Posts Tagged ‘OES’


July 19, 2008


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

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!


Important: Big Sur Damage Assessment Requires Your Input

July 17, 2008

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

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

7/11 – Last Big Sur Community Fire Meeting Notes

July 11, 2008

With an intimate little turnout, the meeting began with announcement that this will be our last fire meeting in Big Sur.

Mike Dietrich and the IC will be transitioning to another fire team on Monday. Mike D. introduced Mike Boone who will be replacing him and whose team will ensure the fire remains where it is, safely in containment lines.

The fire was a “happy fire” today – crews were able to bring fire all the way to the top of the northern containment lines before humidities came up and they had to stop burning operations for the moment.  When conditions are more favorable they will be able to burn all the way down to the Los Padres dam, sealing off the threat to Carmel Valley.

The area from Bottcher’s Gap to Devil’s peak will be complete by tomorrow morning which will tie up the Palo Colorado threat. (clapping!!)

There’s one little spot along Old Coast Road that is still being worked by crews.

The fire is still active down south in the southeast corner – it’s number one focus for the east side crew. The fire didn’t move today and fire line construction is under way.

The road is opening south of Coast Gallery on Sunday morning.

The Basin fire is not out – it’s still very active, though the west side is 90% contained.  The fire is just under the Observatory right now, but is laying down and they expect crews will save it.

The fire did burn through Tassajara and four outbuildings were lost, but everyone is safe.
Next steps are to continue burning the eastern line until the fire is fully contained.

Mike Boone who is coming in is a local guy who knows the area and his crew will be based out of Molera, eating at our restaurants, helping our economy and taking care of spot fires.

Spot fires are popping up and will continue to do so in the coming weeks and months. 99% of them will be benign. Please be very discerning when reporting a spot fire – only report true threats.

The local fire team will be downsizing significantly to 100-150 people starting Monday do clean up.  They hope to be at a point very soon where they’re not staffed during the evenings. 5-7 more days until they’re downsized further into a true rehab mode.

Sam Farr was at the meeting and had these messages to share:

Thanks for calling me with your concerns. I have brought pressure to get the road opened and we’re glad it worked.  Mike and Frank have been great through this and we’ve learned a lot. We passed a great bill this week to open up emergency funds for the forest service and fire fighting.  We’re working like crazy to get all the fires in California declared a national disaster so personal losses can use FEMA support.  Keep all your notes on expenditures made and track income lost!

I sponsored, and Congress unanimously adopted a resolution on Saturday to thank all the firefighters – a framed copy was given to Frank Pinney.

Lessons: we can do a way better job of mapping, we need local people to stay in and work as emergency personnel in this situation.  Let’s really take the lessons learned.  Make a note now, while it’s still fresh, of the things you think we could better do to prepare ourselves in the future.  We can be a model for how other communities do it.  Let’s turn this into a learning lesson and asset for all of us.

On to social service announcements, etc:

The Health Center is back in business full time – they will continue to provide free and discounted services to everyone who has been financially impacted by the fire.  More than 900 cases were treated by Health Center volunteers since this started, and they will continue to serve the firefighters on the new crew coming in to Molera.  Thank you Sharon!!

SPCA will have free pet food on Sunday between 10-2 at Fernwood.

CPOA is transitioning from a relief effort to a planning phase – determining next steps how to best assist the community get back on it’s feet.  Checks not yet picked up will be available at the Grange on Tuesday.

Rob at OES expects to have the damage assessment report done within the next week and half, and then we’ll have a “one-stop-shop” available to provide assistance in the rebuild.  Pick up and fill out a form from them at the Grange – it will tell you more about what services will be available when this is “shop” is open and help you define your needs.

The essential impact of this fire in Big Sur is currently estimated at $781 million – including environmental impact, lost business and property, etc.  This is huge, and we can also remember the hundreds of billions of dollars saved by this fire.

Acknowledgements, appreciations and team medallions were presented from Mike at the IC to Frank Pinney and Martha, as well as to Sharon Carey and Danielle Latta for medical support.

More certificates, team pins of appreciations or rounds of thanks were presented by the IC to Jeannie Alexander, John Farrington, Jess Mason, Cody Oliver, Penny Verigge, Barbara Ray Daughters, Sequoia Chappellet, Jaci Pappas, Leona in IC communications, the translator and Lisa Goettel.

As we speak there is a BAER team that is working on rehabilitation planning and will be working with CAL FIRE and the OES to mitigate landslides and the ongoing impact of this fire.

