Friday, September 19, 2008

If you ONLY READ ONE POST...THIS IS IT


This website exists was to protect the interests of Big Sur Residents and Home Owners when it became apparent that only "certain homes and certain areas" were being protected from the fires and because those who stayed behind were treated to a police state by the County Sheriff. So the following article SAYS IT ALL!
Firemen wanted to help their hands were tied.

It was quite evident that something smelled from the top guns in charge of resources for the fires. No one has answered the question as to WHY...was the fire allowed to come over into the Valley behind Big Sur Station like it did when there were old dozer lines? According to old times...when in the past there were fires....dozers worked 24/7 and not only daylight hours.

The more "controversial postings" alleging mismanagement and lack of resources were "safe" to post here.
This article pretty much says it all! By the way...there are still more issues to address post-fire . So Start talking and posting!
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When flames are on the way, buy a $120,000 bulldozer


By CHRIS COUNTS

Published: July 25, 2008

http://www.pineconearchive.com/080725-4.htm
H E'S BEEN in Big Sur longer than anybody, so it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that Don McQueen wasn't about to let the Basin Complex Fire — or a sheriff's evacuation order — move him off his 70-acre property.


Besides being perhaps Big Sur's tallest resident at 6 feet 8 inches, the 79-year-old McQueen is also arguably its most experienced firefighter, having battled blazes since 1948. So when fire officials decided it was time for McQueen and his neighbors to leave Big Sur, he gave them an earful. Now, three weeks after he and his neighbors put up a desperate — and largely successful — fight to save their homes, McQueen still has a lot to say about the fire and the agencies in charge of managing it.


For starters, McQueen insisted the fire burned far more acreage than he believed was necessary.


"This fire was not a wildfire," insisted McQueen, who moved to Big Sur with his parents in 1939. "It started out as a wildfire and ended up being an uncontrolled burn monitored by the U.S. government."


While firefighting officials and ecologists generally agree wildfires play a necessary role in the life cycle of California's native vegetation, McQueen believes firefighting agencies should be fighting fires on their own terms, not Mother Nature's.


"I think they need to adopt the idea that it is a very bad idea to let a fire burn itself out in the summer," suggested McQueen, who along with his wife, Mieke, lives just east of Highway 1 near the Big Sur River Inn. "If you want to reduce fuel, do it in the winter."



Sons, Caterpillar come to rescue


McQueen has always been a man of action. When he was just 11, he built a cottage at Deetjen's Big Sur Inn. So when the recent wildfire started moving in his direction, he didn't waste any time. Realizing he and his neighbors needed to widen and improve existing fire breaks and had little time to clear acres of vegetation, he ordered a D-4 Caterpillar bulldozer, which he considered a bargain at $120,000.


"I have $2.5 million of equipment in my shop," explained McQueen, who once owned Torre Engineering, which for decades was involved in nearly every aspect of home, business and road construction in Big Sur. "Compared to losing my equipment and my home, $120,000 is nothing."


Quinn Company — a Caterpillar dealer located in Southern California — not only entrusted McQueen and his wife with the bulldozer (the company required no money down), but hand-delivered it to him in just 18 hours.
Meanwhile, McQueen called England to tell his two sons — Jonathon and Wade — about his dilemma. Both quickly boarded flights for California.


"I had to sneak them in," said McQueen of his sons, who weren't allowed into the evacuation area. "Jonathon is a very good equipment operator. Ten minutes after he got here, he was driving the bulldozer three times faster than me."



Residents, firefighters help each other


After the evacuation order was issued, a fire official came up to McQueen's house, presumably in an effort to convince him to leave.


"He said to me, 'I don't know what all you people's problem is,'" McQueen recounted. "'We're carefully allowing these homes to burn. You can build a new house at no cost with your insurance money.'"


"I couldn't believe a human being could say that," McQueen said.


Sometime during the fire, McQueen crossed Highway 1 to visit his business, Big Sur Campground and Cabins, which is located just across the pavement from the dirt road that leads to his home. His campground was filled with firefighters, and he was simply trying provide hot water so they could take showers. Unfortunately, a sheriff's deputy caught him straying from his property and scolded him. The deputy eventually let McQueen go, but the irony of the situation — that McQueen was being hassled for providing free services to firefighters — couldn't escape him.


"What I'd really like to emphasize is that a real tragedy happened when fire command and the sheriff decided that anyone staying here was under house arrest," McQueen said. "House arrest is what it is when you can't set foot on the highway. You're arrested on your own property."


As McQueen, his family and his neighbors fought the fire, hundreds of professional firefighters — strictly forbidden to assist locals — were stationed along Highway 1. While McQueen blasted fire officials for their leadership, he had nothing but kind words for the stranded firefighters.


"One guy told me he was ashamed," McQueen recalled. "He said, 'I was taught to put out fires, not let them burn.'"


Remarkably, when McQueen needed help maintaining his fire break, he received covert assistance from one of the grounded firefighters.


"One of the guys said, 'I can't sit here and watch what you're doing,'" McQueen remembered. "He went up there, parked his engine in a safe place, laid out over 4,000 feet of fire hose and started maintaining our fire breaks."



'This place could have been saved'


While McQueen's home survived, a neighbor's home burned to the ground. Not just any house, the building was constructed by Hans Ewoldsen in the early 1940s. Ewoldsen married Esther Pfeiffer, the granddaughter of one of Big Sur's first homesteaders. Hans and Esther are now deceased, and their descendants live outside the area.


"I get tears in my eyes coming up here," said McQueen as he surveyed the charred remnants of a home he'd visited since childhood. "Hans and Esther took such great care of this place. They raised their children here and most of their food here."


Curiously, much of the terrain immediately surrounding the house was unaffected by the fire.
According to McQueen, the house survived previous fires because "Hans and Esther stayed here."


"I was with them fighting the fire in 1960 that burned this canyon," he recalled. "You can see by all the stuff that's green that this house could have been saved. It's so sad. So many things were lost.

THANKYOU CHRIS COUNTS FOR WRITING THIS ARTICLE!!!
and there is more...Watch SuzNews here on You tube for a brilliant take on Big Surians and why we stay behind to protect home and hearth: Thankyou SUZ!! Past in the following URL. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smxolkjC5nA



Saturday, July 26, 2008

Jack English Returns to Big Sur-article & video

http://www.mercurynews.com/video?bcpid=1620670567&bctid=1691247399

UPDATES on the Fire Front, Soft Rd Closures, Food Specials




Sunday 7/26 While sitting at the Pebble Beach -Beach Club...it was evident that backfires and other fires were still happening in the Carmel Valley. Large smoke plumes noted. Fire has become and everyday occurence.

Sat 7/25 State Parks to Reopen Camping in Big Sur July 25
Location: Big Sur

Type of Notice: Official Notices

State Parks to Reopen Camping in Big Sur

BIG SUR - Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park will re-open for camping on July 25, 2008. The State Parks in Big Sur were closed recently as fire from the Basin Complex Fire moved through the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park and Andrew Molera State Park during different phases of the Basin Complex Fire. Refunds for campers who had reserved campsites in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park Campground had been authorized up until July 24, 2008. While there are still significant areas of these parks closed because of fire damage, the majority of the visitor serving facilities were untouched by the fires. Valley View Trail in Pfeiffer Big Sur on the east side of Highway One and the trails on the west side of Highway 1 will be open to the public as well as The Big Sur Lodge, the campground and the swimming holes within the campground.
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park will re-open the small parking area and the Waterfall Trail from the parking area to the overlook. All other park facilities east of Highway 1 will remain closed. “Ninety percent of our visitation to this park is due to this trail and the beauty it provides with the view of the waterfall and the Pacific Ocean,” said Mat Fuzie, District Superintendent of California State Parks Monterey District. Park facilities west of Highway 1 in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park will be open.
Andrew Molera State Park has served as the fire camp and Incident Command for the Basin Complex Fire and is still serving in that capacity but to a much smaller extent. “We are opening Andrew Molera as the fire response teams leave and allow us to open the park back to the public. The Day Use Parking Area is open as well, as are some of the trails to the beach on the west side of the Big Sur River” stated Fuzie.
“These parks are important to the community and the people of California,” Fuzie said. “We feel the essence of these parks is intact and opening them to the public at this time with the measures we have taken is the best course of action given our mission to provide quality outdoor recreation opportunities for the People of California”.
The State Parks department has issued a temporary closure order for those areas of the parks that are unsafe or off limits due to the impacts of the fire. Failure to obey the closure order is a misdemeanor violation punishable by fine or jail time. “It is very important for people to pay attention to the closure order for their safety and the safety of others, “ Fuzie said. “The firefighters and our employees did a wonderful job protecting the resources, but make no mistake, fire did come through here and there is good reason for these closures.” The trails that are to remain closed were damaged beyond immediate repair with tree hazards and ground stability issues associated with the damage. We expect to open the closed areas as repairs can be made. “
Maps of the closure areas and the posted order will be given to every camper as they enter Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park and will be posted throughout all of the parks in Big Sur.
For information contact State Parks Big Sur Sector office (831) 667-2315

Contact Info
Big Sur Chamber of Commerce
Phone: 831.667.2100
Email: info@bigsurcalifornia.org

Posted 7/24/2008 03:57 PM



A week ago we noted: Tassajara is evacuated...only 5 people remain there. They are keeping the sprinklers on until the fire gets closer. Keep our neighbors in your thoughts and support them with your ACTIONS!

In BIG SUR: Remember that we are all still on a "soft" closure in Big Sur. Since tourists cannot yet come back to Big Sur, many employees are still without work.

Redwood Grill at Fernwood: Specials till the road opens (maybe Monday???)

To help locals celebrate local residents return to Big Sur, the Redwood Grill is serving Black Angus Burgers (or Buffalo, vegetarian or Turkey) for $7 - with fries. Also, Taquitos or Chicken Fingers for $3.95. Draft beer at the bar is $3.

