i'd rather be in haena   

or anyplace with more trees and less concrete

Fires

by admin - June 25th, 2008.
Filed under: fires, henry miller library.

big sur fire mapAfter a week-long heatwave in California, cool weather finally hit late this weekend. However, the confluence of hot and cold created dry lightning, with 8000 strikes recorded. Close to a thousand fires erupted in the northern part of the state, nearly all in rural/wild areas.
Two large fires above and around Big Sur are about to merge (see map). Evacuations are underway. The Henry Miller Library is linking to the Xasáuan Today blog so worried folks can get more info.
If I’d still lived at my old house in Brisbane, I would have been evacuated Monday night. Luckily the fire in the northeast canyons of San Bruno Mountain was extinguished before it could jump the three canyons towards the small town.
The air up where I presently live (around 2000 feet elevation) is unhealthy. There’s a heavy particulate count and the smell of woodsmoke is overwhelming. There’s no fires within 40 miles of here but it seems like they’re just around the corner.
Keep the firefighters and evacuees in your thoughts this week. It’s the worst fire season in California ever.
[UPDATE 10:13am] Received via the Yahoo Kings Mountain mailing list from the chief of the local volunteer department:

Many of you have called 9-1-1, the fire station, and our residences this week. The mountain is currently shrouded in drift smoke from some of the larger fires in the area. I imagine this will continue for some time. Those of you who have lived here a while realize this is a common occurrence. The KMFD is performing regular patrols of the area. Please remain vigilant. If you have a good view of portions of the mountain from your home, look around at regular intervals. Be on the lookout for flames or smoke columns. If you see an actual column or fire call 9-1-1 (not our station or firefighters).

We are fortunate to live in a place where the overall risk of fire is small most of the time. Unfortunately, the weather we experienced early this year has dramatically increased the risk this fire season. Every year someone will tell you that this will be the worst fire season ever. For the first time in my 18 years in the fire service, I am concerned it could be true. All of the cold dry winds from the North combined with lower than average rainfall this winter and spring has dried out the heavier vegetation to levels usually not observed until September.

This past weekend Cal Fire reported the burn index in our county was 160. The burn index is calculated based on fuel and weather conditions. We typically expect to have a burn index of 30-40 (low) this time of year (for seasonal non-foggy days). 51-70 is high. Greater than 90 is extreme. When I hear 160 I think of Southern California in Sept/Oct, not Kings Mtn in June. Santa Cruz County has already suffered three major fires this year. Some of our firefighters suppressed a fire in the Saratoga Summit area this past weekend. The fire had no topography or wind to drive it, but it did burn actively with some torching of trees.
We are expecting warmer and drier weather this weekend with another small chance of lightning (please see the link). Please continue to have situational awareness of your surroundings. Maintain defensible space around your home. Put away the firearms and fireworks this 4th of July. We will be patrolling this 4th of July with a heavy law enforcement presence (unless we get fog). Have an evacuation plan in place now, and hope you will never have to use it. As Cal Fire resources are stretched, the area we need to cover is increased. Please help us help the community.

    [UPDATE 1:30pm): Webcam link from Nepenthe Restaurant, looking southeast towards the Henry Miller Library:

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