Archive for October, 2008

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

October 24, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.