Esalen Update: Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Word from the fire command this morning is that they are “done setting fires on Highway 1” as of today—meaning that even though fuel still remains in the canyons and along the road in our area (and spot fires still persist up the upper canyons and down toward Dolan Ridge), they are essentially pulling out from the southwest perimeter of the Basin Fire, leaving only a bare number here, in favor of a big push on the northern, more active end to try to keep the fire out of Carmel Valley.

For us at Esalen this means the active danger level has ratcheted down considerably—and yet it’s not all over yet. Our tanks survived another night, with 20 professional crew members working there till around midnight, clearing even further below the tanks and waterline in the area of yesterday’s burn, improving the firebreak under the bridge, and putting out spots in the lower canyon. This is another switch in their strategy, as they have now given up hope of achieving a complete burn in Hot Springs Canyon and right along Highway 1 under these recurrent marine layer conditions. Instead, they are apparently prepared to call a partial victory and move to more urgent concerns to the north (and elsewhere in the state).
(excerpt taken from Gorden Wheelers Blog..visit it at www.esalen.org
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BIG SUR NOW notes: Fire could happen again, so stay prepared.

We are back on-line to keep you updated: Meanwhile the Coast Weekly has an article about the Curtis family that is worth reading. Note link will be provided under the Curtis family Debate link.

We appreciate all of your posts here and private emails and will continue to give you much needed updates and information.

Check back to this post today often as we will keep changing it. Meanwhile post your updates via comments on this post or under the other topics.

And Please support the Sat Night Fundraiser:
For Anyone : Big Sur Gallery Fire Benefit Location: Big Sur Gallery (Carmel)
Big Sur Gallery:Fire Benefit Saturday, July 12, 2008 3:00 to 8:00, Auction at 5:00
Proceeds to To benefit the Big Sur Fire Relief Fund

Auction of work donated by our local artists.
Food, wine, music, and art
All donations and proceeds from the auction
will be given to the Big Sur Fire Relief Fund, as will 10% of Gallery sales.

visit www.bigsurgallery.net

Contact Info: maxine keene Phone: 624 1172 Email: bigsurgallery@sbcglobal.net

Saturday, July 19, 2008

At Esalen Today

I am at Esalen today.  There are guests here from all over.  Three different workshops.  Gestalt Singing.  A couples workshop and a massage workshop.  It feels great to be back and there is a HUGE sign that says...Welcome Back Esalen Tribe.  I just spoke to Gordon Wheeler who looked great and ready to take on anything else that might happen in the area. If you haven't read his fire blog on Esalen's site.  It's still worth reading.  

Ruby the kitty, is still in charge and roaming about.  A stellar blue jay was just caught drinking water out of the fountain.   The sign in the lodge for breakfast read:  Wake up Sleepyheads to another wonderful breakfast at Esalen.

  If there are any of you here who have read the blog and happen to be in Esalen today...come and get a hug from me and meet my Dutch friend Emil, who wrote a fantastic book on Somatologie.  I will be helping translate from Dutch to English.  Have Emil read  your bone structure and what it says about you.  

The garden's are gorgeous as usual but there seems to be just a slight subduedness, kind of a quietness here ...a tip tip tip toeing of the return. Guests are saying how dramatic it looks to see areas without the lush vegetation that was once there.  Not everyone is back just yet...but soon...but soon....

It's a bit foggy yet this morning, I have to go...Esalen is calling and I must find out if that massage class needs any volunteers.   hmmmmm

Keep writing and sharing your thoughts and needs on this site.  Reach out and love someone today!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Do you have services to offer the community to help rebuild?


Hello all...Start posting here if you are available for work whether in fire clean-up, handyman work, hauling supplies to Big Sur, construction, or whatever.

Have truck and am available for Hauling and helping with demolition at a reduced rate. Tile work too!
David Nicholson yourbesthandyman@hotmail.com Have great references. 831-392-7909

If you have services or need someone to hire either send them to my email at Harpist4You@cs.com or post it as a comment on this blog.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Basin Complex East INFO and LINKS

Basin Complex East Information Links
July 13, 2008 by tarawings

Hello! I have been doing some researching to find good sources of information on the Basin Complex East. Thank you to people who have sent me links. If you have any other links to good information, please send them along! This is what I have found at this point:

This is someone attending fire meetings and writing up summaries and giving first hand accounts of what it is like to be in Jamesburg right now. Definitely the most information about the East side of the fire that I have found so far.

http://thefirelane.blogspot.com/

A good standby:

http://www.kusp.org/fire/sur.html

This is the official County of Monterey site. It gives good, brief, official information.

http://www.co.monterey.ca.us/PR_OES/default.asp

This is a non-official, but more detailed site that gives timely information along with thermal maps:

http://xasauantoday.wordpress.com/2008/06/23/big-surventana-wilderness-fire-news/

This seems to be an official federal site. If you scroll down about 3/4 of the way on this one there is some good information.

http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/fire/south/fwx/operations/osc-archive/sitreport.html

This is where I get my weather reports from. Go to the page, then type in your city and state in the box on the upper left hand side (not the right hand box, this does something else), and you can then narrow down your area. Then it will show you a map that you can click on to make your location and elevation even more accurate. Takes a bit of guess work with the elevation, but it works.

www.noaa.gov

Sunday, July 13, 2008

WELCOME BACK TO BIG SUR-UPCOMING EVENTS


Janet of the River Inn said that they are continuing to have Sunday Music as usual. Get out there an support BIG SUR!

Sofanya is back in her newly reinvented Gallery.

If you want information posted here...pls email us the text at harpist4you@cs.com

Saturday, July 12, 2008

With the next Fire or Disaster, What would you do differently?

The photo here was taken at Partington Ridge earlier this year by Susan Bradley.

With the next disaster in Big Sur. What would you do differently?

* Would you evacuate so quickly? Would you hire help to defend your property? * Would we buy more bulldozers to create our own fire lines on our properties? * Will you buy and keep gel around to protect your home?

* What items would you take with you next time that you didn't take this time?

How are you going to prepare for the next disaster? Here's your opportunity to share your thoughts and ideas on this. Also, GO VOTE on our poll here to say whether you think you will stay to defend your property the next time around.

Your votes really counted on the Supplying Supplies to those who did not evacuate. Kudos to all those who voted.

Sam Farr was at the last Big Sur meeting and had this to share:

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.

Also read the article written by Kenny in the Salinas Californian today. Thanks for having a backbone Kenny!

LIST YOUR IDEAS by leaving a comment.

HELP for your Pets! from the SPCA on July 26


The SPCA did an incredible job rescuing animals in Big Sur during the fires. I have to say that I was totally impressed when I saw the horse trailers and other vehicles parked outside Palo Colorado during the days that it looked like there would be a mandatory evacuation for that area. I personally have a friend whose Llama's were transported all the way to Watsonville for her. AMAZING!!! Thankyou for the great work. And now the SPCA asked us to post this special gift. My only pet is a frog right now...his name is Buddy Love and he is featured in this photo. Do you have any frog food?

The SPCA for Monterey County will be at Fernwood Resort (near the Fernwood sign on Highway 1) on Sunday, July 13 and July 26th from 10 am to 2 pm to give away donated cat food and dog food to Big Sur area residents affected by the fire. The pet food will be distributed at no charge. Our thanks go to Fernwood Resort for allowing us space to distribute this food and to our wonderful donors who support The SPCA’s fire rescue and relief efforts.

The SPCA for Monterey County is a nonprofit, independent, donor-supported humane society that has been serving the animals and people of Monterey County since 1905. We shelter homeless, neglected and abused pets and livestock, and provide humane education and countless other services to the community. We are the local agency you call to investigate animal cruelty, rescue and rehabilitate injured wildlife, and aid domestic animals in distress.

Beth Brookhouser
Director of Community Outreach
The SPCA for Monterey County
P.O. Box 3058
Monterey, CA 93942
(831) 373-2631 or 422-4721 ext. 269
www.SPCAmc.org

Friday, July 11, 2008

HWY 1 OPENS TO PUBLIC TODAY-- TASSAJARA SURVIVES THE FIRE


WOOHOO! Tassajara survived the fires!! This in from Stan Russell with the Big Sur Chamber of Commerce.

(Photo to the left was taken by Susan Bradley at Deetjens in Spring. Magical places like this and history and livelihoods were what we were all protecting.)


Highway 1 Opens tonight at 6:00PM to Coast Gallery from the north
July 11, 2008 by stanrussell

Dan Priano, Vice President of the Big Sur Chamber of Commerce just called me and told me that at 6:00PM tonight, Friday, July 11k, Highway 1 opens to Coast Gallery from the north. On Sunday at 8:00AM Highway 1 will be open clear through to San Simeon.

Big Sur Valley, July 10, 11PM
July 10, 2008 by stanrussell

The businesses in the ‘business district’ of Big Sur are approaching normal. The air quality is good and we’re seeing the possibility of the opening of Highway 1 in the very near future.

As evidenced by the Los Padres National Forest evening report on the fire (8,907 acres burned in the last 12 hours) we still have a very active fire burning and at this rate we will clear 100,000 acres burned by sunrise on Friday. Earlier posts noted Tassajara survived the burn today and it looks like they’re going to be okay too.

I drove into Pfeiffer State Park to see if the softball field was okay and I spoke with C.L. Price to see if we could get the softball league started on Monday. Looks like we’re going to have to wait until next week to get the league restarted. While I was at the park I took a photo of a plume of smoke rising over Mt. Manuel and later from a different angle you can see there is an active fire out behind Double Cones.

To read the rest of his blog go to www.surfire2008.org ...he's got some incredible photos of Big Sur in the past few days.

