Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Year of The Salamander.......

Salamanders are native to our little valley.....and somewhat endangered. At Hastings Reserve they even have DayGlo "Salamander Crossing" signs on Carmel Valley Road, strategically placed way the hell up in the trees so I can't steal them....

Salamanders are associated with fire.....and hell. The gnarliest, most bad-ass broiling heat source in the kitchen is called a salamander.

Meanwhile, salamanders seem to actually live under my deck in the dark and moist, and under rotting logs. Why the fire association?

Whatever, it is working......our whole, salamander friendly world is being consumed by fire. Even with the wind blowing SSE, the smoke is so dense that any vestige of mountains are lost in the haze. It is like living in Kansas.

Actually, it is like living in L.A. in 1960. Back then I was in 7th grade, and a track geek. Forget track, there were many, many days when the air was so bad and so thick with toxins that it hurt to breathe.....and we were kept inside. It is not quite that bad here....yet.

Here is the latest map. The Cachagua Store is about an inch above the top margin. China Camp campsite is about 10 miles by road. Pine Valley campsite is the home of Jack English.....bowmaker to Yo Yo Mah.....80 or 90 years old, and refusing to leave. Notice that the fire is about 200m from his home. Go Jack!

Here is the latest Forest Service report on the Basin Fire......

Basin Complex

Monterey Ranger District---Los Padres National Forest

June 26, 2008 7:00 PM

Los Padres NF Fire Information Center: (805) 961-5770 (8:00am to 8:00pm)

Fire information: (see “Current Conditions”) and

A Public Meeting was held tonight at 7 PM

Big Sur Visitor Center/Multi-Agency Facility

Fire location: One mile south of Big Sur, Los Padres National Forest

Date/time started: June 21, 2008 / 12:56 pm Total acres burned: approximately 26,763

Percent contained: 3% Fire line to be constructed: unknown

Expected containment: not determined Expected control: not determined

Suppression costs to date: $1,964,700 Structures damaged/destroyed: 16 residences, 2 out-buildings

Cause: Lightning Structures threatened: 575


Engines Crews Dozers Air Tankers Helicopters Total Personnel

54 24 9 7 3 743

Terrain/vegetation/difficulties: Steep rocky terrain; heavy fuels—chaparral, grass, trees; limited access; drought conditions; dry gusty winds.

Current situation: The Gallery Fire and the Basin Fire have burned together, therefore a single acreage and percentage of containment will be used in future updates. The fire continued to burn actively at the higher elevations today, exhibiting extreme fire behavior. It continues to move south into the South Fork of the Big Sur River drainage, and north towards Manuel Peak and is also moving E/NE into Pine Valley and southwest into the South Fork of the Big Sur River. The fire continues to back down towards portions of Highway 1. Structure protection engines remain in place along Partington Ridge, the North Coast Ridge Road and Highway 1. Crews continue to hold the fire east of Highway 1 and south of the community of Big Sur.

Evacuations: Evacuations remain in place in the Partington Ridge area. Should further evacuations be required the Red Cross is prepared to open an evacuation center in Carmel. The SPCA for Monterey County will operate an emergency animal evacuation shelter for household pets (dogs, cats, etc.) adjacent to any American Red Cross evacuation site. Please contact the SPCA first at 831-373-2631 or at 831-646-5534 (after hours) for information on evacuating horses and livestock.

Closures and road status: Highway 1 is closed between Esalen on the south and the Ventana Inn on the north. Esalen can be accessed from the south. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is closed. Escorted convoys continue through the closure area for residents only and are subject to change based upon fire activity. Several businesses along Highway 1 in the fire area are closed. All national forest lands north of Nacimiento-Ferguson Road are closed to public access.

Agencies: U.S. Forest Service, CAL FIRE, Big Sur Volunteer Fire Department, California State Parks, California Highway Patrol, CalTrans, Monterey County and other agencies.

Incident Management: Unified Command with Mike Dietrich (California Interagency Incident Management Team 5); Chief Frank Pinny (Big Sur Volunteer Fire Department); and Monterey County Sheriff. The incident command post is located at Andrew Molera State Park.

Here is the State wide report.........

The CAL FIRE Mission

The Department of Forestry and Fire Protection protects the people of California from fires, responds to emergencies, and protects and enhances forest, range, and watershed values providing social, economic, and environmental benefits to rural and urban citizens.

