Drone Footage by @CaltransD5 of Rat Creek

Gray Slip Photos taken 11/3/18

Here are some photos showing the depth and width of the cracks with measuring tape so that we can more accurately track the movement. There are also photos showing the three springs (which we believe to be different ones, but which we have no way of knowing whether they all come from one original spring) that have been exposed by Madonna Const. since they dug here to obtain fill dirt for Mud Creek. There is no indication that there is any effort being made to control the water here. You might remember from the article I published on Monday (Here) that water is the key ingredient in landslides and debris flow. “Water is the key ingredient,” said Austrian hydrologist Thomas Thaler, who studies threats to mountain communities. These photos demonstrate that.

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The depth of that last crack is 60 total inches. At the end of the slide show, Rock Knocker lost his tape measurer into the crack and had to climb in there to retrieve it. That gives an idea of the width and depth, although the tape could not follow the slope of the crack, so it is actually deeper than 5 feet.

Green Bridge on FHL closed for repairs, 8/27/18

This is the bridge: (Photo by Anneliese Agren)


I contacted FHL regarding repairs, and was informed that they have no specific date (nor even time frame) for the repair of this bridge. There is no promise or guarantee it will be repaired in time for winter rains. In the mean time, civilians are allowed to use the low water crossing next to it. Of course, if the bridge is not repaired before the rains come, then later in the winter, the low water crossing may become impassable, as it has before.

Mary and I were remembering just the other day a high school field trip in 1995, when the Carmel River Bridge went out, this bridge went out, and Highway One at Soda Springs went out and we were stuck in San Simeon, until Cal Trans could “punch us through” at Soda Springs. I will be keeping my eye on this bridge repair and let you know what I learn.

Remembering the Gorda-Rat Creek Fire, Pt. 2

(Continued from last Saturday…)

“I can’t remember all of those that helped in the following days but Greg Byrne and his son Airic, TJ, JC, Jim Cook, PB Rivers, Tall Cliff Anderson, Rob Stonecipher, Saj all come to mind. We didn’t have much as far as tools at first, just a few chain saws and weedeater besides the 125 gallons of water, pump and a couple of hundred feet of 1″ hose. A fire camp was set up at Sand Dollar and the Pacific Valley School was serving meals. I was having lunch with Greg Byrne when his son came up to us and said,” Hey guys, I talked to a fireman across the street and he said we could check out anything we needed to fight fire”.—Airic was 10 or 12 years of age but we decided to check it out.——We went over and acted like we did this all the time, identifying ourselves as the South Coast Volunteers and proceeded to make out a wish list. Everything we asked for was available and given to us on the spot with only a signature required. Little Airic had earned our respect for sure!

We went up to MJ’s place on top of Willow and joined with the Texas Hot Shots who were down in Spruce trying to keep the fire from crossing to the North side.  Our folks and their’s combined to make a successful stop with the Borate bomber dropping its load on us two different times. We came out of Spruce, colored with the fire retardant and felt like heroes! Up at MJ’s there were three full size city fire trucks in the yard. The hot shots had told us they could now hold the creek bed and we should all go take a well deserved break. We agreed and went over to Dave and Mariska Harris’s place for a hot meal, showers and some cold beer.—-I woke up at dawn and jumped on my motorcycle and went over to MJ’s place. The smoke was so thick you couldn’t see but 20 to 30 yards. When I got to the yard and I saw that the fire trucks were gone, in fact the yard was empty. I started down the road to the pool and ran into a wall of flame coming up the hill. I raced back to MJ’s and woke him up (he had taken a couple of sleeping pills the night before) yelling that the fire was coming, and quick!!   I drove back to David’s and woke everyone and soon we were out in the woods trying to establish a fire line below MJ’s without even having our first cup of coffee. The terrain was not too steep and was covered in good size pine and smaller madrone and manzanita. We started dropping pines with no sense of order and would probably have gotten someone hurt when we heard the clank clank of a big tracked machine coming our way.   A D-9 came to our rescue and pushed those little pines over creating a fire line that would have taken us hours, in a matter of minutes.—–We found out later that the Rat fire had Blown Up in the middle of the night and our Forest Service and Fire Fighter guys had been pulled off the Gorda fire to go fight the Rat. I also learned that the individual fire fighter might as well be in the Army in the fact that they have to obey orders from their superiors leading me to never trust what they might say, no matter how much they might mean it! —-No shame, no blame,—just the way it is!” (To be continued next Saturday…)


Mud Creek Plans update, 1/22/17

Cal Trans Update from Geotechnical department on Mud Creek:

Update: Early last week Caltrans and Yeh and Associates, a local geotechnical consultant, assessed the Mud Creek Slide and determined that the material that blocked the highway was a relatively shallow failure nested inside of a much larger landslide complex extending far above the highway. We recommended removing the displaced slide debris to allow us to determine if the larger landslide or a portion of it was moving. Removing the material at the base of the slope allows for the slide material above to clean itself out in the rain, which is likely what has occurred in the heavy rains on Friday and this morning. Keeping the highway closed while that material moves is necessary to ensure the safety of the traveling public and our workers.

