11/20: Craft Fair Location Announced

November 20, 2008 by

The Annual Big Sur Fall Harvest Art & Crafts Fair will take place at the Big Sur Station (known also as the Rangers Station, the Multi-Use Facility, etc.) from 10:00am-4:00pm Saturday November 29th and Sunday November 30th. If you have any questions contact Teresa Sutton at:


Big Sur Harvest Art & Crafts Fair

Saturday & Sunday, November 29th & 30th


~ handmade crafts and fine art, jewelry, gifts & food ~


Highway Open Again, Winter Prep Meetings Next Week, Ventana Re-opening

October 24, 2008 by

Headlines from Big Sur this morning from Stan Russell at the Chamber of Commerce:

Highway Re-opened

As of 3 PM today, Friday, October 24, Caltrans has announced that Highway 1 is open again without restrictions.

Winter Preparations Meetings Next Week

Agenda for next week’s community meeting on SEAT report and
winter storm preparedness

Please see the attached flyer regarding a series of community meetings
that are being hosted by Sup. Dave Potter and Sup. Simon Salinas.

We want people to be aware of the strong potential for flooding and
increased damages as a result of the Basin Complex Fire.  The upper
watersheds in our community have been severely impacted as a result of
this summer’s fires and all residents living in the Carmel Valley,
Cachagua, Arroyo Seco, Big Sur communities and those along the Carmel
River need to be aware that this winter can bring life threatening
mudslides, debris flows and flooding.

The meetings, which will be held next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday,
from 6 to 8 pm, will discuss the State’s Environmental Assessment Report
which outlines potential problems from winter storms.  Representatives
from the Office of Emergency Services, National Weather Service,
American Red Cross, SPCA of Monterey County, Monterey County Water
Resources Agency and the Monterey County Resource Management Agency will
present information on how to prepare your home, family and pets for a
winter storm.

Please spread the word in your community and I hope that you can attend
one of these important meetings.

Kathleen Lee
Chief of Staff
Supervisor Dave Potter
(831) 647-7755

Tuesday, October 28th
6 to 8 pm
Hidden Valley Music Seminar, 88  W. Carmel Valley Road, Carmel Valley

Wednesday, October 29th
6 to 8 pm
Big Sur Lodge Conference Room, Pfeiffer State Park, Big Sur

Thursday, October 30th
6 to 8 pm
Arroyo Seco Fire Department, 46700 Arroyo Seco Road, Greenfield

Ventana Inn Re-Opening

Ventana Inn and Spa will re-open Friday, October 31.

Highway 1 is Open!

October 24, 2008 by

Caltrans has announced Highway 1 is open at 10:00 AM this morning. (Friday, October 24)

All skate!

Expect 1/2 hour delays and escorts through the fire/slide area.

Big Sur Chamber of Commerce

Highway 1 Closed Tonight near Limekiln

October 22, 2008 by

From Stan Russell with the Big Sur Chamber:

Hello Big Sur!

A quick note to let you know that the fire activity around Limekiln State
Park loosened enough debris onto the roadway that Highway 1 will be closed
for tonight, Wednesday, October 22. Caltrans will be clearing the roadway at
6:00AM Thursday morning. If all goes as planned the road will be opened
first thing Thursday morning.

Keep your eye on the California Highway Patrol Incident Information Page for

Also, Riverside Campground & Cabins is having a BBQ Oct. 25 & 26 for anyone
who would like to stop by and help them fill sand bags. 9am – 5pm each day.

Another note: the sudden oak death meeting scheduled for Pacific Grove this
Thursday has been cancelled.



October 17, 2008 by

From Los Padres National Forest at Noon 10/17:

Monterey County Sheriff’s Department has issued an EVACUATION WARNING in effect for the Limekiln north and the New Camaldoli Hermitage.  This warning is given for affected areas where there is imminent threat to life and property.  Persons who receive this notice should evacuate in accordance with the direction of the deputies on scene.


An EVACUATION WATCH has been issued by the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department for Lucia north to Lopez Point.  This order is for areas where a threat to life and property exists.  Persons issued this notice are not required to evacuate but should be prepared to evacuate should an Evacuation Warning be issued.

Significant resources (handcrews, engines and dozers) are engaged in structure preparations.

The fire was very active last night and spread north towards Twin Peak into the west fork of Limekiln Creek testing contingency lines.   .

Air tankers and helicopters making retardants and water drops to reduce fire intensity and slow the fire’s spread and crews are working direct where possible.  Fire fighter and public safety remains the highest priority.