Wildland Fire Information

Statewide Fire Map (Google Earth)

Statewide Fire Map (06/26/08 - PM)

National Fire News

Wildland Fire Occurances for State and Local Government (CAL FIRE DPA)

Governor Directs Coordinated Firefighting Efforts and Resources to Combat Wildfires

Northern California Wildfire Overview

Current Situation: State and Federal firefighters continue to battle hundreds of wildfires throughout Northern California and are preparing for light to moderate dry thunderstorm activity beginning tonight through the weekend. Fires are activity burning and continuing to spread. News fires are being identified on a regular basis. Priority of firefighting effort is for the protection of life, property and natural resources.
Download the latest fact sheet.

Total Fires: 1,090
Acres: 165,091
Contained Fires: 241
Personnel Committed: 12,512

Resources Committed:
Fire Engines: 933
Hand Crews: 288
Dozers: 262
Water Tenders: 303
Helicopters: 68
Air Tankers: 14

(These numbers are totals from state, local and federal firefighting agencies. Updated 6/26 at 9:00 p.m.)

Items of Interest:
Highway closures: State highways and local roads are closed throughout Northern California due to wildfire activities. Closures are in place for state highway 32, 36, 70, 89, 96 and 299. Numerous county and local roads are closed as well. Travelers are advised to check with law enforcement agencies and transportation departments prior to traveling.

Evacuations: Areas of Butte, Shasta and Trinity counties are under evacuation orders at this time. Precautionary evacuation orders are in place for areas in Lassen, Modoc, Mendocino, Trinity and Shasta counties. Residents are advised to monitor the fire situation in their areas, check with local law enforcement agencies for information, and be prepared to evacuate when necessary.

Structures Destroyed: 20 residences, 1 commercial, 20 outbuildings.

Summary of Fires by Unit

Butte Unit: The Butte Lightning Complex consists of 31 fires, which have burned 7,500 acres. Click Butte Lightning Complex for more information. The Butte Fire Information Number is (530) 538-7826.

Mendocino Unit: The Mendocino Lightning Complex has reported approximately 121 fires that have burned approximately 27,000 acres. 34 of these fires are contained. Click Mendocino Lightning Complex for more information. The Mendocino Fire Information Number is 707-467-6426.

Humboldt-Del Norte Unit: The complex has 58 fires that have burned for 1,125 acres. There are currently 13 active fires in this complex. The Paradise Fire is north of Shelter Cove and is 825 acres and 40% contained. The Humboldt-Del Norte Fire Information Number is (707) 726-1225.

Shasta-Trinity Unit: Over 158 fires for a total of 30,000 acres. 68 of the fires have been contained. Click Shasta and Trinity Lightning for more information. Incident Command Team #10 has been assigned to this complex. Shasta-Trinity Unit Information (530) 225-2510.

Lassen-Modoc Unit (including Plumas County): The Lassen-Modoc Lightning Complex consists of 49 fires burning more than 5,050 acres. 47 of these fires have been contained. Click Popcorn/Peterson Complex for more information on this incident.

Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit: The Sonoma-Lake-Napa Lightning Complex consists of 19 fires that have burned a total 19,500 acres. 18 of these fires have been contained. Click on Wild Fire Incident or Walker Fire Incident for more information on these incidents.

Tehama-Glenn Unit: The Tehama-Glenn Lightning Complex consists of 43 fires. 39 of the fires have been contained, while two remain active. The Antelope Fire is 3,000 acres with 35% contained and the Mill Creek Fire is 11,360 acres with 30% containment. Click on the Tehama-Glenn Lightning Series for more specific information on these incidents. The Tehama-Glenn Unit Information Number is (530) 528-5193.

Madera-Mariposa-Merced Unit: The Oliver Fire is located in the Ponderosa Basin and is 2,200 acres and 20% contained. Click Oliver Fire for more specific information on this incidents. The Madera-Mariposa-Merced Fire Information Number is (209) 966-4784.

Santa Clara Unit: Click Whitehurst/Hummingbird Incident for more information on these fires.

Siskiyou Unit: All fires in CAL FIRE jurisdiction have been contained.

San Mateo-Santa Cruz Unit: All fires in CAL FIRE jurisdiction have been contained.

Amador-El Dorado Unit: All fires in CAL FIRE jurisdiction have been contained.

Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit: All fires in CAL FIRE jurisdiction have been contained.

Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit: All fires in CAL FIRE jurisdiction have been contained.


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