On to a full recovery and then some!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Need help to restore our home

REAL HELP NEEDED for Clean up and Restoration for those affected by the Fires. Send your emails for support to Harpist4you@cs.com, we will post them for you. We know that it is often tough to ask for and even receive help. Just remember that those who give also receive and the relationships that we are all forging right now...are so meaningful. In times of disaster...the best comes out of us as well as the worst...LETS LET OUR BESTEST BEST SHINE!!! You can ALWAYS use the comment section to post your need or willingness to help.

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for Anyone : need help to restore our home

Location: Big Sur, Burns Creek

Type of Work: Specific

We are so grateful that our small house, which my husband Perry built himself and defended for so many days. It survived the wildfires and even the back fires, moving right though our canyon (Burns Creek)and all around the cabin.
Now we are looking at what it takes to make it livable again for us and our 10 year old son, and it seems overwhelming. Retaining walls are down, the complete waterline needs to be replaced all the way to the tanks and to the source and the cabin needs to be washed outside and in after three flame repellant foam treatments. We are temporarily out of work at Esalen, and I am reaching out to my bigger community for help. We live close to the Esalen Insitute, about one hour south of Carmel. Would you volunteer a few hours to help? Work could be help with the waterline or (once we have water) with removing the repellant, cleaning garden furniture and appliances, which were left outside and is full of ash or helping with moving back in.
It would be such a support for our family not having to do everything alone.
Much love,
Johanna

ps we also need to borrow a small generator that can be carried up a canyon-for a few days.
Contact Info:

Johanna and Perry Holloman
Phone: 831-224-3864
Email: johannaholloman@hotmail.com

Posted 7/10/2008 02:12 PM

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

NEWS FROM CONGRESSMAN SAM FARR

NEWS FROM CONGRESSMAN SAM FARR
17th Congressional District of California
July 9, 2008
CONTACT: Tom Mentzer, 202-225-2861, tom.mentzer@mail.house.gov
http://farr.house.gov/


HOUSE PASSES FARR RESOLUTION

HONORING FIREFIGHTERS

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Sam Farr (D-Carmel) on Tuesday introduced a resolution honoring the sacrifice and hard work of the thousands of firefighters battling California wildfires. The resolution was brought before the full House of Representatives Wednesday afternoon and was passed unanimously.

“You can’t help but have an incredible amount of pride for the ability to call to order firemen and women from all over the United States,” Rep. Farr said from the House floor. “These firefighters work nonstop. They’re on 12 hours, then off 12 hours, but they have to work every day. They don’t stop on weekends. They just keep going out of the camps and into the fire lines.”

The resolution was co-sponsored by 32 members of the California congressional delegation, including every Democrat.

“We’re only in the opening weeks of the fire season,” Rep. Farr said following the vote. “We will surely be calling on these brave men and women again this summer, and I for one am thankful for all of the hard work they do.”

A link to Congressman Farr’s floor speech on the resolution is currently linked from his home page, http://www.farr.house.gov.

Text of the resolution is available here: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c110:H.RES.1322.IH:

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

KQED Radio Interviews of Various Big Sur Folk


Tue, Jul 8, 2008 -- 9:00 AM
Big Sur Interviews.....
Listen Listen (RealMedia stream)
Listen Download (MP3)
(Windows: right-click and choose "Save Target As." Mac: hold Ctrl, click link, and choose "Save As.")

As wildfires continue to threaten Big Sur, we take a look at the rich history and culture of that coastal community. We also talk with residents about the impact the fire is having on their community.
Host: Michael Krasny
Guests:
Gordon Wheeler, president and CEO of The Esalen Institute, founded in 1962 as an alternative educational center
Kirk Gafill, general manager of Nepenthe and head of the Big Sur Chamber of Commerce
Magnus Toren, executive director of the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur
Paul VanGuerwin, battalion chief for Cal Fire
Steven Harper, wilderness guide, naturalist and psychologist
Sula Nichols, a Big Sur artist whose house burned in the wildfire

NEEDS....Post your need/or Wish to Donate/Volunteer Here: Updated Thurs. 2pm


NEEDS:
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We still are housing evacuees, mostly now from Esalen who can't get back in. We rented another home short term but need a donation of:
1. TWIN BEDS so that we can accomodate people. We need TWO (2) twin beds. Thanks to an anonymous donor we only now need two twin beds.
I know beggars can't be choosers but please only donate stain free, rip free, pet hair and dander free mattresses and springs. Having Sheets and Blankets and newer pillows would also help. We will pick them up.

2. We need a decent, not going to break down tommorrow WASHER AND DRYER for the new evacuee location. Again, We will pick them up. <===HOORAY! WE have a washer, but still need a dryer.

3. The new evacuee house needs painting inside...we fondly call it the Partridge Family House...you will understand when you see the wallpaper!!!! The Comcast guy said they didn't know whether they liked zebra prints or red daisies...so they combined both! Anyone available to help paint? It also needs some clean up: with weedwacker and leaf blower outside.<==Leaf Cleanup has happenned. Thankyou. But that whacky wallpaper is still glaring at us. Things are starting to shape up.

4. Gas Cards would also be helpful for those running around getting things done and picking up donations.

5. A nice dining room table with chairs would be great also. We are currently using a large drum with a piece of glass on top. Yes, it's creative but only fits 4 people around it.<==We still need a dining room table and chairs.

6. An Outdoor table with umbrella with chairs for the backyard. WE are using an ugly card table at present. <==We painted the ugly card table but could use some lounge chairs....being an evacuee is hard work and unsettling...and we can't all stay in the house at the same time.

7. Garbage Cans for each bedroom and kitchen. Pots to boil water in or cook up grub would be great. Thanks to Susan B. we have two frying pans.


8. A TV: We have a very small TV but it's so small (8 in x 5) that you almost can't see it. A Used larger TV would be great.

NOTE we asked for and received: A Wireless Router: <==THANKS TO SYLVIA of Carmel Valley!

9. LARGE CHAIR for LR: A nice large chair E-Z chair for the living room is needing it The person who donated it temporarily is able to get back into Big Sur today so they need it back. Thanks Jim, we all loved sitting in it! He also needs his vacumn cleaner back...so if anyone has a working one that would make us clean freaks happy.

7. DONATE $: If you don't have the above items but wish to help by making a donation, you can do that using PAYPAL if you have a Paypal account. The Paypal acct that you would send the money to is: Harpist4you@cs.com Please note in the information box what you want your donation to be used for. Thankyou SO SO MUCH!
We can't do it without all of you.

E-mail: Harpist4you@cs.com or Call 1-831-899-Susan (7872)
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VOLUNTEERS WISHING TO HELP:
1. HEY SOUTH COASTERS!!! We have a qualified volunteer who is willing to pick up Mail in BS and Monterey as well as bring in other supplies. Her time is free, you pay for the gas..but it would be a great idea for all South Coasters who can't easily get to Monterey to have one person designated to bring you your mail and other supplies twice per week. You would need to arrange with Martin at the Post Office to give permission to give her the mail.
Call my daughter Ariana: at 720-480-7157 to coordinate.


2. Exp. Vol. Firefighter from MD, looking to help
Location: Anywhere

Type of Work: Heavy Duty
I'm a military spouse on Ft. Ord, but am originally from MD and volunteered with my local VFD for over 6 years before moving out here. I have experience with wildland fires, structural fires and mechanical fires as well as all manner of rescue (certified Rescue Technician). My medical certs have lapsed, but I was certified up to EMT-IV.
I want to help! Either assisting civilians pick up and move or go home, assist in moving animals or even go to the fireline with an Indian Tank on my back.

Contact Info: Stephanie
Phone: 831-920-7274
Email: haligangirl@yahoo.com
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To post your wish to donate or your need...use the comment section. Thankyou!
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URGENT: South Coasters NEED OUR HELP NOW, TODAY!


While many of you are happily planning your re-entry back to your homes today in the Northern area of Big Sur...our SOUTH COASTERS are suffering.

IF YOU KNOW ANYONE WHO CAN GET SUPPLIES TO BUCK CREEK AREA. HAVE THEM CALL ME. 831-238-6111 Susan Bradley RN (I also accept text messages.)

GREAT NEWS!!! we have needs handled for the Buck Creek Folks. Thank you to all who have contributed. We're a team, a giant web of support and we can't do it by ourselves.
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WE HAVE SOMEONE WHO CAN GET THE GAS DOWN TO BUCKS CREEK. We have gas cans donated that are in Big Sur, NOW. THANKYOU DONATOR!!!
posted at 11:27am.
---FOLLOWING UP: This need has been filled. HOORAY! All requests for support and who is helping will be kept confidential. The word is that even officials now understand the need and are willing to help and not hinder homeowners who choose to stay and defend their properties. Let's keep it that way. If anyone here's of any reports contrary to this. Please communicate that to us RIGHT AWAY.
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Thankyou to Z for his alerting us so that this post could be on our website.

I just spoke (7 am) with someone at Buck Creek..he's exhausted and very close to running out of gasoline to run his generator to have phones etc. These people south of JPB need help! Let's focus on that this morning...the fire is RIGHT THERE down there... THIS NEED HAS BEEN FILLED!!!
Post on Surfire this am:
Notice
For Anyone : Esalen -- Still Challenged by Fires

As of 10:30 p.m. Monday, the fire in Hot Springs Canyon above Esalen is putting on a show. Over the next 2-3 days as the winds vacillate, the folks who stayed at Esalen to fight the fire may face some real challenges. Esalen is not entirely out of the woods yet. Please keep them in your hearts and minds, even as the mandatory evacuation is lifted for points north.

And don't let the firefighters forget them either!