Important Chalk Fire Information

October 17, 2008 by

WIth the extremely hot and dry weather, fire conditions have changed and put officials on alert at the Chalk Fire. The USFS upgraded the growth potential of the fire from “low” to “medium” last night and issued this statement:

“Tomorrow a firing operation may be initiated to strengthen hand line and retardant line that was established along the top of the fire from Cone Peak to Twin Peak and southwest from Twin Peak towards Highway 1. The firing operation will be completed in two phases. Because of the rugged terrain and to minimize risk to fire fighters, the first phase may be completed by helitorch. The second phase will be by crews hand firing from Twin Peak towards Highway 1. The firing operation may take several days to complete. There is no immediate threat to Limekiln, Lucia, Lopez Point or the Hermitage, however, residents should stay alert to the fire’s activity in their area. If evacuation steps are needed, the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department will issue the notice.”

Kate Novoa published this statement from a local firefirghter, also from last night:

“Some talk of an IMT being ordered if conditions don’t moderate over the next day, or if contingency lines don’t hold. The original concern was brought forward by the LPF FFMO on Tuesday as fire conditions were changing significantly on the incident. Concerns were based upon reports from the Type 3 IC and his ‘team’ and forwarded upwards to ‘the Line Officers’ for decision. Several ground resources from SoCal fires reassigned to the Chalk Fire today, including an aerial armada including ten airtankers, multiple helitankers, helicopters, and aerial supervision. While the line officers waited, the fire made the ultimate decision, necessitating immediate fire management action.”

For Inciweb updates on the Chalk Fire:


For some spectacular images of the fire around Cone Peak last night, visit:


Also, there will be a Community Meeting for residents impacted by the Chalk Fire with the BAER Team:

Monday, October 20, 2008
4:30 PM
At Community Center, Pacific Valley School

Heavy Chalk Fire Activity Today

October 16, 2008 by

As most of you in the area can probably smell or see, the Chalk Fire is burning very actively today at the top of Hare Canyon.  As of last night, the Forest Service is still reporting that full containment is expected by tomorrow and no structures have burned or are threatened.  Remember to take care, especially when doing much outdoor activity, on poorer air quality days.

For updates, please visit:


More Cove and Chalk Fire Info

October 15, 2008 by

Reported from Jim Kimball this evening:

This morning (Wednesday) a fire brigade person spotted a smoke while she was descending from Partington Ridge and also close to that same time the State Park reported a smoke some 300 yards east of the Highway near JP Burns State Park, The Air Attack over the Chalk Fire flew up the coast and located the smoke on the Tin House Road at the 1200 foot level,

The Chalk Fire diverted one helicopter to help with bucket drops on the Tin House incident and while in that process snipped a power line at Partington Cove, which started another fire, the Cove Fire.

The Cove Fire was burning up a very steep slope right next to the highway creating a hazard of falling debris on the road below. I waited on the south end from around 12:30 to about 14:30 to proceed north. I am not sure if the highway stayed open from that point on or if it was closed down again due to the hazardous fire conditions.

The Chalk Fire has threatened to cross the Hare Creek drainage to the north side above Lime Kiln State Park and if it does it would possible burn all the way to the established contingency lines all the way up to Twin Peak. The helicopters assigned to the Chalk Fire have been limited due to smoke in the burn area yesterday but were thought to have better visibility today. Today at noon the Incident Command for the Chalk Fire changed and as the Cove Fire had requested a full response, which should have included an additional helicopter, (537 I believe) the new IC denied a request for any of the Chalk Fire Helicopters.

The new helicopter arrived but possibly in need of a bucket, and a refueling. Not sure how that all worked out as I left the area.


October 15, 2008 by

Confirmation from local fire crews this evening that not only is the Partington fire contained, it’s totally out.  Huge hurrahs again and again to all our incredible local people, CAL Fire and the Forest Service crews.

Partington Cove Fire Update

October 15, 2008 by

More news about the Partington fire from sources on the ground there:

There was a flare-up from the “original” fire up near the Tin house, which drew air support earlier in the day.  One of the helicopters working the flare-up clipped a power line which started a second, larger fire in lower Partington canyon.  Latest news is that the fire is moving slowly and the chances for full containment soon are good.  There is air and ground support working the area vigilantly now.

4pm update: The fire is still burning and the terrain is incredilbly steep, but crews are feeling confident about the situation.  More when we know it… (Note: there are rumors there was a helicopter crash – this is NOT the case.)


Scare on Clear Ridge and new Partington fire

October 15, 2008 by

Early this afternoon reports began coming in about a fire on or near Partington Ridge caused by a helicopter clipping a power line. A fire-related slide closed the highway temporarily and has been cleared so traffic can now pass.  A second fire was reported after 1pm on Clear Ridge.  I have confirmed that this fire, caused by a vehicle, has been successfully contained at 1/4 acre.

