July 9th Palo Colorado Fire Meeting Summary

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We continue to be under and Evacuation Advisory.

From Palo Colorado to Lucia there is a soft close on the road and an Evacuation Advisory. Residents and workers with passes may enter this zone. Buildings and businesses are being inspected and we will soon hear when businesses plan to re-open to the public. They must first get road clearance, and because of fire equipment along the road and the potential for spot fires, we will have to wait a few more days at the least.

Today we woke to blue skies in Palo Colorado Canyon. The smoke that was lingering so heavily yesterday had cleared out, which made it possible for fire fighters to work more extensively and allowed for the use of air support. I was told that they were flying S2’s, C-130’s, MAFS (Modular Airborne Flying System), and the DC-10.

Fire crews worked to finish back burning on the North East containment lines. Crews back burned up to the summit of Devil’s Peak. While the plan is to back burn the entire perimeter of the fire along the dozer lines, the North flank of the fire is coming quite close to dozer lines that have not yet been back burned. It is expected that the fire will burn from Little Pines up to Big Pines either tonight or tomorrow. This means that the fire will be coming relatively close to parts of Carmel Valley and Cachagua. Therefore, crews may need to go direct on this section of the fire tonight or tomorrow.

While there is a possibility that the fire could jump the line near Big Pines, fire crews will try to hold the line there by going direct. If the fire were to spread, it could come around the containment lines to Palo Colorado’s North and hit us from the outside. Even if this were to occur, however, the fire would still be days away from us, as it would be advancing slowly.

Tonight could be an eventful night for this section of the fire. Fire fighters have noticed a pattern of fire activity particular to our location. As the marine layer comes in at night, it brings in humidity which reduces fire activity. However, between 1:00 and 3:00 am the this layer goes back out and humidity drops, resulting in faster burning and more fire activity.

We will need to wait and see what happens tonight, and will then know more about what to expect from the fire in coming days. Crews continue to work on contingency containment lines that go from White Rock into Garrapata Creek and just near the Devon Ranch. They could run dozers near Mt. Carmel.

Big Sur Valley looks to be in good shape. South of Big Sur Valley fire crews are working on back burning, but high humidity has kept the back burns from firing well.

Here is the latest weather report, courtesy of NOAA.

Overnight: Mostly cloudy, with a steady temperature around 66. Light northeast wind.

Thursday: Partly sunny, with a high near 84. Calm wind becoming west southwest between 5 and 8 mph.

Thursday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 63. West southwest wind between 5 and 8 mph becoming calm.

Friday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 79. Southwest wind between 6 and 8 mph.

Friday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 59. West southwest wind 5 to 8 mph becoming south southeast.

Saturday: Partly sunny, with a high near 80.

Saturday Night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 57.

Sunday: Partly sunny, with a high near 75.

Sunday Night: Patchy fog after 11pm. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a low around 54.

Monday: Patchy fog before 11am. Otherwise, mostly sunny, with a high near 71.

Monday Night: Patchy fog after 11pm. Otherwise, mostly cloudy, with a low around 52.

Tuesday: Patchy fog before 11am. Otherwise, mostly sunny, with a high near 72.

We were updated on the condition of the firefighter who was badly hurt while hiking during fire operation. She was part of the BLM Alaska Fire Service, and a Chena Hot Shot. We were told that she was diagnosed with rhabdomylosis, as syndrome that causes sever swelling of the muscle tissue which overloads the renal system.  Doctors were forced to remove all of the muscles in the front of her right leg in order to save the leg. We were encouraged to send cards and letters of support to:
Angela Yemma
11550 Homestake Peak
Littleton, CO 80127

We were told that from 9:00 pm to 1:00 am the FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared) flies looking for hot spots.

We were told that the Mid Coast Fire Brigade needs funds. A fund raiser is being set up by Mary Verigee, Rachel Muehler, and Pam Peck that will take place in mid November, around Thanksgiving.

One way to support the Mid-Coast Fire Brigade is by buying a t-shirt that will soon be available. The fire department needs people to answer the phones at least though Sunday. (I will be there tomorrow!)

Also, checks can be sent to:
Mid-Coast Fire Brigade
Palo Colorado
Carmel, CA 93923
Donations are 501C3 tax deductible.

We were told that the county crew that has been clearing the road has worked their way from Bottcher’s Gap to the Hoist. They will continue to HWY 1. There are only 4 guys clearing, which is the entire crew for the county of Monterey. They have been coming in early and staying late. As they are working on the road, residents should leave themselves extra time coming and going on the road.

We were also reminded of the Labor Day Picnic. Hopefully it will be a time for us to all come back together and celebrate making it through the fire safely.

Phil Yenovkian of the Office of Emergency Services (OES) came back to the meeting tonight with good news. After meeting with others at the OES, he thinks that he will be able to help us with some of our tree and brush issues. OES is not allowed to come onto private land, however, OES is working out a plan to dispose of tree limbs and brush if we can bring it to Palo Colorado’s main road. There will be designated days and designated drop off points. He will be able to bring in 3 or 4 chippers to help us. He said that he really wants to help us, and that at this point he is not saying no to anything, and will look into the feasibility of all requests.

We were told that Jerri has been working on the neighborhood maps and they are looking good. She wants to remind us that they are completely confidential and are only for the use of the Mid-Coast Fire Brigade. The maps will be labeled with everyone’s house number or name in the absence of a number. Then there will be a corresponding sheet which lists everyone on the property and where water and propane tanks are.

We were reminded to leave our gates open of to purchase a KNOX Lock. This is a system that works like a regular gate lock, but that has a universal key only held by fire departments. The key can not be duplicated and is kept inside to the fire truck to be used only for emergency purposes.

Lastly, this is a new website I just found. It does not have totally new information, but it is very official, and it always helps to read the same information put a different way. It is the “Daily Situation Report” from the Southern California Geographic Area Coordination Center Intelligence:
http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/fire/south/fwx/operations/osc-archive/sitreport.html

I hope everyone is doing well. I look forward to the Labor Day Picnic celebration.

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