UPDATE: Email from a friend at Esalen at 12:15am Tuesday...
"The slow burn in Hot Springs Canyon heated up just as the Esalen team was finishing coating the water tanks with fire retardant gel. The Canyon House had been gel'ed earlier. We then watched the fire burn through that area where the water system is located. This is the 23rd anniversary, maybe even to the very day, that the Rat Creek fire burned this same part of the Canyon. It's dark now so that it can't be determined yet what the damage is. The fire burned more intensely than anything I've seen so far, with redwoods going up in torches shooting flames and sparks hundreds of feet into the air. It's easy to see how all the dangerous outlying smaller fires get ignited by this shower of embers. The south wall of the canyon is continuing to burn towards the highway. There are smaller fires in the floor of the canyon. During the day they are marked by plumes of smoke, and in the night their flames can be seen. An Office of Emergency Services Strike Team from Santa Maria is on site. It's not a question of trying to 'fight' the fire. The strategy is to let it burn as there isn't really a practical alternative in this rugged country. In the dark no less. The important thing is to prevent its crossing the highway. It looks like the main event is ...taking place right now. Looks like it could be a long night."

Posted by Z to Big Sur - The Scoop - Big Sur Now -Real Info for Residents & Supporters at July 8, 2008 7:15 AM

Monday, July 7, 2008

HWY 1 STILL ONLY OPEN for Residents


Woohoo!!!
At Monday Nights Meeting, it was announced that HIGHWAY ONE will reopen for RESIDENTS and EMPLOYEES ONLY from Palo Colorado Canyon to Julia Pfeiffer Burns. On Wed, the mandatory closure was changed to soft closure down to Esalen.
Don't forget our South Coast Friends and those at Esalen!
Susan Bradley RN

Update: Thursday: Long time resident Laurie states: I went back home but ended up returning to PB stay with my best friend as it's just not that great to be back in that environment. I made sure when I left for the mandatory evacuation that I took some clothes and plans for some updates that cost me 10k~!

OUR NOTES FROM BIG SUR NOW: We don't think people should be in such a big hurry to bring back their things. Remember that this is the beginning of fire season. Take your time making decisions and remember that you can be evacuated again.

Update: Wed--residents state...they feel the effects of the smoke in their lungs and need to take a break from the area still.

Update 5:43 pm Tuesday: Very SMOKY in Palo Colorado Canyon today. Take a break from the smoke. Some people say that it's making them sneeze. I took Claritin for it and that took care of that.

Drive Slowly in Big Sur. We heard reports of Sheriff's running licence plates in Sur.

Passes for those who live/work on the East Side of HWY 1 will be available starting Wed at the MAF.

COMMUNITY MEETING IS AT THE MAF tonight. CPOA checks will be distributed there ahead of time. The Red Cross Shelter was disbanded last Wed night and support services from many agencies will be at the GRANGE HALL in Big Sur.

THE DEBATE on the CURTIS FAMILY Protecting their home

Okay OKAY everybody....out of 78 posts to date at the L.A. times...only 4 were anti-Curtis backfiring.

Here's the first ten....Add your own thoughts in the comment section of this particular blog.

1. This incident should be used as a building block to create a program to teach citizens how to defend their property from fire, since firefighters and their resources are not sufficient to help everyone. Enabling people to help themselves is the best strategy, given the inadequate resources in remote locations. Also, what jury of one's peers would convict these guys? That, against the likely prospect of losing it all, was worth the gamble.
Submitted by: brenda
2:54 PM PDT, July 7, 2008
2. Mr. Curtis, ask for a jury trial. There is no way a jury in Monterey County will convict a person of defending what is theirs. Maybe you can write down instructions for others who may need to defend their property from wildfires?
Submitted by: Marianne
2:47 PM PDT, July 7, 2008
3. way to go guys! have never felt safer renting from anyone. the Curtis' know their land, and they proved it. i'm glad those 2 weeks of brush clearing payed off. i needed the rest. can't wait to go home!
Submitted by: denim
2:41 PM PDT, July 7, 2008
4. People would be singing a completely different tune if the fire they started had gotten out of control and burned someone else's property down or even killed someone. It is only property. They didn't do it to save a life. The law is the law and when you break it you must face the consequences.
Submitted by: JW
2:39 PM PDT, July 7, 2008
5. if you are blessed to call it home you would do everything in your power to protect it. Relying on the already strained forest service, who can't even pronounce the names of our ridges, peaks and valleys was and is not an option if you have any intention of preserving your land. Ross shouldn't be vilified or seen as a martyr, all people should care about now is that the curtis family succeeded. If the case even goes to trial, he will take the rap for everyone, or there will be an "I am Spartacus" type circus. Any punishment may or may not be just, but the alternative to obey the evacuation and not fight would have been even more devastating.
Submitted by: Lee
2:13 PM PDT, July 7, 2008
6. in response to ben's comment, all the failure of communication, lack of local knowledge on the part of fire crews and law enforcement, fear mongering (threatening to arrest residents and asking for access to dental records!) and general government ineptitude aside, referring to the curtis' property on apple pie ridge as a "compound" is not loaded language because that IS what it IS. It is MANY homes spread across expansive ridge views with a gorgeous avocado and citrus orchard, grape vines, gardens, a swimming pool and dozens of tenants that are a vital part of the big sur community. If you have ever been there, you know, and
Submitted by: Lee
2:13 PM PDT, July 7, 2008
7. I applaud Mr. Curtis for his heroic acts of bravery. He did the right. Now, could everyone have done this? No. Of course not. Yet, he knew exactly what he was doing, and so I commend him. I would do it, too. Then again, I am a Cal Fire firefighter for 12 seasons.
Submitted by: Support for Mr. Curtis' Back fire
2:11 PM PDT, July 7, 2008
8. If you knew exactly what to do in this type of situation, what would you have done to protect your property when you knew the firefighters weren't coming?
Submitted by: Betty
1:49 PM PDT, July 7, 2008
9. I live in fire country in the NW and I commend these guys. Anyone who thinks it should be left to government "professionals" doesn't have much knowledge of what has happened to wildland firefighting over the last thirty years. We had an incompetent federal fireboss get a group of firefighters killed over east of here and no one was out arresting him. Instead the Forest Service covered up every way they could and they still are.
Submitted by: Karen
1:44 PM PDT, July 7, 2008
10. Hopefully this case will go the way of the people in Sacramento who were punished for letting their lawn die in a drought.... Government which can't do what it is supposed to do, should not be meddling in the lives of those who do what they have to do. Are govt employees the only ones alllowed to use their god-given brains????
Submitted by: penna
1:34 PM PDT, July 7, 2008

Power is Back On -down to Nepenthe 5:40pm Tuesday

Power is on down to Nepenthe 5:40pm Tuesday

URGENT! THOSE S. of JFB We need to KNOW what supplies you need


IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY IN BIG SUR inside the evacuated zone south of JFB and north of LUCIA. We need to hear from you or someone that you designate. We will FIGURE OUT A WAY TO GET YOU SUPPLIES. We do care about you and you are our community.

IF YOU HAVE A CONNECTION TO GET GASOLINE FOR GENERATORS AND OTHER MAN SUPPORT TO OUR NEIGHBORS AT BURNS CREEK ETC. YOU MUST LET US KNOW NOW. CALL IMMEDIATELY.
By being able to get down to JFB at least we can now be on Highway 1 and get closer to getting them supplies.

We have a significant anonymous benefactor willing to donate and provide supplies.
Those of you who are in contact with people in the RED ZONE...need to email me IMMEDIATELY at Harpist4You@cs.com and/or call at 831-238-6111
Susan Bradley

It's "NOT" over yet, We're still in the Woods!


History has shown that Big Sur Folk, nearly ALWAYS stay to defend their properties.
They know the land better than their rescuers. They know the back trails and that they can count on their neighbors.

But IT"S NOT OVER YET!!! The first fire of the summer has taught us all.
But will you remember?

There could be more fires this summer. We hope not but all of us should be prepared.
Some of the things that you might want to consider for the future.
Here are some of the suggestions that you in the Big Sur Community have already mentioned:
1. Storing of canned foods if you have to hunker down on your property.
2. Hiring trained personnel who can get into your property to be there with you before there is a hard road closure.
3. Establish protocol for getting supplies in and out for home and business owners. Convoys? Escorted personnel who drop off deliveries once a day. After all if the SPCA is allowed to go in to rescue some chickens, why can't they also drop off some food and other supplies?
4. Penny Verigee is saying that the Red Cross will come into the Grange and teach Distaster Training so that more Big Sur folk can more effectively stay behind.
5. Cut paths to and from your neighbors so that you can support each other more effectively.
6. Get wireless internet cards for your computers. And create an email list of Big Surians, sort of how PelicanNetwork's surfire email list works.
7. Make sure you have ONE PERSON who is always documenting and photographing things...recording names of responders.
8. Always keep your propane and diesel for generators topped off. Water tanks too.
Keep extra gasoline for your chain saws.
9. Make sure you do things to protect your eyes, throat, and lungs from smoke. Somehow create a smoke free area within your area...check to see if you can get oxygen to help with anyone affected by the smoke.
10. Have plastic containers ready for evacuation. Keep inventory list. Have a grab and go box with all important documents.
11. Fire gel lasts from 3 to 5 years if you shake it up twice per year. Have it on hand. FEMA might not be able to get to your home in time. Learn how to gel your home.
12. Keep your homes defendable. Clear Clear Clear. Have a firefighter come to your home to make suggestions on making your home defendable. Keep tin foil available to cover plastic windows and skylights. Make sure you have ladders.
Okay...we are now waiting for more of your comments...and suggestions.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Must reads...from Newspapers around the world. New additions 5:57pm



style="float:right; margin:0 0 10px 10px;cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_Si4Ndu-KuO4/SHQcSQgnDtI/AAAAAAAAAC8/Iw3dixwyF1k/s200/DSCF5934.JPG" border="0" alt=""id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5220828968024215250" />
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Heartlessness hurts fire-weary residents - MontereyHerald.com http://www.montereyherald.com/letters/ci_9800533 <==THIS IS A MUST READ.
(Thankyou Keith Harlan for sending us this link!!!)
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Also www.mercurynews.com/ci_9800218
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THE LINK FOR THE FULL ARTICLE IN LA TIMES ON THE CURTIS FAMILY PROTECTING THEIR HOMES
http://www.latimes.com/news/science/environment/la-me-backfire7-2008jul07,0,722249.story
Out of 78 comments on the article only 4 condemned their actions. What's your thought?
====================================================>
CHRIS COUNTS RECOUNTS THE DAY THE FIRE STARTED and the Spirit of Big Sur===> http://www.pineconearchive.com/080704-2.htm
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San Fran Chronicle

Life at Big Sur Fire: hard work, free fruit

Steve Rubenstein,Sabin Russell, Chronicle Staff Writers
Monday, July 7, 2008
(07-07) 04:00 PDT Big Sur -- They went through the last of the bananas Sunday and started in on the lettuce.
Hundreds of these stubborn holdouts - ordered days ago to leave this fire-scorched area - remain hunkered down on their properties, garden hoses at the ready.