The CPOA and Chamber are actively working together right now, finding ways to rebuild the community. Frank is encouraging both groups to begin planning for road work etc. that will ensure our safety in the months to come.

KUSP will keep a web page up through the recovery efforts.

7/9 am: The valley, Little Sur, & Office of Emergency Services

July 9, 2008

I drove through the valley last night and snapped a couple photos. All and all, we dodged a bullet. There are a few startling scenes but when I speak to people who’ve been up in the helicopters and they say it looks like a moonscape up over the ridge, we’re sitting real pretty.

Little Sur river basin had some fire activity last night about 6PM. I’m getting jaded. I looked at it and said to myself, “That’s good. That’ll clean that section out.” The cows were hanging out around the flat area in the turnout overlooking the Little Sur rivermouth looking at me taking pictures of them and eating.

Fire trucks are lined up in an orderly fashion, east of Highway 1 in front of the Hill Ranch. West of Highway 1 at the ranch is now a heliport and fueling station. lots of trucks to service the craft and 4 helicopters were parked there when I went by.

I posted the following information in the NOTICES section of the site:

Monterey County Office of Emergency Services
Rob Clyburn Monterey County Office of Emergency Services is setting up a fire assistance center at the Big Sur Grange Hall.
First Priority is for businesses and residents that were not directly affected by the fire or had minimal impact by the fire. Going to do a quick health and safety inspection. (Lights work, water works… move on to the next business)
Working from north to south.
This begins Wednesday, July 9, 9:00 AM

While doing these rapid assessments, “let us know if you have water damage and we will pay for the testing of the water.”

Once we have a good feel feel for what the community needs the Big Sur Grange Hall will become a “local assistance center.”

A representative from different state agencies will be available.

Hours for seeing people will be from 9AM – 2:00 PM – hours subject to be expanded later.

Expedited permit for small construction, repair and to start the application process for rebuilding your homes will be available at this location.

A representative was at the Community Meeting at the MAF Tuesday night, 7:00 PM

Quick Note from Michael Miller at the Grange:
Michael is having a meeting with local contractors at the Grange on Wednesday, 3:00 PM to speak about rebuilding.

7/8 12am: Tonight’s Community Meeting – Big News!

July 8, 2008

Thanks thanks thanks to Linda Rowland-Jones who took tonight’s minutes:

Minutes for community meeting 7/7/08 — Carmel Middle School
Lori Iverson / Fire information
Mike Dietrich / IC
Frank Pinney / BSVFB
Robert Clayburn / OES

It was a really big group at CMS tonight, probably 200 people. Hotline now has translation services. A big round of applause was given to hot line workers. Hot line workers are asking for volunteers to help out, they’re exhausted.

Current status:
Basin West update—

It was a very busy last day and night, with firefights into the wee hours of the morning. From 11:30 pm on there was 25-35 mph down canyon wind, but the fire stopped short of Old Coast Highway, with crews scrambling until 4am. The good news is the larger fuels are burning out, and the backburns have been more successful, and worked faster than expected.
From Mt. Manuel to Pfeiffer State park the area is secure, while on the north crews continue to expand line from Los Padres Dam to Skinner’s Ridge. The red line indicates a burn ¼ to ½ mile from the Old Coast Highway in an effort to try to secure the northwest corner of the fire to prevent the fire from reaching Palo Colorado. (The red lines on the map are where the fire is still active, the black where they’re confident that all is much better, or “secure”.) From Ventana to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park the fire is looking “stable.”

The same down canyon wind a blessing in the south front of the fire; IC is confident that we’ll be secure on the southwest part of the fire by Tuesday night or Wed. However, there is still active heat to the south at this time.

Basin East update—
They are trying to connect w/ the Indians fire, securing the whole southwest piece of fire. Above the Tassajara drainage the fire moved east today, into the Uncle Sam Mountain area. IC will continue to monitor the weather to secure the area around Devil’s Mtn.; they hope to close the door on northern piece at Palo Colorado. In the north east the fire is not yet contained.

From Julia Pfeiffer south to Lucia still there is still mandatory evacuation due to fire activity and back burns. South of Lucia the mandatory evacuation order has been lifted. While the fire is not over, it is still a hot fire burning in grey and black areas, progress has been made.

