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…)

 

Parkfield Fire, 7/8/17

9:20 pm – 500 acres, per Cal Fire.

9:00 pm – PER CO RDS, HAVE CLOSURES IN PLACE AT: INDIAN VLY AT VINEYARD CYN / INDIAN VLY AT CROSS CYN / CROSS CYN AT PLEASANT (WHICH COVERS LOWES CYN – UNABLE TO CLOSE AT LOWES CYN BECAUSE VEHS UNABLE TO TURN AROUND AND SLOSO AWARE

Also evacuations but unknown where. Lastly, one firefighter suffered 2nd degree burns to his face and hands. He was airlifted out to a burn center.

7 pm – Location: Vineyard Canyon Rd x Cross Country Rd
Acres: 100
ROS: Dangerous rate of spread
ROC: 100 acres, requesting 1 additional Charlie strike team, 1 Lima ST, 2 Gulf STs. Fire burning on both sides of the road. In both MoCo and SLO

Ordered 2 more ATs for a total of 6.

Here are some photos I found online:

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From LPNF Supervisor

“This evening (this was sent late last night), the Soberanes Wildfire was reported at 100% containment, with a total size of 132,127 acres, and 83 days in duration.

I wanted to extend my thanks to all the firefighters, incident management teams, partners, cooperators and the public for the cooperation and teamwork with the Los Padres Forest Staff to collectively bring this exceptionally challenging wildfire to full containment.

The public should be aware that smoldering areas will continue to put up smoke, but are well within the fire perimeter. This will continue until a season-ending rain event occurs. A cooling and moistening trend is expected this week with a high probability of rain over the weekend.

Work continues on suppression repair, approximately 297 out of 384 miles repaired, and BAER efforts for the remainder of the fire area are planned. Attached are the PIO, Operations, and Progression Maps for your reference. (I have not included them)

Fire camps at Molera, Rana, and Toro are scheduled for breakdown and relocation to a consolidated camp at the fairgrounds in King City.

The Monterey Ranger District of the Los Padres National Forest remains closed to public access. The only recreation sites that remain open are Plaskett Creek and Kirk Creek Campgrounds, Pfeiffer Beach, Sand Dollar Beach and Willow Creek Day Use areas. All trails are closed within the Ventana and Silver Peak Wilderness Areas.

We will continue to put “life first”, make sound risk based decisions, and evaluate exposures and risk in Suppression Repair and BAER as we have in suppression operations.

For more information, visit: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4888/ or follow us at http://www.facebook.com/LosPadresNationalForest or www.twitter.com/LosPadresNF.

Thanks for all the continued support,
Bob

Robert Baird
Forest Supervisor
Forest Service
Los Padres National Forest”

Soberanes is 100% contained

Finally! The forest is still closed, and the burned areas will likely remain closed all winter,  if history is any indication, as it is too dangerous with slides, debris flows, and falling trees. The land and the critters need time to heal. Please allow them to do so. This was day 83.

Season ending rains later this week?

As Paul H. Commented on yesterday’s post (please read), we have the potential of a storm with significant consequences heading this way. Here is what NOAA and the NWS had to say today:

“A more significant pattern change is expected to begin Thursday as a broad upper level trough approaches the region. This system is progged to tap into a plume of moisture over the Pacific with precipitable water values in excess of 1.5 inches. As this system approaches it will bring precipitation into northern Sonoma county Thursday afternoon and evening. While models have fallen into agreement on this there is still some disagreement with the timing and intensity of the rainfall for Friday. The Euro (ECMWF) is the more aggressive of the two models and brings rain as far south as the Monterey Bay Thursday night while the GFS keep rain changes north of the Golden Gate. The GFS appears to catch up to the Euro Friday night as it pushes the main rain band through the region. The Euro however remains the wetter of the two solutions.

Periods of moderate to locally heavy rain is anticipated Friday across the region. Heaviest precipitation is expected across the North Bay. Models indicate there will likely be a break the rain (GFS) or hit and miss showers (Euro) Saturday on the back side of the main frontal band. However a second round of showers is expected Sunday as the second boundary moves across the region. With a moist atmosphere in place the second boundary will have no trouble spreading widespread precipitation across the region. Rain is expected across the forecast area and will likely bring the season ending rains that the fires burning across the region have been waiting for.”

 

Soberanes Fire Update, 10/8/16

Yesterday, Friday, I reported on FB that the Soberanes Fire had kicked up a bit on the interior portion. I could see the smoke from my place – no column, but smoke. So today’s inciweb reports this:

“A flare up occurred yesterday on the fire near Marble Peak, but was well within the burn perimeter. Today, a Hot Shot crew will make their way through the burned area to reach the hot spot to cool it down. Smoke might be visible from nearby communities, but rest assured that this hot spot is well within the burned area.
Efforts to remove the water tender yesterday were unsuccessful, towing equipment wasn’t capable and other equipment wasn’t available. Diesel fuel was successfully extracted from the fuel tanks, and nearby brush was cut back to allow easier extraction of the vehicle. Plans are put in place to remove the water tender when equipment becomes available.
Hot spots along the North Fork Big Sur Creek, north of Ventana Cone, and east of Church Ranch are trouble spots for fire managers. These areas are not accessible to firefighters on the ground due to steep and rocky terrain. It is not likely that fire will spread out of these areas due to a lack of continuous fuel bed, cooler overnight temperatures, and higher overnight humidities. Winds could be a problem if a hot spot were to reach a containment line, fire managers will continue to monitor conditions.”