With the upcoming break in the weather this coming week we plan to reassess the site conditions and develop a mitigation stragety moving forward. Until we have the opportunity to perform another field investigation it is difficult to say what that mitigation strategy will be and how long it will take to implement. We will consider all viable alternatives and do our best to open the highway when it is safe to do so.

Cal Trans Update, 1/17/17/

January 17
2:30 PM

Good afternoon,
This is an aerial of Mud Creek (PM 8.8), our active slide with a full closure in effect . Our local Geotech is meeting with Geotech from San Francisco today to find the best fix for Mud Creek (PM 8.8) It may be a longer than desired process, but we’re looking for the best and safest solution.


This is just the very bottom portion of the slide area. For those interested, I have a google earth screen shot, but for most of us, it is difficult to realize what one is looking at. I will see if I can learn to annotate it with what Rock Knocker has to say – will be in steep learning curve for me, so don’t look for it tonight, and maybe not even tomorrow.

FROM BIGSURKATE AND ROCK KNOCKER – NOT OFFICIAL CAL TRANS INFO –  What a lot of people don’t realize when they see that slide on the mountain or on the highway, is that this is not the true problem. There is movement pushing from way up above that can be seen on google earth or a very long climb or by helicopter. This is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.


State Route 1 continues to be closed from Ragged Point (SLO PM 72.87) to Lucia (MON PM 23.00) due to rock/mudslides in multiple locations.

Motorists may travel south on Hwy. 1 from Carmel to Lucia or travel north from Cambria to Ragged Point.

In addition there is a full closure on Hwy. 1 at Mud Creek (MON PM 8.88) due to a mud/rock slides within the existing boundary of this closure.

For the time being, Hwy 1 is open to LOCAL RESIDENTS traveling south from Monterey who can safely get around through the an open lane at Paul’s slide (MON PM 21.6) down to Gorda (PM 10) until 4 pm this and each afternoon.

There are no crews currently escorting at Paul’s Slide as all crews are working down at Mud Creek. Another update will be provided tomorrow afternoon, Wednesday, Jan. 18.

We will continue to work with you in maintaining the roadway safely open as much as possible. The forecast says Big Sur is expecting rain beginning tomorrow Wednesday, Jan. 18 through next Tuesday, Jan. 24, so no telling how Hwy. 1 will fare. We thank you for your patience, cooperation and understanding.

Susana Z. Cruz
Caltrans District 5
Public Information Officer/

Interactive Map, South Coast Slides and Mile Markers

A friend spent a lot of hours creating this map for my readers. What I will do is post the jpeg version first, so you can visualize, and then the link to the interactive pdf version below it. Eventually, there will be three maps – South, Central, and North. These will also be included in the History of Highway One at the top of the page so they are easy to find. You could also print out a version to keep near your internet device.


This is very, very cool. My friend won’t let me give him credit, but what he did is dynamite! When you open up the pdf link below, you get a new tab in your browser that has the interactive map. When you click on one of the white boxes for the slide name, you will get the choice of a split screen showing the full map on one side, and the photos of that particular slide on the other screen. It is a great tool we will use often in the years ahead. Thank you, my friend. And Rock Knocker says: “Outstanding.”


Road Conditions – South Coast

From CHP:

Incident: 00315 Type: Traffic Hazard Location: SR1 S / GORDA Loc Desc: SB 1 JSO GORDA Lat/Lon: 35.842500 -121.401944
Detail Information
4:04 PM 3 [8] 1039 CT DIST 5 / WCB
4:03 PM 2 [7] VEH JUST HIT IT
I’m guessing Mud Creek.

