Posts Tagged ‘partington’

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.

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.

7/6 12:45pm: Update from Frank Pinney

July 6, 2008

Just got off the phone with Frank and asked questions I’ve been hearing, as well as getting some good updates:

– The lines along the highway through the whole central valley, Molera down to Ventana, are holding well, including the area up above the residences through Pfeiffer State Park.

– There was a flare up on Partington earlier today, crews were on it right away. (Sorry, no details yet.)

– The primary focus today is on building and holding the northern and southern lines before the expected weather change. There are burning operations happening south of Palo Colorado at the old Marble Cone line and reinforcements working down at Dolan.

– Re: rumors of looting: There have been no official reports of theft filed, so it has made official investigation of the rumors impossible. Unofficial reports confirm one generator missing from a residence, but there are no other confirmed reports of thefts that we know of. There are scouts going through back roads and visiting residences on the west side of the highway occasionally doing contingency planning, but ALL OF THEM WILL BE IN OFFICIAL FOREST SERVICE OR FIRE VEHICLES. Residents are encouraged to check in with other locals you see who may be sharing and borrowing supplies from one another. If you see any suspicious activity in your area, please either contact the Sheriff’s department or call the Community Hotline – 831-667-2317 and give as much detail as you can.

– Re-entry: Meetings with county officials are taking place now working on plans for re-entry. Right now the intention is have re-entry for infrastrucure re-build before re-entry for residents. Resident re-entry is likely several days away, but re-entry for infrastructure support could happen mid-week.

7/6 noon: Central valley update, power still out

July 6, 2008

Reports today have been pretty calm and for the most part, positive:

Last night from Clear Ridge, Curtis’ property looked really clean and good. A full crew was on the Ewoldsen’s road watching fire slowly coming down to about the 600 ft. contour elevation. Juan Higuera was really smoky and seemed calmer relative to other nights. There were crews on the road. Not much new activity to report today

The power is still out.

Things are still very quiet in the Torre Canyon area, Henry Miller to Partington.

Reports from Ripplewood are saying there was ALOT of activity east of there (Hartman’s and Kenny Wright’s fire road) last night and today is calm.

7/4 evening: Update from the South

July 4, 2008

From reports of residents at the southern perimeter of the fire this evening:

From 10am to 1pm there was heavy bombing on Dolan Ridge from Pt. Rust to Rock Slide.  The fire has dropped into the upper reaches of Dolan Creek.  There were engines reported at structures in the area.  Helicopters were working Dolan ridge heavily throughout the day.

And all is reported to still be very quiet between Henry Miller and Partington.

7/4 8pm: Update from the IC and Fire Brigade

July 4, 2008

Several notes from tonight’s community meeting with Mike Dietrich and the IC team along with Frank Pinney of the Local Fire Brigade:

–    The fire team’s first priority right now is defending the Big Sur valley. Fire hot spots today are the canyon between Ventana and MAF/ Big Sur Station and the ridge above Captain Cooper.  Captain Cooper is being protected at the road, with crews and engines in place throughout the area. Crews are in blocking positions defending the area where Blaze Engineering, Don McQueen’s house and the AT&T transponder are.

–    The fire has not crossed Highway One at all.  There is confidence that the crews on the road will hold this line, and even if spot fires do erupt there are spotters on hand who are prepared to manage this.

–    Northern perimiter: The current strategy is to actively build dozer lines and drop retardant at the old Marble Cone lines, protecting the Palo Colorado area.  The IC has requested the largest aircraft available for this, with a capacity several times greater than standard air tankers.  A contingency plan is in place, cutting lines along White Rock Ridge to San Clemente Dam. (That’s about 5 miles south of Carmel Valley Village.)

–    Southern perimiter: This is currently the second priority area. Current strategy is to take dozer lines at Dolan Ridge to the southern flank of the Indians fire to anchor the fire into the burned area.  The IC feels very confident they will be able to hold this line.

–    All the fires happening in the state are drawing upon resources. We are the #2 priority in the state and don’t have as many resources as we need.  This fire is presently using resources from 40 states.

–    The Fire Brigade strongly discourages residents from staying in the area. Frank expressed that this is the biggest fire they he has ever seen in Big Sur, and is certain that using the plans and tools that have been used in the past will not be adequate in this fire.  The local Fire Brigade is now dedicated to structure protection using gel, since the evacuation is no longer requiring resources to be on call for local emergencies.  The Brigade has procured a large amount of gel for this purpose – with the caveat that without adequate clearance, the gel is “a hope and a prayer.”

It can’t be stressed enough: Highway One is an active fire line and very dangerous to be on right now. Entering the area puts the lives of fire crews and civilians at risk.

–    Apple Pie – fire is working down the ridge, coming through the Curtis’ property.  There are mixed reports about structures lost.  The IC has reported structures burned, the community has information from residents that report buildings are all intact.  The IC team actively worked to defend structures on this ridge until it was deemed unsafe and crews were pulled from the area.

The IC reported a serious incident today, in which local residents at Apple Pie ridge were setting illegal backburns. Another resident reported the activity and the sheriff’s department gave orders to stop the activity immediately.  The burns continued and an arrest was made.

–    Partington: The ridge is cooling and no longer a hot spot. It is a priority to the local Brigade for infrastructure rebuilding, although the priority remains to protect structures in active fire zones.

–    Pfeiffer State park: The fire is not in the park now, and crews are preparing for that possibility as fire moves down from Mt. Manuel.

–    Electricity: The power is out in most of the valley for either strategic reasons, a line burn or both. The line is days, if not weeks away from being restored. Big Sur Wireless is on this power grid and expects service can be supported by the battery backups for up to four days.