Latest news from the Partington fire is good – that it is nearing containment.

Information will be posted here as it comes in.


July 19, 2008 by


The OES has already submitted an Initial Damage Estimate (IDE) up to the state. This data is used as the basis to make the initial request for federal assistance. Step two in this process is for the State and FEMA to conduct a Preliminary Damage Assessment, where they verify the initial damage estimate. We are finally at step two! Once completed we will finally have a decision on federal assistance (Step 3.)

Please help us in contacting ALL of the listed residents and businesses who had damages and lost revenue. We still have not received completed damage surveys from most residents and/or caretakers & owners. If you know how to get in touch, please have them complete the forms below.

There are two options.

Option A:

Click on the two links below, complete them on your computer and e-mail them to the address listed below:

Form 1 – Business and Economic Impact Assessment – Excel Spreadsheet (For Business Owners and Self-Employed Residents)

Form 2 – Business or Residence Damage Survey – Microsoft Word Document (For Individuals and Businesses with property damage)

E-mail completed form(s) to Rob Clyburn at ClyburnRA@co.monterey.ca.us

Option B:

Click on the links above, or the more print-ready forms below, that you can fill out by hand and return at a table that the CPOA will staff at the Big Sur Bakery on Monday, July 21st, from 10AM to 12PM.  They will assist you in filling these out if you have questions:

Form 1 – Business and Economic Impact Assessment – text file (For Business Owners and Self-Employed Residents)

Form 2 – Business or Residence Damage Survey – PDF (For Individuals and Businesses with property damage)

Please let your neighbors know!

Notes from the Burned Area Response Team (BAER) meeting

July 18, 2008 by

These are notes from the Burned Area Response Team (BAER) meeting held at the Multi-Agency Facility at The Big Sur Station on Thursday Evening July 17th at 6 P.M. taken by Belinda Shoemaker (thanks Belinda!):

Firstly, as Lisa Goettel was unable to attend the meeting last night, I agreed to take the notes. My apologies up-front for my lesser standard of note taking!

The BAER team members; Mike Boone, incident commander for the west side and John Bradford from the U.S Forrest Service under the leadership of Kevin Cooper (previously the BAER team leader for the Kirk fire in 1999) each gave presentations and took questions and answers from the community about the plans in hand for the long and short term emergency stabilization and rehabilitation of the areas affected by the Basin Complex Fire in Big Sur.  Frank Pinney represented The Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade.

Up-date from Mike Boone – Incident Commander:

  • Mike reported the good news that over the last few days the fire fighters have continued to make excellent progress in and around the Boy Scout camp area. Additionally Mike reported:
  • Problems with fallen trees and landslides around boy scout camp.
  • Numerous 911 calls to which they are willing to respond. These calls pertain mainly to flare-ups and smoke areas.  Mike suggests if residents feel there are significant threats they should come down to highway 1 to the response unit. Response time might be faster and free up the 911 system.
  • The tan oaks within the containment area will continue to smoke for several weeks.
  • They continue to do water barning to reduce to suppress burn and smoke areas (some of us witnessed Chinook helicopters yesterday. They continue to draw water from the ocean.)
  • 160 person crew remains stationed at Molera, and includes 12 fire engines and 3 hand crews. This number will be reduced over the weekend. A crew will continue to be in Big Sur over night.

Frank Pinney expressed concern about, and the need to look forward to winter and what is likely to occur.  In response to this Kevin Cooper proceeded with his presentation.

Presentation by Kevin Cooper, BAER Team Leader:
Kevin gave a slide presentation outlining plans for Big Sur. Please see video recording of the meeting for details.

  • The objective of the BAER team is to protect life, property, cultural, and natural resources.
  • The Baer process includes; assessment/prescription and treatment of the burn areas, implantation of remediation plan, monitoring of treatment plan.
  • The goal is to minimize threats to property, roads, and facilities
  • The BAER team will consider the likely rain fall and its effects on watersheds.
  • The team will analyze and repair the damage caused by equipment, trucks, vehicles, dozer lines, helipads etc. used for suppression work. They will also focus on burn area rehabilitation and stabilization of area as a whole.
  • Analytical phase will take one week and begin on August 11th.
  • A hydrologist will be part of the team.
  • Satellite imagery will continue to be used to map out hot-spots and to identify which areas will be more prone to flooding.
  • Agency coordination will include; federal, state, local agencies and hydrologists etc.
  • The emergency plan in place is not the same as a FEMA emergency program.
  • In the interest of public safety there might be some road closures, and hazard warnings will be given.
  • John Bradford, BAER team member representing the Forrest Service will lead the effort to stabilize and rehabilitate forest area.