Meanwhile, their perishables continue to perish.

"Today, it's bananas," said Kurt Mayer, proprietor of Big Sur Center Deli, hauling out a crate of 100 of them. "Everyone who comes in has to take a banana."
The only people coming into the deli are firefighters and other emergency workers. The closure of Highway 1 means no tourists, and the evacuation order means any resident who chooses to stay must remain on his property or face arrest. For most, that means no free bananas.

Firefighter Ron McCraner, who has been working for a week straight, took three bananas. He helped defend the deli two days earlier, when flames crept to the east side of Highway 1, just across the road, and embers were flying like fireflies. He figured he had earned more than one banana.

"The work is pretty tough, but rewarding," he said. "It's better than a desk job. You're helping to save wonderful things. And you are doing a job that makes your kids proud of you."

The deli, Mayer said, could go broke unless the road reopens - real soon. He said he's losing $6,000 a day.

"It's summer, you make all your money now, to tide you over through the winter," Mayer said. "This is serious."

Big Sur seemed to be from another planet. Through the smoke, the morning sun glowed redder than at sunset.

The world-famous highway, usually the domain of lumbering RVs and full of swivel-neck tourists, was deserted, save for water tankers, fire trucks and patrol cars.

Near the River Inn, on the northern edge of Big Sur's resort area, small patches of open flame burned unchecked a few feet from the east side of the highway. Elsewhere, blackened, charred plots of land checkered the landscape.

According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the Basin Complex fires were only 11 percent contained as of Sunday. They have consumed a total of 74,985 acres and destroyed 22 homes. Nearly 1,800 structures and 22 commercial properties are still threatened.

At the Gap Fire near Santa Barbara, almost 2,900 homes and 228 commercial structures are threatened. The fire has burned 9,924 acres but has destroyed just four structures.

Statewide, Cal Fire reports that 597,910 acres have been scorched since the fire siege of 1,781 mostly lightning-sparked blazes began on June 20. As of Sunday, 1,451 of those fires had been contained, leaving 330 active wildfires throughout California.

More than 20,000 people have been deployed to fight fires throughout the state.

Monterey County spokeswoman Kathy Hilliker said firefighters hoped to use Sunday's favorable weather to prepare for hot weather and potentially strong winds from the east today.

"They are doing a lot of backfires and 'dozer roads up north and working hard on backfires at the south end," she said.
The worry here is that strong winds may accompany the next heat wave. "They keep talking about Sundowner winds. They come from the east, and are like the Santa Ana winds in Southern California. They are doing everything possible to be ready for it."

Hilliker said that the fire now does not pose a risk to the Carmel Valley, the posh and more highly populated region to the north of the blaze. "We have had a plan in place for days and days," she said. "The cost of the homes really has no relevance. We're trying to protect everything."

A mile south of the Big Sur Center Deli, chef Tod Williamson grabbed all the remaining strawberries in the walk-in refrigerator at the landmark Nepenthe Restaurant and boiled them all into syrup and jam. Earlier, he grilled the remaining shrimp and fish and tossed whatever was left over.

"It's the final purge," he said. "The only thing left is the lettuce. Forty-five cases."
Throughout the day, neighbors slipped in and out of the spectacular restaurant. Most came by way of trails through the brush - rather than risk being spotted on Highway 1 by a sheriff's deputy.

Longtime resident Ward Stephens took a break from garden hose duty at his home, a quarter of a mile north, and slipped through the woods. Nepenthe was serving complimentary lunch to its neighbors. "I have two cats, and a garden and a beautiful home," he said. "I'm getting cabin fever. But the only places that are being saved are the ones being watched by owners and caretakers."

Restaurant manager Tom Birmingham said Nepenthe was losing $60,000 a day.
He spent the past couple of days sweeping fire debris from the deck. The fallen ash has turned the celebrated patio into something that looks like the surface of the moon.

"It felt good to take it back from the fire," he said. "Even if we're not going to open right away, it doesn't hurt to get ready."

On Sunday afternoon, the fire's northern front line was centered at the end of Palo Colorado Road, about halfway between Big Sur and Monterey. There, firefighters were building a 10-mile-long firebreak to protect wooden cottages at the base of the road and the larger homes of Carmel Valley to the north.

At Bottcher's Gap, a staging area for the battlefield, exhausted crews in yellow suits lay sprawled on the side of the road trying to keep their legs away from passing fire engines and out of the poison oak. A pair of water tankers - a big one and a little one - met on the road. The big one delivered 2,000 gallons to the little one, to carry up to the fire lines.

Tanker driver Randy Pearson has been filling up water tankers and fire engines for two weeks straight. "I love the mountains, and I hate to see them burn," he said. "But fire season helps the wallet."

Nearby, at a lookout spot on Long Ridge, a group of anxious residents gazed with crossed fingers at the growing firebreak. "We all hope this works," said sculptor Keith Bispo, who lives down the road. "If it gets past this spot, we're screwed."

Bispo and his wife, Melissa, already have moved all their possessions from their home, including three dozen glass and bronze sculptures of eagles and wolves.

"We're living in this beautiful space on the whim of Mother Nature," he said. "She comes along like this every once in a while. It teaches you humility."
CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES

As of Sunday, 23 major wildfires were active in California. Counting smaller blazes, the number of active wildfires is 330. There have been 1,781 fires since June 20.

Damage: The fires have consumed about 598,000 acres and destroyed at least 40 homes. They are threatening 10,057 homes and 395 commercial buildings.

Response: Fires are being battled in 15 counties - a fight involving 19,232 people, 1,519 fire engines and 95 helicopters. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has ordered training of 400 members of the California National Guard to reinforce firefighters.

Largest fire: The Basin Complex fires in Big Sur have burned more acres - 74,985 - than any other fire in the state.

For updates: www.fire.ca.gov. For a map of fires around the state: links.sfgate.com/ZEBK

Other useful sites: www.nepenthebigsur.com and www.surfire2008.org Source: Cal Fire

Steve Rubenstein reported from Big Sur and Sabin Russell from San Francisco. E-mail the writers at srubenstein@sfchronicle.com and srussell@sfchronicle.com.

This article appeared on page B - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle
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Web site builds community of those displaced by Big Sur fire
COMMUNITY FORMS AMID BIG SUR BLAZE
By Lisa M. Krieger
Mercury News
Article Launched: 07/06/2008 01:30:27 AM PDT


In the mayhem of the Big Sur fire, there are countless rumors. And there are official government statements - too little, too late.

Then there are bloggers Stan Russell and Steve Harper, posting quick updates of what they see from undisclosed locations within the smoky fire zone.

Lone voices in a vast wilderness, Russell and Harper send reports of shifting hot spots and havens to the dispersed Big Sur community via the Web site Surfire2008.org. Webmaster Lisa Goettel - displaced by the evacuation and presumed homeless - manages the site from a table in a Carmel coffee shop.

As the fire grows, "we're trying to keep people informed," Russell said. By Saturday night, the fire claimed 71,285 acres and 22 homes. The largest water-scooping seaplane in the world, which holds 7,200 gallons, arrived Saturday night in Monterey from Canada.

"We're opening up the channel of communications," he said. "We saw a need to get quick and accurate information to people."

Post your links in the comment section. If you want to be a regular contributor to this website...you must have a yahoo.com account to sign in and out.

We welcome your participation.

Lobbying for More Firefighting Resources


Silvia Ramirez, here, previously used to live by Palo Colorado. Thanks for those who previously posted messages about lobbying and letter writing for more help, it got me to thinking, maybe we could do that in that in big numbers quickly and easily through an internet website.

After some research, found the website www.thepetitionsite.com where it seems we could set it up. I have no experience in this area whatsover, nor am I that computer savvy, would someone who does be willing to set it up? Please call or email me.

I'm thinking the following to include in the petition:

1. Send to Governor Schwarzenegger, Rep. Sam Farr D-Salinas, Sen. Abel Maldonado R- San Luis Obispo and maybe President Bush

2. Get a list from Commander Mike Dietrich and Frank Pinney at the community meeting exactly what else is it that they need to put this fire out and request exactly that on the petition.( Went the 4th of July community meeting and Commander Mike Dietrich was asked if they had enough resources and he said "No".)

3. Plans to mitigate landslides come winter need to be started immediately.
Assessment of the Highway 1 needs to be done as soon as the fire is put out. Bids for contracts to be put ASAP before winter comes. We need to ask for fast track action, come winter it is just too late.

4.Include that by getting the adaquate resources now, we are also benefiting the respiratory health of Californians, especially those in the central valley who have been exposed to unrelenting long term smoke exposure since the Indians fire began 6/08/08. Expenditures spent now to end the Basin fire equates to less expenditures spent later for health care, not be mention the reduction of work productivity due to lung problems.

