potter
Fifth District, County of Monterey

I, BSK, would add that there are probably others looking to take advantage of fire Sur-vivors as well, so deal with people and companies that you trust, or that come recommended by friends you trust.

Meetings today re Pfeiffer Fire recovery

There will be an important meeting at the Big Sur Multi Agency Facility on Thursday, December 26th at 11:30 AM.

This meeting, which will be held after the 10:30 AM Public Meeting, is restricted to people who were directly impacted by the Fire on Pfeiffer Ridge and other invited, non-Agency personnel. This means if you are either a Property Owner or Renter who suffered losses (your housing or other real property burned), this meeting is geared toward helping you with your immediate and long term needs.

Available at this meeting will be a needs assessment form to fill out (a prerequisite for receiving grant funds for rebuilding from Fire Relief Funds) and an update on the steps towards getting the fire debris removed, and getting you back on your property. Some of the services that will make a big difference in getting your lives back to normal include free site cleanup, free sanitary facilities on your property, no permit fees and expedited plan check review from Monterey County Planning and Building. Additionally, arrangements are being made to get your important documents (Ca. Driver’s License, Birth Certificate, etc.) re-created on some future date, to be determined, at a venue here in Big Sur.

At this meeting there will be a brief report on the steps and the players involved in preparing for the potential of post fire erosion and debris flows.

We have asked folks who were impacted by the Basin Complex Fire to attend this meeting to share their wisdom about what worked and what didn’t, in an effort to save you from some of the pitfalls that may arise, as you start to recover and rebuild.

Butch Kronlund

Pfeiffer Fire, Day 7 – official report

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Pfeiffer Fire
Los Padres National Forest December 22, 2013 10:00 AM UPDATE
(No further evening update)
Fire Information Phone: (831) 667-0951

Incident: Pfeiffer Fire, started on December 16, 2013
Location: Pfeiffer Ridge Area, Big Sur, CA
Agency Jurisdiction: USDA Forest Service.
Cooperating Agencies: Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade, CalFire, Monterey County Sheriff, OES, CHP, Red Cross, Cal Trans
Current Size: 917 Acres
Cause: Under Investigation
Containment: 100 %
Containment: 12-20-2013
Current Resources: Crews:-2 Engines: 09 Dozers: 0 Helicopters -2 Air tankers: As Needed
Total Personnel: 200
Structures: Residents-34, Outbuildings-4
Assessment team’s confirmation shows a total loss of 34 residences, an increase from previous reports.

Today’s Activities: Full Containment was declared yesterday. Crews continue to mop up and patrol. Due to increased temperature, but higher humidifies are expected. Fire activity inside the perimeter are expected to be lower due to higher RH.

Residents of Clear Ridge, Middle Ridge, and Front Hill areas were allowed to return to their homes yesterday.

PG&E will continue working along Sycamore Road and Pfeiffer Ridge Rd. They will be using a helicopter to transport materials into the burn area and job sites.
Central Coast Interagency Incident Management Team 7, under the Command of Incident Commander Mark Nunez, will be transitioning management of the incident to Curt Schwarm, Type 3 Incident Commander of the Los Padres NF. The team would like to thank the community of Big Sur for their cooperation and patience during the Pfeiffer Fire Incident.

Weather:. No major weather changes are expected over the area today.

Evacuations: Evacuations of residences in Pfeiffer Ridge Community from Sycamore Road on the south to Clear Ridge on the north, to Highway 1 on the east and the Pacific Ocean on the west continue are still in effect..

Community Meeting: No meetings on Saturday and Sunday. Community Meetings will resume on Monday at 10:30 at the Big Sur Station, Highway 1, Big Sur, CA

Road Closures: Sycamore Road, Pfeiffer Ridge Road, and the road from River Inn to intersection with Pfeiffer Ridge Road. Both lanes of Highway 1 are currently open. Situational Awareness while driving is encouraged due to increase. BE SAFE!

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is offering free confidential site visits for fire effected land owners. John.warner @ca.usda .gov.
PG&E contact # 1-831-479-3074

Recovery Information

Monterey County has put together an online page with recovery information for those in the Pfeiffer fire area. Information about re-entry, clean up, steps to take after a fire emergency and contact information for both Planning/Building and Environmental Health are there. Some good general information and links to winter storm preparations, resource guides and protecting yourself from scams as well.

Let me know if there is anything else that should be listed. As new information comes up, we will update.

County Recovery Information

Maia Carroll
Monterey County

Basin vs. Pfeiffer Fires & MCSO response

I witnessed first hand the attitude of the cops in Big Sur during this fire, vs. the last one, and I know it came from the top down. Scott Miller defeated the last despot, and I worked to elect Sheriff Miller in any way I could, and was so happy to see that my trust was well-placed. He even follows my blog, and greets me at public meetings. While the deputies did their jobs, and tried to keep people both safe and out of the way of emergency vehicles, they all (that I encountered anyway) did so with compassion and understanding. sheriff Miller kept the road open, and neighbors connected. It was such a different experience – a welcome experience.

The Herald did an excellent article on this difference. I quote some of it below.

“Monterey County sheriff’s officials say they have taken a “180-degree turn” in their response to the Pfeiffer Ridge Fire in Big Sur compared to the area’s Basin Complex Fire in 2008.

“We hope that almost everything is different — a philosophical change,” Sheriff Scott Miller said.

Cmdr. Bill Kaye, who is usually posted at the Monterey substation, has been in Big Sur every day since the fire started, accompanied by Sgt. Joe Moses. Miller said “double or triple” the usual number of deputies are working in the area.

But part of the “philosophical change” means a different way of dealing with homeowners who choose not to evacuate, the sheriff said.

“For people who stayed in place, we don’t condone that.

But we are trying to be supportive,” Miller said.
As in the 2008 Basin Complex Fire, some residents are “trying to do their own fire protection activities,” he said.

“There are people who have never left the area. Some are trying to preserve their property or their friends’ property,” he said. “We’re not arresting anyone who isn’t leaving. It doesn’t resolve any problems.”

For the full article go here: Hersld Article

Here is a sample photo:

By David Royal, Herald photographer. More available at site.