There was an important meeting today involving the Monterey County Sheriff, BSVFB Chief Pinney, and representatives from county and state government including US Congressman Sam Farr, Supervisor Dave Potter as well as community leaders from Big Sur. The IC has re-evaluated mandatory evacuation orders.

There is an evacuation advisory still in effect for Palo Colorado Road.
The checkpoint at intersection of Palo Colorado road and Highway One remains the same.
The mandatory evacuation from Palo Colorado road to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park has been downgraded to an advisory evacuation, effective tomorrow, Tuesday July 8, at 10am.
This news was met with whoops and sobs from the crowd. After the meeting people embraced, laughed and cried. We get to go home!

Residents and critical service workers (PGE, phone etc.) will be allowed into Big Sur with proper identification. Passes for ridge road access for residents EAST OF HIGHWAY ONE with local identification for (driver’s license, utility bill, etc.) will be distributed at the Multi-agency Facility in Big Sur from 10am to noon tomorrow. This is not a re-entry, which involves implementing a lot of services completely. Fire activity could give cause for a return to mandatory evacuation at some point in time. It will be a give and take situation working with the firefighters and law enforcement, since the fire is still active up on the hills, which will be true for the next several weeks, possibly months.

The community will collaborate with firefighters and law enforcement to protect property, and there may be road closures in this process. There will be rocks, debris and fire crews on the road. It’s important to drive safely and slowly. This is an adjustment in the operational plan, not full re-entry yet. There will be barricades on the east side of Highway One on the ridges. Law enforcement will work in partnership with the community, and they are working towards a reentry plan with other community agencies.

Serious public health and safety concerns still exist in Big Sur. With the advisory activation, the primary focus will be on those areas with known damage; and the OES will bring in every possible resource to fix those problems. They will establish a fire assistance center to respond to initial questions on repair services, etc., location to be determined. The next step will be to establish a full local assistance center, with different service agencies represented. This is a small victory which won’t immediately translate into benefits. But OES will continue to push for a management assistance grant, for federal and state resources and funding to provide services.

Good news, we are progessing towards reentry and recovery! Tomorrow’s community meeting will be at the MAF in Big Sur at 7pm.

7/7 – Re-entry update from OES

July 7, 2008

This is from Rob at the Monterey County Office of Emergency Services.  He’s a key player on the re-entry team. This info is from last night, coming late. (Sorry, I’m tired.)  We will continue to post news directly from Rob here specific to the re-entry and re-build.

7/6 meeting notes, updated and revised by Rob 7/7 am:

Our priorities are to complete a comprehensive damage assessment. There is no set damage threshold that has to be met before FEMA can provide Individual and Household Assistance, but is tied to the extent
of damage.  Individual assistance was included in the governor’s request which has neither been approved nor denied by FEMA. The US Small Business Administration is also able to offer assistance to businesses
and individuals, but only after 25 structures have been damaged and FEMA has made a decision.  If a home is a business, we get to count it twice.

Assistance from public and governmental agencies to repair public utilities, etc. is available from the governor and we are working to get that engaged. We are also working on getting a local assistance
center set up that will serve everyone who has been impacted.  The County understands there is a substantial economic impact from this fire. We know that most residents and business owners rely on the summer
season as their source of income for the remaining year.

If FEMA does not approve full disaster assistance, we have already requested that state emergency agencies work with us in getting state and federal assistance for longer-term housing issues during the rebuild.

We understand that this is the most critical tourist time and creating a high economic impact.  We will explore options for very low interest loans for rebuilding and repair costs for business and individuals.

Environmental recovery: the forest service is looking at their portions and we are taking information from the damage assessment –  We have started the process to have a state Burnt Area Environmental Recovery (BAER) team provide assistance. It will be a continuous process to develop information on burnt area environmental impacts so we can get assistance on restoration.

We are also getting assistance for debris removal.  State and federal sources will absorb 75% of those costs.

We need the community to come together and form single voices to talk to us so we can focus on the issues as they are presented to us.  We recommend getting a community committee together to discuss issues specific to re-entry and recovery.

We cannot predict when re-entry will happen.  We’re drafting re-entry protocols that all parties (including the community) will agree to, so that no further bureaucratic processes get in the way. Our first priority is water and along with that sewage or septic systems.  PG&E is responding to our request to restore utilities as fast as possible.

The county has codes and provisions to address rebuilding which will help to speed that process along.

There will be tax relief for Big Sur victims, including business taxes. Specific tax information will be provided as soon as we know the full extent of options available.

