Saturday, July 5, 2008

Missing Posts from GO MISSING 7/7

Dear PENDOODLES...thankyou for alerting us that your post at got deleted. We don't know who is deleting them. The main reason I created 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 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 and we will post it for you here. NO ONE CAN DELETE YOUR POSTING>>>YOU WILL NOT BE CENSORED at

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.
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 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

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.

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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.

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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
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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…

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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 -----
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.

In a message dated 7/4/2008 10:11:18 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, 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.



Anonymous said...

I went on Surfire this am, only to discover that a 'thank you' I had posted yesterday was deleted. It simply stated how PROUD I am of my community and all the great work it is doing. I emailed the webmaster, Lisa, and asked why my post had been deleted. She responded (thank you for that Lisa!) and told me she HAD NOT deleted my post, but had actually liked it when she read it. Then she explained (and this is IMPORTANT everyone) that any of the posts in the 'self-posting' categories can be EDITED AND/OR DELETED BY ANYONE! I suggested that that be changed if possible, but I imagine the 'site-host', if that's the right name, is just set up that way and we will have to deal with that when posting there. I honestly do not know why anyone would delete my post of being PROUD of the community. It was not about the Curtis' or anything like that, just a heart-felt moment of pride being expressed.

If the 'deleter' reads this, please post here WHY you did this...I truly would like to it personal about me, or did my post offend you in some way? And can post here anonymously, and unedited. I hope you take this opportunity to have your say...

BTW, BigSurDave...thanks for this category...AND all your hard work!

Anonymous said...

Well, I just went back to Surfire, and looked through the 'thank you' posts...everyone of my posts (4)(except the 'anonymous' ones and the one I posted thanking the firefighters) has been deleted. IS personal. I still invite the deleter to post why here.

Anonymous said...

Thank you & I nearly missed this entry.

What I had said at the Surfire site was 'Thank Yous' to the Curtis men and sons. They not only fought to save their home, but anyone else up at Apple Pie ridge. They put their lives at risk, the same as many other locals.

Thank you all that stayed behind to save our beautiful Big Sur/Ventana Wilderness!

PS. Thank you Susan for blogging by our site.