Robert Clyburn, our representative from the Office of Emergency Services (OES) stated that he will continue to coordinate and liaise with emergency services and the community at large.

Caltrans has a contract open within 12 watersheds where they see problems concerning culverts.

Assistance Available:

Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) will provide technical assistance in order to assist in the preservation and protection around developments.

Emergency Watershed Protection Program is available in Monterey County to assist property owners via various agencies in the remediation and protection of private land. Grants are available whereby 75% of cost will be provided by federal agencies, and 25% of cost will be paid by home owner. Contact OES for further details.

Red Cross needs to find all property owners and renters who have suffered significant damage and do not have insurance. If you fall into this category please call the main chapter 2 at 831-624-6921.

Frank Pinney met with the Big Sur Land Trust today to work on a grant for fire suppression.

Coast Property Owners Association (CPOA) continues to play a significant role in coordinating donations and other offers for help for the community during this time. Gratitude was expressed for all their hard work and financial support to date.

Need for Volunteers:
Ventana Wilderness would like to hear from anyone willing to donate their time.
Please also follow links on http://www.surfire2008 for general community needs.
For further details regarding the community question and answer session following presentations please watch the video of the meeting.

Important: Big Sur Damage Assessment Requires Your Input

July 17, 2008 by

The Monterey County Office of Emergency Services is asking all Big Sur businesses, self-employed residents, and individuals who have sustained property damage to please fill out the following two forms as soon as possible and e-mail them to Rob Clyburn of the OES. The purpose of these forms is to gather as much data as possible on damages and losses due to the combined fires.

These are not applications for assistance, but are critical in determining how much assistance Big Sur will receive in the recovery efforts.

Form 1 – Business and Economic Impact Assessment – Excel Spreadsheet (For Business Owners and Self-Employed Residents)

Form 2 – Business or Residence Damage Survey – Microsoft Word Document (For Individuals and Businesses with property damage)

E-mail completed form(s) to Rob Clyburn at ClyburnRA@co.monterey.ca.us

This data is used by OES to request individual and business assistance for all who experienced a loss due to the fire. Personal data is not shared, and will only be accessed by relief agencies on an individual basis. For confidentiality, responses should be emailed direct to me. In the last few days a lot of work and coordination has been going on to help with the recovery process. Current updates are:

  • The State is awaiting a decision regarding whether FEMA is going to recommend declaring a full disaster for areas impacted by fires. Currently there is only an Emergency Declaration. If there is a presidential disaster declaration, this will open the door to additional assistance, both for public agencies and private individuals or businesses. If full FEMA assistance is not made available, the Small Business Administration has programs for individuals and businesses typically in the form of low-interest loans.
  • The County will establish a Local Assistance Center to serve those who were impacted by the fires. Because this shop will include federal, state, local and non-profit groups, we cannot begin operations until we have a decision on FEMA assistance. We ask that everyone continue to be patient and trust that we are doing all that we can. Due to decreased turn-out, we are no longer staffing The Grange, but are following up on all inquires regarding recovery and assistance. We ask that the community and impacted individuals continue to contact us if there are specific needs or agencies they would like to have represented at the assistance center. Tomorrow I will provide a draft list of current LAC agencies and groups for posting in order to give the community an idea of current agencies and services who are planned to participate. Only organizations with a current non-profit status may participate, but we can include a contact list for other groups who wish to do so.
  • The County is working hard to complete a Permit Plan that will address the process for those who need to rebuild or repair. As soon as the plan is completed it will be published to ensure widest dissemination.
  • We are also nearing completion on a Debris Removal Plan to assist in recovery efforts. A portion of the plan will address low-cost or no-cost debris removal and clean-up. The plan will be completed soon, in the interim we would like to ask residents to please be patient and avoid handling or removing debris.

Rob Clyburn, Monterey County OES

(831) 796-1902


Basin Complex East Information Links

July 13, 2008 by

Hello! I have been doing some researching to find good sources of information on the Basin Complex East. Thank you to people who have sent me links. If you have any other links to good information, please send them along! This is what I have found at this point:

This is someone attending fire meetings and writing up summaries and giving first hand accounts of what it is like to be in Jamesburg right now. Definitely the most information about the East side of the fire that I have found so far.


A good standby:


This is the official County of Monterey site. It gives good, brief, official information.


This is a non-official, but more detailed site that gives timely information along with thermal maps:


This seems to be an official federal site. If you scroll down about 3/4 of the way on this one there is some good information.


This is where I get my weather reports from. Go to the page, then type in your city and state in the box on the upper left hand side (not the right hand box, this does something else), and you can then narrow down your area. Then it will show you a map that you can click on to make your location and elevation even more accurate. Takes a bit of guess work with the elevation, but it works.