If you know your home may have been damaged, please fill out a form  at the Red Cross desk, do a sketch map with directions to your house  on the back, and we will include it in the damage assessment.

My thanks to you and the Big Sur community. More news to come!

Rob Clyburn
OES, Monterey County
(831) 796-1902

7/6 9pm: Tonight’s Meeting

July 6, 2008

Notes from tonight:

From Mike Dietrich, Incident Commander:

  • It was a great day!
  • We began backfiring south of Palo Colorado Canyon towards Bixby Canyon. They intend to continue the burning and get it to the Old Coast Highway tonight.
  • Fire made it to the boy scout camp and the fire line held. The camp is secure.
  • We’re very close to getting the northern line to the Little Sur River.
  • There was a little bit of burning inside Big Sur today. Crews are looking at trees that are a hazard and mopping up hot spots along the highway.
  • The line is holding at Dolan Ridge. Dolan had seven residences at risk – teams led the fire down around them and they pulled off a tremendous save. Everyone and everything is safe.
  • Plans for tomorrow and the next couple days: continue mopping up inside Big Sur and securing the area. Working Bottchers Gap to Dani Ridge tomorrow – if this is successful we’ll be able to close the door on the Palo Colorado threat.
  • Next piece (2-3 days out) is to begin burning along the old Marble Cone line at the north end of the fire. The DC-10 and the Martin Mars (Super Scooper) are working there.
  • Current strategy with limited resources is to box things out, work in specific areas then move on to the next hot spot.

From Frank:

  • There was a flare up on Partington today, an area we thought was cooled down. It was on the south slope just below one of the houses that had been saved and the fire wanted to move west, which would be a bad thing. A Brigade engine jumped on it and knocked it down while it was easily manageable. (Lots of clapping.)
  • The Brigade finished their gelling operation and have gelled 54 structures.
  • Re-entry is now at the top of the list and in the planning phase. There is a member of the OES (Office of Emergency Services) team from Monterey County working with Frank on this. “We are working on the first phase that will get us the ability to do infrastructure repair and make it safe for residents to return. The fire is still cooking out there and there are lots of hot spots that will need to be taken into consideration as we start fixing things (laying plastic pipe for instance, would melt right now if it was laid down in some places.) The sheriff is extremely anxious to be as collaborative as he can possibly be with us in this process.” This planning will take everything into consideration, including the possibility of returns for in-and-out visits (get stuff, insurance specs), and those who are in areas that have not burned or lost infrastructure.
  • No more structures have been lost.

Q&A Answers:

  • Frank: There have been two phases of the mandatory evacuation. The first phase gave residents an option to sign a waiver and stay. When the fire got more intense, the sheriff’s office upgraded the evacuation to say that anyone who stayed was subject to arrest. The sheriff’s have been working with us to interpret this for the benefit of the community. I recognize that the evacuation zone has the appearance now of being a “prison” of sorts to people who have stayed. But this is not the intention and the people who have stayed have been extremely cooperative with us – so given the circumstances, tomorrow will be another day and we’ll look at all the options available.
  • Gel questions: Ask questions or come get a Q&A sheet on the gel from Sharon Torrence. (Will post this sheet on the site in the Notices section tomorrow.)
  • Frank: Residents who are still in Big Sur: If there’s a flare-up that’s a true threat and it’s after hours, please call 911. Please use discretion. We’ve been called out for a couple stumps in burned out areas that were not a threat and we have limited resources.
  • Mike: There will be a substantial heating and drying weather pattern coming in, moderate offshore flow Monday-Wed. with the potential for thunderstorms (and lightning) Thursday and Friday.
  • Frank: Houses are gelled on Pfeiffer and things are looking very good there.
  • Mike: Near Tassajara the fire has only moved about ¼ mile today and there is air support to keep it moving as slowly as possible toward the Tassajara area.
  • Backburning did not happen as planned off the highway near Esalen today, but they hope to begin tonight if the conditions are right – going from Anderson Canyon south to Hot Springs Canyon.
  • We have the DC-10 now but it could be moved down to the Gap fire. The super scooper will stay here in the area to use as we need.
  • Not every residential area will be represented at tomorrow’s re-entry meeting. We’re doing a scaled down group of reps, including three members of the community.

Rob, a rep from the OES was at the meeting and spoke about plans for re-entry.  I took lots of notes on this too, but am clarifying and checking info with him again before I post that.  It will be posted tomorrow.