Big Sur Information

•July 24, 2015 • 64 Comments

Header Photograph – by SCOTT MOFFATT.

Getting through times like this is a community effort, and the more we do to support one another, the better our community becomes – and all around the Santa Lucias, North, South, East and West, we are one community, as we are reminded every large fire. Thanks for helping to strengthen our community by sharing, helping and praying for one another.

Soberanes Fire Rehabilitation: BAER REPORTS

Soberanes Fire Donation Organizations:



Mid Coast Fire Brigade

Community Foundation

Big Sur Health Center

#SoberanesFire Monterey County residents needing information should contact the Information Line at 831-204-0446.

info for Disaster Unemployment Assistance 1800-300-5616 English

Spanish 1-800-326-8937


Again, for those who of you  who want to get in touch with me,


This Big Sur blog has been around since 2008. Its focus is to cover events affecting Big Sur including fires, road conditions, weather, and local non-profit events. I also have a soft spot for dogs, so I cover lost and found dogs. Send your news and photos, and we will do our best to post them. send to:

You may notice that I have started a new page to keep the conversation going on the overuse of Big Sur. I hope all will participate and donate ideas, thoughts, and research. See Pages in the sidebar to the right. Or click on this link: OVERUSE OF BIG SUR

I have also created a page for photographs of problem areas taken by myself and others. You can find that on my “pages” in the sidebar or by clicking on this link: Loving Big Sur to Death – photos

HEADER PHOTO…is by  Scott Moffat of the Soberanes Fire. (Size for any headers you may wish to submit it is 760×151 pixels.)

Soberanes Fire, Day 65, 9/24/16

•September 24, 2016 • 15 Comments

For those of you on FB, check out Bryan Rhodes’s, Operations Chief, morning report. Very specific and informative. A link will only take you to their page, not the specific video, but scroll down a few posts and you will see it. LPNF FB page

9:30 am – John Chesnut Map:


Again, from J Croft, USFS:

“Looks like the firing operation on the SE corner is going to be very patient & diligent, looking for the right winds and conditions. This will mean periods of limited to no firing, and periods of extensive firing when the opportunities are in their favor. Our daily air quality forecast and any change in health advisory is posted in collaboration with the Monterey Bay Air Resource Board on the California Smoke Blog daily- Thanks again for joining our efforts to reach as many folks as possible and share the information!”

Not much growth yesterday, but I was watching a lot of dark, drift smoke from the interior I just before sunset last night. Here are the usual maps.


IR Topo Map in PDF


Briefing Map in PDF

And after a couple days absent, we have the current fire behavior and weather prediction discussions for both sides of the fire:


CA Classic Coast Bicycle Ride

•September 23, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Today’s Date: Friday, September 23, 2016
District: 05–Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, San Benito and Santa
Cruz Counties
Contact: Jim Shivers or Colin Jones
Phone: (805) 549-3237 or (805) 549-3189


CENTRAL COAST – The California Classic Coast bicycle ride will arrive in Santa Cruz County using portions of Highway 1 on Saturday Sept. 24. The approximately 250 riders will continue south next week in the following locations:

Local roads in Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties on Sunday, Sept. 25
Hwy. 1 from Carmel to Big Sur in Monterey County on Monday, Sept. 26.
Hwy. 1 from Big Sur to Cambria in Monterey/San Luis Obispo Counties on Tuesday, Sept. 27.
Portions of Hwy. 1 between Cambria and Oceano in San Luis Obispo County on Wednesday, Sept. 28.
Hwy. 1 from Oceano to Buellton on State Routes 166, 154 and 246 in San Luis Obispo/Santa Barbara Counties on Thursday, Sept. 29.
Portions of State Route 246 and US Highway 101 between Buellton and Santa Barbara in Santa Barbara County on Friday, Sept. 30.

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) will be present to ensure a safe environment for everyone. Electronic Message Boards will be posted alerting motorists to ‘Share the Road’ with cyclists. Motorists can expect delays not to exceed 15 minutes.

Soberanes Fire, Day 64, 9/23/16

•September 23, 2016 • 14 Comments

7:30 pm – for Jen Croft of the USFS for Air Quality: “As requested, we wanted to share the heads up that these favorable NNE winds will provide a great opportunity for the firing operations to resume along the SE corner tomorrow. Associated smoke should move off towards Tassajara and Big Sur. It might get a little smokey in the evening as the cooler temps settle smoke in the drainages, but these efforts are one step closer to the successful containment.”

Photo by the USFS:


Reminder – there is a community meeting at the Fire House in Arroyo Seco tomorrow, Sat the 24th at 6 pm.

On a personal note, I am leaving later this am for lunch in Big Sur Valley, which means I will be in and out of cell phone range (and thus Internet) until late afternoon. Looks like a gorgeous day for a drive here on the west side of the fire.