5. Other related clean up measures after the fire ends.

6. FEMA assistance.

If anyone else has any other ideas of either a better website to use than wwww.thepetionsite.com or what to include, either call me, email me or post under notices here on BigSurNow.com

To all who want to help, but not sure what to do, to all of us who love Big Sur so dearly, lets ultilize our democracy together to help put an end this fire and begin the process of the rebuilding.


Silvia

EVENTS and Big Sur Gatherings

For anyone planning a get-together or event for locals or locals and their supporters, you can either post it here by posting it as a comment or sending it to me via email.

Jennifer called to announce a "Spontaneous Flying Big Sur People Party" on Carmel Beach on Tuesday July 8th. What time Jennifer? Call us back please.

So Let's get together and BE ALL RIGHT!!!

BIG SUR BUSINESS OWNERS and Employees

For all Big Sur Business Owners who would like to make contact with their employees when everyone is so scattered. If you would like to make a general announcement here, either email me at SusanBradley01@comcast.net or...call me at 831-238-6111 and I will post it for you.

If you want to call a meeting for your staff, post it here. If you have support for them, post it here.

If you are an employee wanting to contact your employer and have a specific question, you can either email it to us or post it as a comment.

Kudos to Post Ranch Inn and Ventana for providing support to their staff.

RANTS

Freedom of Speech. Do you have any rants? I believe it is just as important to express our rants as well as our praises. Post your rants, by making a comment. This is how you can express yourself.

Sunday Conditions as reported by different locations

All,
I just called folks who are staying at home, and learned that conditions are greatly improved today. The fire, due to the good weather and back fires, is very much controled in the principal population area from Loma Vista to Molera. Folks sound positive.
jack
---

South Coast-Lucia
We're fine. Have our satellite internet to be connected. We topped off our fuel at the beginning of the month so we're good for three months. We're just trying to figure out from one moment to the next whether or not we are in a soft or hard closure. Hard to understand why one area would be closed 150 ft from fire and others are closed for many miles. We send people to the the C.V. Community Meetings because it doesn't make much sense to drive 150 miles to get to it.
IF there's anything I know, it's that in 40 years...people down here just plain don't leave their properties. What we know is that if there is a fire...the firefighters will first have to secure the perimeter. The last priority is our homes, therefore, we have to take care of ourselves.

---
If you have a report...please just use the comment section to add your information.

Adopt a Sheriff

This excerpt from SurFire2008.org brings up some great points!!
I was intimately involved in the activities in and around the fire, and in particular, partington ridge. firefighters from various states were there, and fought hard to protect properties, and the future of the community. Throughout big sur they have dedicated their energies to save various structures and land.

I saw how some of these crews worked so hard, I see their dedication to properties belonging to people they have never met before.

We cannot malign those who see an obvious danger, and perhaps no escape route. who can blame them? I would not go where my life is at risk.

All that said, the Monterey county sheriff's department has shown some incredibly rude behavior to our residents. With very little understanding about our small community of big sur, some deputies have swung in, threatening and verbally sparring, with no sympathy or awareness to who lives here.

we are not a bunch of hippies living in a wild wilderness area. we expect some respect and human response. Doesn't everyone?

In a situation like this, we all need a cup of human kindness - give the people some space, and a little more consideration. we ALL need to work together on this...

adopt a sheriff today = be kind to that one person, and let's see what change we can make happen.
Rock on big sur

Support and Supplies for those inside BIG SUR ZONE

Advice,Support and Supplies

SUPPLIES: If you or someone you know needs supplies inside the "Zone" do not post them here. E-mail me directly at Harpist4you@cs.com or call 831-899-Susan (7872)

LEGAL ADVICE: Two attorneys have said-Document as much as you can from inside. Write down licence plates, names of authorities, log as much as you can. Take photos, audios, and videos.

WHEN LEAVING THE ZONE: Try to go out in pairs so that there is a witness to anything that might happen. The Penal Code can get you for entering or re-entering the Zone but not for leaving.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE: Though you may feel isolated and if it is a police state, you are not alone. There are many well wishers supporting you and coming up with new ways to help you reach your goals and keep you safe. WE have heard wonderful tales of support from people as well as tales that make us cringe. Keep communicating with us on the outside.

Post Comments and Questions for those inside the Zone. Here.

Thankyou's for All

Here is another place to express your thanks so someone for something.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

LODGING FOR EVACUEES-yes some people still can't go home 7/10

If you have a room for rent, for free, for trade, etc...Please Post it here.
We are currently still housing evacuees as Esalen still isn't able to bring back their people. Remember these people have now been out of work for nearly three weeks. Let's help them as much as we can.

Be specific. Try finding a match for your space. Do you accept pets? Do you have pets and does anyone have pet allergies?

I have found it helps to ask where they were employed and what their needs are if any. We have a father daughter combo, singles who snore, some who don't, some who love sleeping on a couch...hey after all they slept in a tent in Big Sur for a long time. Some who need more quiet and privacy than others. Everyone wants to help in some way...washing dishes, cleaning up,and it has been so appreciated.

In our house, people see each other in the mornings for a bit and then pretty much disappear for most of the day and then come back together again after the nightly meeting.

It has really been a blessing to house more than just one person in our house, adding a few one night, subtracting another night. So, if you have a place for people to live, let us all know.

And, is this temporary? short term? long term?

THE CPOA Checks! Thankyou! How they have Helped

For those of you who so generously have donated money to help the evacuees. We thankyou thankyou thankyou! Big Sur Land Trust donated 100k! And people in the community and nearby cities donated another 25k.

I personally am housing evacuees. Contrary to what someone wrote on another blog.
No one is out there "partying" with the checks.

In fact, many of the people who have either received or are waiting to receive checks are wandering around trying to just figure out what to do next with their lives. Limbo isn't fun. Questions ramble through their heads and hearts?
Do I return to Big Sur? Do I move? There are evacuees in my home trying to study for the courses they are still in, in college. Everyone in my house is being good natured with each other....sharing personal stories. Getting to know each other in a different more connected way. When those that do return to Big Sur, return, they will all be able to look each other in the eyes with a certain knowingness that wasn't present before as many people knew each other by sight but not always by names and personal stories.

No, no one I know is out "partying" with the checks...but..they are grateful, and moved that even though for many the amount is little compared to the need. Their spirits are lifted knowing that "people in this world" truly care.

And even if they have to go back and forth to the meetings, one, two, and even three times before they can receive a check. At least they will have tangible proof that
of "generosity."

Please share personally how the check has supported you in your lives.

Support for How People are Personally Feeling

Thanks for asking for what you want and here it is:
Could/would you add an 'archive' title or particular 'place' on this blog for people to post how they are personally FEELING through this ordeal? Not about the politics, or details, but the 'heart-strings'?

Who will be the first to share?

UPDATE from the Homeowner Front

These are up to date comments, from the mouths of the actual but different parties who are still in the evacuation zone. These people are not going to be identified at this time. One of them already left "the zone"

For those of you who want to know what is really going on for the homeowners and friends who stayed inside the evacuation zone.
Pfeiffer:
"Pfeiffer Ridge needs supplies and food mostly."

North of the Deli:
"The smoke is thick. I get headaches from it and feel dizzy sometimes. I am going to go rest a bit."

Other Big Sur areas:
"We asked for water and they did not bring it, instead they sent us 3 firefighters from Idaho who seemed like rookies. We had to even show them what to do. "

"The firefighters and sheriff are doing more to actually prevent and stop our progress and than help."

"The Sheriff came up the driveway so fast to try and arrest us that he ran over our water hoses, causes them to have holes. We need more supplies to fix them."

"The Sheriffs were trying to find all kinds of bogus reasons to arrest us. First they kept making sure they we understood over and over that we were not to light any fires. Though we kept on repeating that we got what they said...they kept on. Then when we thought they were going to leave and I was going in to get a drink of water before resuming firefighting...one of the Sheriff's starting asking me if I owned the home or lived there. He said several times-that he could arrest us for violating tenants rights by entering without advance notice. We responded by saying that we didn't think the "tenants who were evacuated would mind if we entered the home we were protecting to get some water to drink" "We also mentioned that we felt that the Sheriff was operating on "automatic" instead of considering the situation. Finally after a few pointless back and forths, we just had to say: "We have a fire to fight...we cannot continue this conversation. They finally left us alone." (Paraphrased for brevity)

"They are doing everything they can to get in our way of our fire fighting efforts. We asked some firefighters who were acting negative towards us to back up their trucks and leave the driveway a slightly different way. The firefighters basically said: No, we aren't going to back up, we want you to unhook your hose. We responded. "We don't have time to unhook the hoses, please back up." They responded: Well the Sheriff is behind us and he won't back up, so neither will we." The Sheriff was asked to back up, he did and this time they did not run over and ruin our water hoses.

"While we hide in the woods to prevent from being harassed and arrested, the fire gains and we lose. They are not gelling anything here,nor are they putting any water on anything. They are not defending these homes."

"They are afraid to go to the road or leave the home because, once they are taken out, they know they won't be able to go back in to fight the fire."

"A few people want to leave but are afraid that they will be arrested. They need a way to leave without that happening. Isn't that what the Sheriff wants people to do? Leave? Let us leave without threat of arrest then."

SOUTH COAST:
Keith Harlan called about an hour ago to thank us for this web blog. He said that when they put the road barriers down in South Coast..they somehow forgot that the campground was still full of people. Tourists. It's just kind of crazy down here. Why are they trying to starve out people who have decided to stay and protect their homes?

If there is anyone who feels that their comments should be edited further. Let us know via phone so that we can make this as accurate as possible.