Containment is still at 98% on Day 79.

Soberanes Fire, Day 70, 9/29/16

There is a flair up on Mt. Manuel today, which resulted in the following story and photo:

“Just a kinda funny story. I was in my kayak in pond today around 11:30am. I was tying rope to broken willow trees on the island and then to tractor to pull them out. This was some of the minor damage done from the 6 weeks of dipping during the fire. It’s been around 10 days since the last air operation here so I was surprised when all of a sudden sitting on my kayak in middle of pond I heard a helicopter. Before I knew it I got a visual of a Sikorsky heading my way. I scrambled to get out of pond and move tractor, tools, kayak, etc.

They have been dipping ever since making short trips northeast of here. I’m assuming hitting a flare up in the black?

Thanks again,

Marcus Foster
(Rancho Grande)”
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As the fire winds down, transitions to a Type 2 IMT today, is over the 90% threshold for containment, so does my coverage of this fire begin to wind down.

Here is John Chesnut’s map:

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Basic Information

Current as of September 29, 2016 at 7:19:54 AM PDT
Incident Type Wildfire
Cause Illegal Campfire
Date of Origin Friday July 22nd, 2016 approx. 08:45 AM
Location Soberanes Creek, Garrapata State Park, Palo Colorado/Big Sur, & Ventana Wilderness.
Incident Commander Rocky W. Opliger, USFS, California Interagency Incident Management Team 4.
Incident Description Wildland Fire
Current Situation
Total Personnel 1,462
Size 129,395 Acres
Percent of Perimeter Contained 92%
Estimated Containment Date Saturday October 15th, 2016 approx. 12:00 AM
Fuels Involved
Chaparral, tall grass and timber
Significant Events
Minimal fire activity overnight due to a deep marine layer and high humidity. Interior smoke production and fire activity may be possible do
to the drought stricken fuels, even in areas that have been dormant for weeks.
Outlook
Planned Actions
The North side of the fire continues to be in patrol status.
On the East side of the fire, suppression efforts are being focused on the interior around the Church Creek drainage area, to cut off possible fire growth. Infrared is being utilized to detect heat. Air resources are also being utilized to strengthen containment and treat hot spots on the south side of the Church Creek drainage area with retardant and water drops. Crews are being inserted around the areas that need hot spotting and cold trailing.
Suppression repair plans on the east side of the fire are being implemented.
On the west side of the fire, a more direct attack tactics are being implemented. Crews are being inserted into those areas conducting hot-spotting and cold trailing operations.
A substantial suppression repair effort continues to be a high priority for resources on the west end of the fire.
Projected Incident Activity
Predicted lower temperatures and RH associated with the arrival of a deep marine layer will assist in control efforts. Fire behavior is expected to be moderated under the influence of these conditions.
Remarks
Transition to Central Coast Incident Management Team – Type II, will occur on 9/29/16 at 0800.
Projected final footprint of the fire has been reestablished. Due to the expected consumption of green islands within the interior of the fire, final projected acreage has increased. All acres are accounted for that lie with the containment lines, burned or unburned.
Current Weather
Weather Concerns
Temperatures near active fire area: 55-60 except 70 around the thermal belt.
Relative Humidity near active fire area: 15 to 20% ridges…30 to 45% valleys.
Winds near active fire area:
Valleys: becoming downslope/downvalley 3-5 mph gusts 8 mph.
Mid/Upper Slopes: NW 10 to 15 mph with gusts to 20 mph becoming SW 5-10 mph with
gusts to 15 mph overnight.
Outlook for Today:
Temperatures near active fire area: 80-90
Relative Humidity near active fire area: 11-18%
Winds near active fire area:
Valleys: Upslope/upvalley 5-10 mph gusts 15-20 mph by midday.
Mid/Upper Slopes: SW 5-10 mph gusts
UNIT INFORMATION
USFS Shield
Los Padres National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
6750 Navigator Way
Suite 150
Goleta, CA 93117
INCIDENT CONTACT
Fire Information Line
Phone: 831 204-0446
Hours: 6:00 AM -10:00 PM
RECENT ARTICLES
Soberanes Fire Daily Update for September 28
News – 21 hrs. ago
Soberanes Fire Daily Update for September 27
News – 2 days ago
Evacuation Warning for Arroyo Seco Area Lifted
Announcement – 3 days ago
Sorberanes Fire Daily Update for September 26
News – 3 days ago
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One Less Spark
Ready for Wildfire
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Center for Disease Control – Smoke Management Tips
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Wildland Fire Terminology Glossary
Air Quality Index for California
Los Padres National Forest
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Firefighting Aircraft Recognition Guide
SPCA Monterey County
CPOA – Coast Property Owners Association Big Sur
The Community Foundation for Monterey County
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Loma Fire, 9/29/16

John Chesnut Map; note North is rotated.

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This fire is now expected to be contained by October 3, 2016. Absent any unusual events, I will only be posting John’s maps, if available, on this fire.

Loma Fire Incident Information:
Last Updated: September 29, 2016 6:30 am
Date/Time Started: September 26,2016 2:42 pm
Administrative Unit: CAL FIRE Santa Clara Unit
County: Santa Clara County
Location: off Loma Prieta Rd and Loma Chiquita Rd 10 miles NW of Morgan Hill
Acres Burned – Containment: 3,849 acres – 22% contained
Structures Threatened: 325
Structures Destroyed: 1 single residence and 6 outbuildings destroyed, 1 single residence damaged
Evacuations: Santa Clara County: Mandatory evacuation orders for the Loma Prieta ridgeline area including all tributary roads along Summit Road from Soquel San Jose Road to Ormsby Fire Station. This includes Uvas Canyon County Park, Loma Chiquita, Casa Loma, and Loma Prieta Way. Portions of Croy Road are under an evacuation warning.
Santa Cruz County: All evacuation orders and warnings have been lifted. Evacuation alerts in Santa Clara County can be received by signing up for AlertSCC, visit: www.sccgov.org/sites/alertscc/Pages/home.aspx.

Evacuation Centers: Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds, 2601 East Lake Ave, Watsonville (large animals welcome)
Jewish Community Center of Silicon Valley, 14855 Oka Road, Los Gatos
Morgan Hill Presbyterian Church, 16970 De Witt Avenue, Morgan Hill

Road Closures: Loma Chiquita Road, Summit Road from Soquel San Jose Road to Pole Line Road, Mount Bache Road at Highland Road, Casa Loma Road at McKean/Uvas, Mount Madonna at Ormsby Road Mount Madonna Road at Pole Line Road, Croy Road at Uvas Road is open to residents only
Cause: Under investigation

Loma Fire, 9/28/16

Here is the evening John Chesnut Map of the Loma Fire. We got a two-headed monster going, now. Note that North is rotated to be on the right of the map.

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John Chesnut MAP

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Here is today’s Topo IR map and the daily update. Today is a town run day for me, so won’t be available much of the day.

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IR Topo Map in PDF
Last Modified on September 28,2016
LOMA FIRE

Loma Fire Incident Information:
Last Updated: September 28, 2016 6:30 am
Date/Time Started: September 26,2016 3:06 pm
Administrative Unit: CAL FIRE Santa Clara Unit
County: Santa Clara County
Location: off Loma Prieta Rd and Loma Chiquita Rd 10 miles NW of Morgan Hill
Acres Burned – Containment: 2,250 acres – 10% contained
Structures Threatened: 300
Structures Destroyed: 1 single residence and 6 outbuildings destroyed, 1 single residence damaged
Evacuations: Mandatory evacuation orders for the Loma Prieta ridgeline area including all tributary roads along Summit Road from Soquel San Jose Road to Ormsby Fire Station. This includes Uvas Canyon County Park, Loma Chiquita, Casa Loma, Loma Prieta Way, Highland Road and Mount Bache Road. Portions of Croy Road are under an evacuation warning.
Reverse 911 calls have also been sent to residents using Alert SCC. If you have not already signed up for AlertSCC visit www.sccgov.org/sites/alertscc/Pages/home.aspx.

Evacuation Centers: Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds, 2601 East Lake Ave, Watsonville (large animals welcome)
Jewish Community Center of Silicon Valley, 14855 Oka Road, Los Gatos
Morgan Hill Presbyterian Church, 16970 De Witt Avenue, Morgan Hill

Road Closures: Loma Chiquita Road, Summit Road from Soquel San Jose Road to Pole Line Road, Mount Bache Road at Highland Road, Casa Loma Road at McKean/Uvas, Mount Madonna at Ormsby Road Mount Madonna Road at Pole Line Road, Croy Road at Uvas Road is open to residents only
Cause: Under investigation
Cooperating Agencies: California Highway Patrol, Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, Santa Cruz County Sherriff’s Office, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, San Jose Water Company, Santa Clara Valley Water District, Pacific Gas and Electric and Santa Clara County Office of Emergency Services.

Soberanes Fire, Day 69, 9/28/16

Current Size: 128,595 acres (91,401 acres Los Padres National Forest; 37,194 acres CAL FIRE)
Containment: 89% Personnel: 1,833

John Chesnut Map:

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I haven’t been able to get the IR Topo map, yet, but here is the Briefing Map, to start …

And now, the IR Topo:

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IR Topo Map in PDF

 

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Briefing Map in PDF

Fire Behavior and Weather Predictions Discussions:

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