Chimney Fire, 8/26/16

Noon – Here is the progressive map


Progressive Fire Map in PDF

John Chesnut Maps:


Am report:

#CHIMNEYFIRE: Here’s the full Cal Fire morning report, 7 a.m. Friday, Aug. 26

Chimney Fire
Incident Update
Date: 8/26/2016 Time: 6:00AM
Fire Information Line: 805-543-2444

Incident Start Date: 8/13/2016 Incident Start Time: 4:03 PM
Incident Type: Vegetation Fire Cause: Under Investigation (but Cal Fire has determined that the fire was not set deliberately.)
Incident Location: Chimney Rock Rd. & Running Deer Rd., South of Nacimiento Reservoir

Acreage: 45,008 acres Containment: 47%
Expected Containment: 09/03/2016 Injuries: 1
Structures Threatened: 1,898
Structures Destroyed: Residences 49 Other 21
Structures Damaged: 8

Engines: 328 Water Tenders: 69 Helicopters: 16 Air Tankers: 7 Hand Crews: 106 Dozers: 46 Other: 3 Total Personnel: 4,028

Cooperating Agencies: California Highway Patrol, California State Parks, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff, Red Cross, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, California Conservation Corps, PG&E, San Luis Obispo Air Quality Board, San Luis Obispo Public Works, Paso Robles Fire Department, Monterey Co. Water Resource Board, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, US Army Camp Roberts, CAL-OES, San Luis Obispo County OES, Monterey County Sheriff, Monterey County OES, Fort Hunter Liggett, and Los Padres National Forest.

Overnight, the fire behavior remained active, but cooler temperatures and higher relative humidity helped firefighters increase containment lines throughout the night. Today, anticipated onshore low-level flow will strengthen, with a deeper marine layer, leading to lower temperatures. The Hearst Castle and Hearst Castle Infrastructure remain threatened.
Threats remain with evacuation orders to Oak Shores, Christmas Cove, Cal Shasta, Bryson Hesperia and Lake San Antonio.
As with all evacuation orders and warnings, these are implemented for the safety of the public and firefighters. Fire personnel are working in extreme fire conditions around the clock to contain and control the fire. Please do your part to be prepared to evacuate by visiting http://www.readyforwildfire.org. Unified command with Fort Hunter Liggett and Los Padres
National Forest.

Evacuations: Evacuation orders were lifted for the communities of Tri-County, Cal Shasta, Rancho Del Lago, and South Shore
Village on Thursday, August 25, 2016 at 12:00 PM. Property owners and residents of the Tri-County, Cal-Shasta, Rancho Del Lago and South Shore Village Ranch Communities are asked to carry a government issued identification card, current utility bill, or other similar evidence showing an address within Tri-County, Cal-Shasta, Rancho Del Lago, and South Shore Village.
Evacuation orders remain in place for Christmas Cove, Oak Shores, North Shore Boat and Ski, Laguna Vista, Lake San Antonio, Sapaqua Valley, and Bryson Hesperia in both San Luis Obispo and Monterey Counties. Members of the general public are asked to avoid the Tri-County, Cal-Shasta, Rancho Del Lago, and South Shore Village area due to large numbers of fire resources in the area and to respect private property rights of these communities.

KATHE’S NOTE: After some confusion late Thursday, Aug. 25, (me getting a different report from a Cal Fire spokesman than my Tribune colleague was given a little earlier in the evening), Cal Fire officials confirmed that the evacuation warning remains in effect on San Simeon Creek Road, Van Gordon Creek Road, Keystone Mine Road and Red Mountain Road. I’ll check in a while to make sure that’s still the case.

Evacuation Centers:
Flamson Middle School Small Animals – Chimney Fire Animal Shelter can be contacted at (805)423-4934
2405 Spring Street Large Animals – Horse Emergency Evacuation Team (HEET) 805-466-7457
Paso Robles, CA 93446 Large and Small Animals – Chimney Fire Animal Relief (805)423-4934

Road & Waterway Closures:
G14 Interlake Road from Lake Nacimiento Dam to Bryson Hesperia Road. Traffic control points are being manned by CHP at Interlake Road at Bryson Hesperia Road, as well as Interlake Road at Lake Nacimiento. Las Tables arm on Lake Nacimiento is closed. All boating activity is closed west of the Las Tables arm on Lake Nacimiento, including all vessel launching west of Las Tables arm on Lake Nacimiento.

7:00 am – Chilly, and not as smokey as I am sure it will get later in the am. Right now, I can actually see Cone Peak and Willow Creek Top, which hasn’t been the usual up here.


IR Interpretation Map in PDF


IR Top Map 2 in PDF


Ops Map in PDF