Missing Posts from SurFire2008.org-MORE GO MISSING 7/7

Dear PENDOODLES...thankyou for alerting us that your post at SURFIRE2008.org got deleted. We don't know who is deleting them. The main reason I created BIGSURNOW.com was to prevent posts from mysteriously disappearing. Many of mine and others had been deleted. It isn't just one person deleting posts from SurFire. The posting system is set up that anyone can post, change, and/or delete your posting. This is why BIG SUR NOW.com is here. When you are posting on Surfire...if you think that what you are posting might be controversial...just save a copy of it and send it to us at Harpist4You@cs.com and we will post it for you here. NO ONE CAN DELETE YOUR POSTING>>>YOU WILL NOT BE CENSORED at www.BigSurNow.com

pls forward to whomever you think can help.
The following was saved and reposted here. Apparently in this case, Stan deleted his own post because of conversations with Lisa who is doing a really fabulous job, by the way. However, she wants her site to be more neutral and just put out facts without anything that could be inflammatory. That is fine, it is her site and she has worked hard and been dedicated. She has a link to my blog and others on her site. There is room for EVERY TYPE OF SITE. What I promise al of you is that YOU WILL NOT BE CENSORED HERE.
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Apple Pie Ridge in Big Sur --Homeowner's homes are not really being protected like you would think. So many home and biz owners have stayed behind...to defend their properties even with mandatory evacuations because....the truth is that homes are not being defended as promised. We want the country to have the WHOLE truth and not part of the truth. The below posting was deleted on surfire2008.org


July 4, 2008 by stanrussell
Kodiak and others remain to fight the fire on Apple Pie. No firefighters have come to help. One homeowner has been arrested. Officers came with automatic weapons.

Kodiak and crew have been up two days straight. 1,642 people are “assigned” to this fire but none seem to be helping the home owners. They are on the road trying to stop the fire from jumping the road. Kodiak says fire crews have come up to see how they are doing, tell them that they can’t believe these 6 guys have fought off this fire and drive their trucks off the ridge.

Power is still out at Post Ranch. Generators are all working perfectly. The generator is still humming at Ventana and they’re pumping water tenders full of water.

A helicopter is still pulling water from the pond at Post Ranch Inn as fast as it can loop from the pond to the fire.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

7/4 3:20pm - Update from Steve Harper
July 4, 2008 by thebirdsings
By phone from Steve this afternoon:

The electricity has gone out for the whole valley between 1 and 2pm (at least from River Inn south.) This is presenting a particular concern for water pumps not on generator and communications.

Backfiring continues with crews at the Highway near east Molera, as well as along the north side of Captain Cooper road.

Tags: Captain Cooper, electricity, molera, power
Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Post Ranch Inn 3:10PM July 4
July 4, 2008 by stanrussell
We have a helicopter working out of the pond and dumping water east of Highway 1 across from Loma Vista and in the Post Creek drainage next to Ventana. The fire is burning through the redwoods approaching the highway. Smoke is floating through the redwood trees like heavy fog. Although I haven’t been down to the highway a reporter from the San Jose Mercury drove into Post Ranch and says that a crew has trimmed back both sides of the highway with chain saws etc.

The helicopter occasionally makes a round trip to Mule Canyon so there must be a flair up in there again.

Post Ranch has CalFire trucks on the south shoulder below Billy Post’s house (where I’m writing from), about five trucks a hundred yards south of the pond along the fresh fire break. They came up earlier today and drove their truck through the Tree Houses area and Martin filled a flatbed truck with branches cleared away so that they’d have clearance.

The fire is burning slowly and aside from the whop whop whop of helicopters, thank you very much, it doesn’t look like a runaway fire and all the ground forces are in place to defend it from jumping the highway.

Tags: Add new tag, post creek, Post Ranch, Ventana watershed
Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

7/4 2:30pm: Update from Jonathan Farrington
July 4, 2008 by thebirdsings
Report from John by phone this afternoon:

The fire continues to burn down Post Creek. There is heavy road clearing happening now in the vicinity of Loma Vista and the Deli on the east side of the highway.

The fire has burned down to Highway One between northbound mile markers 50-51 (near Molera). The fire there is totally controlled.

There are a number of crews working around Captain Cooper School doing clearing work.

Tags: bakery, Captain Cooper, deli, loma vista, molera, post creek
Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

7/4 12:30pm: Torre Canyon Update
July 4, 2008 by thebirdsings
Report from a local resident by phone today:

We drove the highway last night at 8:30pm from Nepenthe to Partington (but not up Partington) and there was no fire visible from the highway anywhere.

Torre Canyon is cool now, having burned out 10 days ago. The whole area is very quiet.

People walking through Torre canyon this morning are reporting the area is totally cool and there is no fire activity at all.

Tags: torre, torre canyon
Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Ewoldsen UPDATE
July 4, 2008 by stanrussell
We have a visual from Ross Curtis that the homestead did burn.

Curtis’s have successfully saved 6 homes on Apple Pie ridge.

Looks like the Sheriff have come back to arrest the Curtis. Kodiak and others remain to fight the fire.

Frank Pinney has met with Incident Command regarding Ewoldsen area and is making contact with Mica regarding the fire issue.

Phenager Creek looks to be heating up. We can see smoke from rising billowing up. As Mica said, there’s a lot of fuel in the canyon.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

7/4 10am: Update from Jonathan Farrington
July 4, 2008 by thebirdsings
John just drove from Molera base camp to Ventana and reported the following by phone:

There is some fire burning very slowly right down to the highway between mileage marker 50 and 51 just before Molera state park.

Activity is pretty low at this time, the air is cool and clear at the lower levels. It remains very smoky and dense at the 1200 ft. level and higher.

There was a very active fire last night at Ventana – the dozer line was reinforced and is now 4 dozer lanes wide into the campground. Structures are still under threat but all buildings are intact. The property is 100% evacuated.

Tags: molera, Ventana
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7/4 10am: Update from Steven Harper
July 4, 2008 by thebirdsings
Report by phone from Steven Harper:

Based on views from Clear Ridge, the fire at Juan Higuera (just to the south of Ripplewood and north of the Grange) watershed on the east side of the highway was very active last night. The winds are calmer today and the fire is burning more slowly now. In most places the fire remains 200-500 ft. above the highway, with the exception of the state park firing range area near Molera, where the fire is burning very slowly right down to the highway. It is speculated that this may be a back burn.

There are no reports of the fire having crossed the highway at this time.

Up on Apple Pie there are still mixed reports on structures affected at the Curtis’. There has been confirmation from several sources that the Ewoldsen’s barn has burned.

Fire is still above Captain Cooper and the school is intact. There appears to be low fire activity there at this time and there are engines there to protect the structure.

Tags: Apple Pie, Captain Cooper, ewoldsen, molera
Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Ewoldsen Knoll
July 4, 2008 by stanrussell
Just spoke with Mica. They bought their own D4 dozer and got it in from Los Angeles on 24 hour notice just before the road closed. They’re defending their property. Blaze has a crew up Pheniger Creek. Fire last night burned through the meadow and Ewoldsen Knoll. Not sure if the homestead survived.

Could use a hotshot crew - 50 people up there could tamp down the fires. I’ve called around. No response yet.

Forest Service trucks etc. are parked on the road at the bottom of their driveway but nobody’s coming up. The crew changes every 8 hours, they go down and brief them, another crew comes in…

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Post Ranch 9:00 AM
July 4, 2008 by stanrussell
The CalFire Battalion Chief paid a visit this morning to let us know they’ll be parking some more engines up here. Water tenders were helping to refill the pond until about 3AM last night. The fire burned slowly, continuing toward the road. They’re positioning people so that when the fire reaches the road that’s where it will stop.

Turns out Dan Priano is a pretty good cook. We’ve been having some very nice meals. All our communication lines are open and we have electricity - and generators if needed. Locals are moving around in the backroads - the “Ridgerunners.” Nobody has gone Mad Max. We’re all staying in touch and safe.

No official briefings have been distributed through email since yesterday morning.

We had telephone contact this morning with Ross Curtis and the report from Apple Pie Ridge is that everyone is doing well.

----- Original Message -----
From: Lil32718@aol.com
To: susanbradley01@comcast.net
Sent: Friday, July 04, 2008 10:30 AM
Subject: Re: article about how you can stay in your homes


wow - that's horrible... i'm coming up that way on the 14th and had looked forward to going thru big sur on the way back... seeing you, if possible. just when i thought the time was right... keep me posted.

thanks... love.
L

In a message dated 7/4/2008 10:11:18 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, susanbradley01@comcast.net writes:
BIG SUR (CBS 5 / AP / BCN) ― A ferocious wildfire descended Thursday on the storied and scenic town of Big Sur along California's Central Coast, destroying some cabins and vacation homes that were nestled against miles of burning forest land.

The stubborn Big Sur blaze was just one of hundreds raging around the state, including two new fires burning in Southern California's Santa Barbara and San Bernardino counties.

Officials also reported California's first firefighter death this year — a volunteer who collapsed on the fire line in Mendocino County.

Monterey County: Basin Complex Fire

About 900 residents were forced to flee Big Sur ahead of the Basin Complex Fire, leaving the tourist region mostly deserted and abandoned, as piles of charred rubble smoldered along a closed coastal Highway 1.

At least 17 homes had destroyed by the 64,305-acre fire prior to Thursday, but fire officials could not immediately provide numbers on the newly-burned property.

Crews along the state highway fought back flames from some homes and historic landmarks, including the upscale Ventana Inn which was surrounded by crackling, burning brush late Thursday afternoon.

About 60 firefighters were hunkered down at the Ventana, trying to save the 243-acre historic compound. The rustic inn had been sprayed with foamy fire retardant and was covered in ash as flames blazed about 500 yards away from the inn's restaurant.

"This is a big, big deal," said Scott Myhre, a battalion chief with the Salinas Fire Dept. "This resort is very well known."

While many Big Sur residents followed mandatory evacuation orders issued this week, some chose to defy the orders -- staying behind to try to save their homes and businesses.

