Smoke from the Gallery/Basin Fire floats over the coastline. Photo credit: Pam Balazer, USFS
Basin Complex On the Los Padres National Forest south of Big Sur, the Gallery and Basin Fires have officially burned together now. On Thursday the fire continued to burn actively at the higher elevations, exhibiting extreme fire behavior. It continues to back down towards portions of Highway 1, to move south into the South Fork of the Big Sur River drainage, and north towards Manuel Peak. It is 20,763 acres and 3% contained.
Indians fire Without the smoke from the Basin Complex shading the area, firing operations on the northwest side were initiated with better success on Thursday. It is 59,066 acres and 71% contained. The map below shows heat, in red, orange, and black, detected by satellites, with the red areas being the most recently burned. The yellow lines are the perimeters uploaded by the incident management teams. Click on the map to see a larger version.
Smoke will be another issue this morning, limiting the daytime heating and surface winds during the afternoon hours. However, later this evening and tonight winds will pick up across the far Northern Sacramento Valley and adjacent foothills. These winds will be from the N to NE at 10-20 mph across many exposed areas, along with poor nighttime humidity recovery.
Some areas in the Feather Drainages could see gusts over 35 mph late tonight thru Friday morning. Afterwards, by Friday afternoon all eyes will be on the next thunderstorm outbreak, moving in from the Sierra and shifting NW into much of Northern California through the weekend. Many of these storms could be dry.
(the above, and some of the information below, is from North Ops Predictive Services, 1900, June 25)
What this means for fire behavior- Since Sunday June 22 the stable atmosphere has not only produced inversions that trapped smoke, but it also slowed down fire behavior due to the resistance to vertical motion and shading from the smoke. When this begins to change Thursday afternoon and Friday there could be a gradual change in venting, and an increase in fire behavior. But in some situations, a major change in rates of spread could occur in as little as 1-2 hours.
What this means for firefighters- Smoke will lift earlier in the day allowing more options for air operations, and surface winds could become stronger. EXPECT changes in fire behavior. Have lookouts observe changes winds, visibility, and smoke behavior, such as gentle lifting changing to more rapid rising of smoke and faster growing columns.
Smoke grounds air tankers
Yesterday heavy smoke from the 40,000 acres burning near the north end of the Sacramento Valley kept air tankers on the ground.
Govenator: just say NO to fireworks
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenner asked residents not to buy fireworks this 4th of July. I’m with him on that. I have put out too many fireworks-caused fires. From Arnold:
“I know that the people that are selling all this stuff are going to go crazy now when I say this, but don’t buy any of the fireworks,” said Schwarzenegger, surrounded by dozens of firefighters, Monterey County law enforcement representatives and elected officials. “Don’t go out and do fireworks this year … . It’s just too dry and too dangerous to do those things.”
The governor spoke at the Basin Complex Fires incident command post at Andrew Molera State Park off Highway 1.
Most of the community of Concow, east of Chico, is evacuated due to the Empire and Rim fires, part of the BTU Lightning complex which closed Hwy 70. The Empire and Rim fires will most likely burn together.
According to NCOCC: Fires in this complex are immediately threatening communities. The air was stable last night, so fire activity was minimized. The inversion layer still dominates the incident area. If the inversion layer lifts, fire intensity will greatly increase, causing additional evacuations and significant fire spread. Some of the fires are in remote areas making containment difficult and will require large numbers of hand crews.
The map below shows heat, in red, orange, and black, detected by satellites, with the red areas being the most recently burned. The yellow lines are the perimeters uploaded by the incident management teams. Click on the map to see a larger version.
InciWeb still broken
The InciWeb site, which should be the best place to go to get information about fires, is least likely to be working during multiple fire conditions due to very limited capacity. Not only is it frequently impossible for citizens to visit the site, but the fire managers are unable to upload critical information. The federal and state agencies that maintain this site need to install better servers.
The fire was relatively quiet yesterday due to higher humidities and shading from the smoke of the nearby Basin fire. The Team ordered evacuations in the Arroyo Seco area on the north side because of planned burnout operations, but the burn was limited due to weather conditions. It is 58,872 acres and 71% contained. (see the map below)
Basin Complex, Gallery fire
The Partington Ridge area has been evacuated. The fire is moving south into the South Fork of the Big Sur River drainage and north towards Manual Peak. The Basin and Gallery fires are within 1/2 mile of each other and are expected to merge soon. Highway 1 is still closed to non-residents. The complex is 20,600 acres and 3% contained. (see the map above)
FREMONT — One of Fremont’s firefighters lost his Santa Cruz County home to a wildfire last weekend as he was battling another blaze in Monterey County, fire officials said.
Richard Simon, a 25-year veteran of the fire department, was fighting fires in King City when he got word of the Trabing Fire, which started Friday afternoon and destroyed 630 acres and several homes, including Simon’s, near Highway 1 north of Watsonville, said Fremont Fire Division Chief Geoff LaTendresse
Simon’s family, including his wife and sons, were home at the time, but they escaped unharmed.
Fremont Fire Capt. Gerry Fogel said the family was able to round up most of the livestock, including horses, but the family lost three goats during the fire on their 3-acre property.
“It just shows that it can happen to anyone, even us,” Fogel said.
Simon has fire insurance. He and his family are staying with a friend for the time being, the officials said.
Firefighters have held an internal fundraiser and a clothing drive for the family, but no public fundraising efforts have been organized, the officials said.