7:30 am – John Chesnut’s map:


7 am – we lost a little over 1,000 acres since the last IR map. Here is today’s;


IR Topo Map in PDF


Briefing Map in PDF


IR Ops Map in PDF

The IAP still has the fire behavior and weather prediction discussions from Wed-Thurs.




Soberanes Fire, Day 63, 9/22/16

•September 22, 2016 • 32 Comments

7:15 pm – “These are the Zuni Firefighters from New Mexico..they are going around to each resident on East Carmel Valley Road several miles up from the Arroyo Seco Rd. intersection, to make sure there is enough defensible perimeters around structures to be protected in case the fire comes in..amazing how considerate they all are..Clybert is standing by the car…bless them for all their personal safety concerns and hard work..we all have evacuation warnings here..
Alva Ana Sargenti…East Carmel Valley Road…”


John Chesnut’s pm map:


Looks to have been more quiet than expected. Always welcome.

Great short video describing what happened last night and what is expected today here:

USFS Team 4 Facebook video

And for those of you who want to see the proper, ano very detailed group of weather forecasts for both sides of the fire go here: (too many for me to upload)

Weather matrix and discussions

This from Tassajara:

The fire is moving closer to Tassajara. There is large potential for a wind event beginning this afternoon into tomorrow morning, with gusts up to 30 to 40 mph from the NW. This is significant not only because of the high winds but also because of the direction, which topographically lines up with the Church Creek watershed to Tassajara. Many pairs of eyes are watching for this weather event.
Today (9/22), the ZMC Fire Brigade is preparing for the possibility of the Tassajara firing operation starting at around 12 PM. Depending on conditions however, it may start today, tomorrow, or the next day.

Also, remember the Monks have the Alpine Hotshot Crew with them to help this time.

Here is the trail map Big Sur Trail Map



10:00 am – Here is John Chesnut’s map for this am, as well as the usual update by the USFS:


Daily Update: September 22, 2016 (this is the “Press Release”) – personally, the information found on inciweb is a bit more thorough, including weather predictions.

I would suggest visiting and bookmarking:


Fire Information Line: (831) 204-0446 – Email: (Which has never answered me)

Current Size: 125,344 acres (88,150 acres CA-LPF; 37,194 acres CAL FIRE)

Containment: 71% Personnel: 2,302 Cause: Illegal campfire Injuries: 1 fatality, 7 injuries

Structures Destroyed:
57 homes, 11 outbuildings

Current Situation:

High winds with gusts as high as 35-40 mph are expected to continue through today. A dry cold front will create challenges in all areas of the Soberanes Fire, particularly along drainages that align with wind direction. Steep terrain and drought-stricken fuels increase the likelihood of difficult control efforts.

High winds overnight were counteracted by higher than expected relative humidity, limiting fire spread. Continued high winds are likely to increase intensity along the fire edges. The winds also will test the containment lines and could cause increased activity in seemingly dormant areas of the incident.

Firefighting efforts on Wednesday were focused on two spot fires burning outside primary containment lines. The spot fires were the result of wind-blown embers from within the containment lines. Neither spot fire expanded on Wednesday. Aggressive mop-up operations will continue today.

Line-building burnout operations, which were highly successful in recent days are largely on hold until weather conditions are more favorable. In the face of difficult conditions, efforts today will be to successfully hold established fire lines. In all cases and at all times, safety of firefighters and the public are paramount.

Evacuation orders and warnings remain in effect in the eastern areas of the fire. Information on evacuations is available at (click on the Announcements tab).

Air monitoring is being conducted throughout the incident. Communities affected by drift smoke include Tassajara,Carmel Valley, Cachagua, and Arroyo Seco..

A community meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24, at the fire station in Arroyo Seco, 46700 Arroyo Seco Road.

For more information, visit: or follow us on social media at or
Other contacts: SPCA, (831) 646-5534; American Red Cross, (831) 424-4824.

6:30 am – here’s one I haven’t seen before – an IR Operations Map:


IR Operations Map in PDF

5:00 am – And, one more time, ladies and gents … Another almost 2k acres added … For a total of 125, 230 acres …


IR Topo Map in PDF


Operations Map in PDF

And here are the morning’s fire behavior and weather prediction discussions:


Soberanes Day 62 – Photos

•September 21, 2016 • 14 Comments

Here are a couple photos take by Ellen Hrabak Beck as her flight flew over our area:


I love this portrait of a young hotshot from Oregon by Michael Troutman:


By Mike Morales, because we all need a little art in the midst of destruction. Fire Sunrise.


By Michael Troutman taken yesterday


Soberanes Fire, Day 62, 9/21/16

•September 21, 2016 • 27 Comments

9 pm – flare up reported on Mt. Manuel, and no power in Big Sur Valley. Damn … I am so tired of this. I can’t get any IR info right now for the Big Sur Valley, but this afternoon shows a couple flare ups on the interior sections of the west side of the fire.(see 004 and 005 below.)