Public safety officials said they could not force property owners to leave, but those who refused to go must sign waivers naming their next of kin and dentist in case they perish in the fire and have to be identified through dental records.

"This is America. We can't go in and put handcuffs on people and drag them out," California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokeswoman Tina Rose said. "People have rights and can protect their property."

Kirk Gafill, general manager of the popular Nepenthe Restaurant, said he and five employees were trying to protect the cliff-side restaurant his grandparents built in 1949. Wearing dust masks, the crew scrambled to stamp out the dinner plate-sized embers dropping from the sky, he said.

"We know fire officials don't have the manpower to secure our properties," Gafill said. "There are a lot of people in this community not following evacuation orders. Based on what we saw during Katrina and other disasters, we know we can only rely on ourselves and our neighbors."

Greg Ambrosio, who lives next to Nepenthe, signed a waiver to stay in his house. But his plans to stay were disrupted when he was awoken by a neighbor in the middle of Wednesday night who warned of the approaching inferno.

"Then there's a knock on the door, and we go outside and the fire had just expanded. It was Armageddon," he said. "Just yellow smoke and ash mixed with fire. It was just raining down."

Ambrosio said he and his wife grabbed their cat and drove to a relative's house nearby.

Dan Priano, general manager of the expansive Post Ranch Inn resort, stayed on the 100-acre property with eight employees trying to protect dozens of structures. He said he called state and local officials, begging for more firefighting resources.

"We're staying to protect our livelihoods," he said. "We haven't seen any resources, no helicopters, nothing. Last night I watched three homes burn."

Authorities issued new mandatory evacuations Thursday morning for residences on and in the area of Palo Colorado Canyon Road, adding to the already effective mandatory evacuations for residents along state Highway 1 between Partington Ridge Road and one mile south of Limekiln State Park.

A total of 31 miles of the Pacific Coast Highway were closed, and about 1,780 homes were threatened on the long strip of coast in the Los Padres National Forest, said John Heil, a U.S. Forest Service spokesman.

From the south, Highway 1 was closed at the town of Lucia, 23 miles south of Big Sur. From the north, the highway was closed at the Point Sur Naval Facility, about seven miles north of Big Sur, according to the California Department of Transportation. Electronic message signs were posted to advise motorists.

Along the Big Sur coast, the air was thick with smoke and ash, and flames could be seen burning in the forested hills along the highway. The wildfire was only about 3 percent contained.

Kurt Mayer, 53, stayed at his Big Sur Deli clearing brush and preparing to cover his business with fire-retardant gel, which he said works best when applied within hours before flames reach a structure.

"I'm sure the tourist season is just toast. Usually the busiest time is July and August, so I'm sure it's just going to be zero," said Mayer, who watched the flames glow overnight, adding "it was a spectacular scene."

The raging blaze near Big Sur was created when two fires burned into one; they were ignited from dry lightning strikes on June 21.

The National Weather Service on Thursday advised of high fire danger in the Big Sur area, issuing a red flag warning because of dry and windy conditions. The fire behavior was "extreme," officials said, as the blaze had grown by more than 10,000 acres in the past two days.

"The fire is just a big raging animal right now," said Darby Marshall, a spokesman for the Monterey County Office of Emergency Services.

The American Red Cross opened a shelter for Big Sur evacuees at The Carmel Middle School, at 4380 Carmel Valley Road.

A couple hundred evacuees packed a public meeting Wednesday night at the school, where officials braced them for a long fire season. They were told the Basin Complex Fire wasn't expected to be fully surrounded until the end of July.

John Friel, 62, who had been living with his kitten in his car for the past three days after being forced to leave behind his mobile home, was disappointed by the news.

"I've had six strokes this year and a heart attack. I'm feeling pretty scattered," said the retired film production worker who moved to Big Sur three years ago. "It was like putting a Rubik's Cube back together before, so this ain't helping. It just notches up the stress level."

Janna Fournier, another Big Sur resident affected by the evacuation order, went to retrieve artwork and rescue her pet tarantula before roads closed.

"I feel sad for the wilderness and the people who lost their homes," Fournier said. "We chose to live in a wilderness among all this beauty, so I know there's that chance you always take."

Helicopters hauling large containers of water droned loudly overhead as the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, R. David Paulison, visited the area.

"If people evacuate like they're told to, we shouldn't lose any lives," Paulison said in an interview. "My only concern is that people don't take it seriously enough."

Construction worker Billy Rose helped clear brush around local Big Sur businesses to protect the community he grew up in.

"Big Sur people are used to stress - rock slides, water spouts, 40-foot waves, you get numb to it," he says, looking weary as he sharpened his chain saw. "You can't tame Big Sur - this place is untamable."

Monterey County: Indians Fire

Southeast of Big Sur, and also in the Los Padres National Forest, the separate 81,378-acre Indians Fire that started nearly a month ago was about 95 percent contained Thursday.

However, the expected date of full containment was pushed back until Monday, according to fire officials.

Mandatory evacuations for cabins in the Santa Lucia Tract remained in effect.

Voluntary evacuations on Arroyo Seco Road above the junction with Carmel Valley Road remained in place as well, and a fire evacuation advisory was also in effect for Carmel Valley Road from Arroyo Seco Road to Tassajara Road, Tassajara Road to the forest boundary and Cachagua Road to the Nason Road turnoff, according to fire officials.

About 422 structures were still threatened and two had been destroyed. The blaze has cost $42.2 million to suppress since the flames ignited June 8.

Seventeen injuries had been reported so far, according to fire officials.

Because of both the Basin Complex and Indians fires, the Monterey County Los Padres National Forest was indefinitely closed for all public access, meaning all national forest land, trails, roads and recreation sites are currently off limits. Officials said the closure went into effect early Thursday and may last weeks.

Santa Barbara County Fire

Meanwhile, a fast-growing fire in the southern extension of the Los Padres forest north of Santa Barbara also forced residents to evacuate as strong winds pushed flames toward homes in the foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday declared a state of emergency in Santa Barbara County to free up resources to fight the Gap Fire, which threatened about 200 homes.

It was estimated to have burned 2,400 acres - equivalent of nearly 4 square miles - since it broke out Tuesday evening. Containment was estimated at just 5 percent.

Authorities said the area hadn't burned since 1955 and some of the chaparral stood 20 feet high. So far, no injuries were reported and no structures had burned.

Glen Annie and La Patera canyons were under mandatory evacuation orders and about 45 people had left.

"There's a lot of ash falling. It looks like snow and it's all over the place," said Nicole Davidson, 29, manager of a Michaels craft store in Goleta. "You can hear helicopters heading to the fire with water scoops."

Salvador Ramirez, a construction worker from Goleta, also watched as the flames burned closer to homes.

"The fire is really low on the hillside and there's spot fires everywhere," Ramirez said.

Fire officials said the fire was spotting, moving at a moderate rate with short, rapid runs.

Seesawing winds made it hard on firefighters. An onshore breeze in the morning pushed the fire back up ridges toward firelines at the top, said county Fire Department Capt. Eli Iskow.

But "sundowner" winds were expected to kick up in late afternoons through the weekend and gusts as high as 40 mph could push the fire toward populated areas, he said.

"That'll challenge the southern side of the fire again," he said. "It's definitely expanded in width; it's taking quite a jump to the east along the mountain ridge ... above populated areas."

"You have shifting winds every day," he said.

Smoke was visible throughout much of the South Coast on Thursday.

"As I look out the window we see huge gaps of black in the city," said C.J. Ward, a reporter with KEYT-TV in Santa Barbara.

More equipment and firefighters would be made available if more homes are threatened, Iskow said, but resources were being stretched by the requirements of some 1,000 other fires in the north.

"We are definitely with competition with all the other fires in the state," he said. "Aircraft come off those other fires and fly directly to us.

More than 350 firefighters were battling the blaze with the assistance of Ventura County, Los Angeles, and U.S. Forest Service fire departments.

"Could we use more resources? Absolutely!" Santa Barbara county fire Chief John Scherrei said. "But California is stretched thin."

Iskow said the fire was "human caused" but did not elaborate.

Goleta, near where the fire burned, is a city of about 55,000 people located about 8 miles northwest of Santa Barbara.

San Bernardino Fire

A brush fire broke out Thursday afternoon on a ridge near Yucaipa in San Bernardino County, about 70 miles east of Los Angeles.

U.S. Forest Service fire spokeswoman Norma Bailey said the fire broke out around 1:30 p.m. and quickly burned through 100 acres in the San Bernardino National Forest.

The blaze, named the Ridge Fire, was burning several miles away from residences. Firefighters were working on it and more equipment was on the way.

Mendocino County Fires

A volunteer fireman who had been fighting one of the fires in Mendocino County suffered respiratory difficulties and died at Ukiah Valley Medical Center Thursday.

The Anderson Valley Fire Department said 63-year-old Robert Roland died at 4 a.m. His death was believed to be heart related.

Roland was one an all-volunteer squad of 41 firefighters battling a 550-acre blaze in the Hungry Hollow area of Nash Mill Road when he felt ill, experienced respiratory difficulties and collapsed.

Gov. Schwarzenegger released a statement saying he was "deeply saddened" by Roland's death and that flags at the state capitol would fly at half-staff to honor the firefighter.

Other Fires

Farther south in Malibu, a house fire destroyed a vacant beachfront home, damaged two others and shut down traffic in both directions on Pacific Coast Highway for hours Thursday morning.

In the Sequoia National Forest east of Bakersfield, crews struggled to contain a 14,000-acre blaze. Powerful gusts and choking smoke traveling up the steep canyons hampered their progress, and residents of neighboring towns were ordered to evacuate.


(© CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press and Bay City News contributed to this report.)



A California Conservation Corps van passes by a road block on Highway 1 into Big Sur.

CBS