•November 13, 2013 • 27 Comments

The Big Sur blog that has been covering fires, the weather, road conditions, and other events since 2008. Send your news and photos, and we will do our best to post them. send to:

HEADER PHOTO…is a gift from my terrific photog friend Dan Danbom. He is also a whiz in the digital darkroom, as you can tell.

(Damn, the link is not working, and I’ve tried everything! How about just copying into your browser?) don’t be confused – it is THIS LINK (mine) not CPOAs that isn’t working.
(CPOA’s donation site)

Remember, for entries, it is 760×151 pixels.

Mike Heard, National Volunteer of the Year

•April 22, 2014 • 4 Comments


Los Padres National Forest
For Immediate Release
Contact: Andrew Madsen (805) 961-5759
Twitter: @LosPadresNF

Longtime Ventana Wilderness Volunteer Wins National Honor

GOLETA, CA, April 22, 2014….Los Padres National Forest officials announced that the U.S. Forest Service has selected longtime Monterey Ranger District and Ventana Wilderness Alliance (VWA) volunteer Mike Heard as the national Volunteer of the Year. This recognition is especially noteworthy as it coincides with the 50th Anniversary of the 1964 Wilderness Act.

For many years, Mike has been instrumental in repairing and maintaining remote wilderness trails overgrown by brush or damaged by fires, erosion, and debris slides. He played a valuable role coordinating and leading extensive on-the-ground trail work in the Cone Peak area of the Ventana Wilderness. Over the last two years, Mike volunteered nearly 3,700 hours of his time to project work in the wilderness.

“Mike exemplifies what it means to be a dedicated volunteer,” said Los Padres Interim Forest Supervisor Ken Heffner. “Mike’s had an enormous impact on our wilderness trail system, and this national recognition validates the importance of his work to the U.S. Forest Service.”

Mike took the lead in completing the necessary paperwork to finalize the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process for a critical trail reroute project. By recruiting professional botanists to conduct a volunteer survey of the trail project area, Mike gathered pertinent wildlife data and ensured the project was completed on schedule. Mike was also able to assist with capturing critical data accomplishments for volunteer reporting, Recreation Site Inventory, and the 10 Year Wilderness Stewardship Challenge.

“The district is deeply indebted to Mike for the enormous contributions he’s made,” said Monterey District Ranger Tim Short. “We’re extremely proud of Mike, and congratulate him on this prestigious award.”

The VWA will hold its Annual Gathering Saturday, June 14 from 11 am to 4 pm at Toro Park in Salinas to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act. Mike’s award will be presented to him during this event.

Upcoming fire season

•April 22, 2014 • 1 Comment

From Cheryl Goetz, Fire Chief, Mid-Coast Fire Brigade

Last week I attended the Annual Pre-Fire Season meeting and it was enlightening on how serious of a threat the United States Forest Service and Cal Fire are anticipating. Both agencies related that the conditions of this year have set us up for a repeat of the 2008 fire year (Basin Fire) with multiple large fire burning across the state and competing for limited resources. Cal Fire has already staffed engines and brought air tankers on contract which is unprecedented.

Fire Danger: 1,040 fires have been reported across the state since January 1, burning 2,393 acres.
This year’s fire activity is well above the year-to-date average of 428 wildfires, burning 1,179 acres.
87 new wildfires were reported over the past week, most of which were kept small due to additional firefighters, fire engines and firefighting aircraft added during this dry winter.


As you will note from the above graph (the Rim fire was still in progress, and eventually ended up in the number one spot for largest fire in CA history) three of the largest fires were started by lightning in June of 2008, including our own Basin Fire.

Personality One, by Don Harlan, part 6

•April 21, 2014 • 1 Comment


Happy Easter!

•April 20, 2014 • 3 Comments

From my friend, Dan Danbom


And yesterday he saw four mother calf pairs off Dolan Point. Okay, I’ll have to add that one from River Inn. Off for Easter with the Ladies of the Sur, in my new East bonnet – a Tilley’s. (Story to follow at a later date.)


Thank you, Dan. Yo made my Easter!

Foto Friday, 22

•April 18, 2014 • 1 Comment

Taken last week. Here are a couple more



Big Sur Marathon

•April 16, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Today’s Date: Wednesday, April 16, 2014
District: 05 – Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, San Benito and Santa
Cruz Counties
Contact: Susana Z Cruz (bilingual) or Colin Jones
Phone: (805) 549-3138 or 549-3189


MONTEREY COUNTY (CARMEL/BIG SUR) – The Big Sur International Marathon will be run along Highway 1 beginning at 7:00 a.m. on Sunday, April 27. The race will start in Big Sur and will end at Rio Road in Carmel.

Traffic on Highway 1 will be restricted from 4:00 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. Hwy. 1 will be closed from Sycamore Canyon Road to Carmel Valley Road. While the southbound lane is closed for the race, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) will use the northbound lane to lead caravans of traffic in alternating directions at three different intervals during this time. Therefore, motorists traveling in both directions should expect delays of up to two hours.

Coming El Niño?

•April 15, 2014 • 3 Comments

There are a lot of articles beginning to circulate about a possible very strong El Niño winter. Comparisons are being made to the El Niño of 1997-1998.

From a listing of historical floods in Monterey County going back to 1911 compiled by the MCWRA:

February 1998
In February 1998, a series of “El Niño” winter storms hit various parts of California, and particularly Monterey County. Close timing of the rainfall events contributed to intense flooding, in that heavy rain would continually hit ground that was still saturated from the previous rain. An estimated 50 roads and highways were closed or restricted, in most cases due to washouts, landslides, and mudslides. Several communities were evacuated, particularly the entire town of Pajaro near Watsonville, all residents of the Sherwood Lake Mobile Home Park near Carr Lake in Salinas, and portions of Bolsa Knolls and Toro Estates. Drinking water quality warnings remained in effect for certain areas for some time afterward. By the end of the first week of February, at least 6,600 homes and businesses had been without power for varying periods of time. The State Governor declared Monterey County, amongst others, a disaster area.

The most significant type of damage involved land and mudslides. In particular, the Las Lomas area experienced severe damage of eight residential parcels which Monterey County acquired, through the Federal Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, removing all property improvements. Each parcel was subsequently rezoned to “open space” in perpetuity.

County-wide, losses resulting from the February 1998 events are estimated at over $38 million, with specifically agriculture-related losses totaling over $7 million and involving approximately 29,000 damaged acres.
historical Floods in Monterey County

And here are the most recent ENSCO reports from NWA/NOAA





Historically, Spring predictions are often inaccurate on these, but the May 8th report promises to be more enlightening.


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