The VIIRS overpass (time stamp 2:15 PM) has been posted. Active heat in Pine Valley, and one spot down in the extreme SE corner. No heat detection in the Anastasia/Bear Trap slop-over
The Hastings weather station shows steady 13 NW wind, with gusts to 19 at 2 PM. Wind is building steadily. Map by John Chesnut.


This is the morning VETS map, finally posted on line, this shows the Chew’s Ridge detail.


Div L Detail map in PDF

Interesting loop map of the fire progression here (thanks Lucas Ryan!)

Fire Progression loop map

From Cachagua about 1 pm by unknown photographer from Instagram:


1:43 pm – right now from Laureles Grade looking toward Carmel Valley Village by Sandy O’Keefe Bellany:


Today’s status report (current situation only):

” A Red Flag Warning takes effect this afternoon and is expected to remain in effect through Thursday. Potential gusting winds of 25-35 mph have prompted the warning. Large fire runs and increased activity on ridge tops and west-northwest aligned drainages are possible. There is a concern that hot spots could intensify and threaten established east-side containment lines. Wind-driven embers from hot spots could ignite spot fires as far away as 0.75 miles [Ed note – In today’s fire behavior discussion it puts spotting at 1 mile OR MORE for Thursday – so a good example of one set of information for firefighters, and another for the public]. Firefighters will be staged and prepared to deal with that contingency.

A Red Flag Warning indicates the onset of critical weather and fuel moisture conditions that could lead to rapid or dramatic increases in wildfire activity. Factors may include low relative humidity, strong winds, and dry fuels.

Firefighters on Tuesday and early today successfully limited progress of hot spots burning outside the primary containment line north of Chews Ridge and near Arroyo Seco.

Both of those spots continue to burn but neither is advancing. Both are within secondary containment lines. [Ed. note – up until this report, PIOs have insisted, to me, anyway that they were within containment lines – no discussion of primary and secondary, despite questioning. This change is a welcome step toward better communication.] Evacuation orders and warnings remain in effect as a result of the Chews Ridge spot fire. Information on all Soberanes Fire evacuation orders and warnings is available at

The burnout operations of the past week, which have been highly successful in establishing and strengthening the containment lines, will be limited because of the changing weather conditions.

A community meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24, at the fire station in Arroyo Seco. A well-attended community meeting was held in Arroyo Seco on Tuesday.”

From inciwebs report today, a few statements of interest (in no particular order):

1) “Current uncontained fire perimeter is 75 miles with a total planned 191.1 miles to reach containment objectives.”

2)”Coordination with the Pacific Southwest Regional Office and Los Padres National Forest is underway for additional use of mechanized equipment within a small portion the Ventana Wilderness. This operation will enhance firefighter safety, and minimize risk to life and property within the area.”

3) “12 Hours: The Red Flag Warning issued for the area has the potential to aid in large fire runs and increase fire activity on the ridge tops and WNW aligned drainages. Hot spots near the line will have an increased probability of threatening containment lines.”

To find your own statements of interest try here: Inciweb for Soberanes

From John Chesnut:

“Very few hot spots detected in the overnight VIIRS pass (shown with fire icon). That is very good news for the day.

The pix you uploaded yesterday showed a smoker from Carmel Valley Road being worked by helicopters with retardant — this is the area highlighted with arrow in bottom right corner of image. The smoker is outside the primary containment line, but as your pix showed has retardant lines all around it.

Note there is a tiny hot spot right at the buildings at Church Creek/Caves — this might be a patrol or backfire around the buildings.

Got my fingers crossed that with another good day the FF will be ready for a windstorm.”


Today’s Maps:


IR Topo Map in PDF


Ops Briefing Map in PDF

And here are the weather predictions and fire behavior discussions for both the east and west sides of the fire.  Due to winds, low humidity, and possible slope alignment spotting up to a mile or more is possible. Head on a swivel this wind event still predicted to begin at 3 this afternoon and go until 9 pm Thursday.


Soberanes Photos, Day 61

•September 20, 2016 • 12 Comments

Today from Carmel Valley Road at noon two miles north of Arroyo Seco Rd. looking west. Photos; Mike Morales



BLM engine and crew staging on Carmel Valley Rd. The crew is from Susanville/Modoc.


september20image1620Retardant line in Arroyo Seco extend down to the road. Fire at 1:30 was visible on the peak in the distance.


Photo by Vanessa Radley from her backyard in the Arroyo Seco area taken yesterday.



Photo by Ed Mellinger from Carmel Valley Village looking SW


Today’s plume from Bruce Dormondy:


From Howard Jones this am, from east CVR as well as near the Miller Ranch:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

%d bloggers like this: