Big Sur-Ventana Wilderness Fire/Flood/Weather/Webcam Etc. Links

Weather Links

The Forecast

The National Weather Service Southern Monterey Bay/Big Sur Coast Forecast.

The Forecast Discussion

The reasoning behind the forecast.

Watches, Warnings & Advisories

Current watches, warnings & advisories for Southern Monterey Bay and the Big Sur Coast

Weather Radar

Covers most of Central and Northern California.

Observed Precipitation (National Weather Service)

A nifty map of Monterey County showing rain gauge locations and the amount of rain they’ve measured over the past 24 hours (6 hour and 1 hour totals also available). Supposedly updates every hour, but we’ve noticed that this seems to be more of a future goal than a present reality.

Real-Time Lightning Map

Warning: viewing this site can be dangerously addictive when major thunder storms are working.

Surf Report

How big is that winter swell? Find out here.

The Big Picture

Nationwide radar loop.

National Wind Map

Hypnotic …

National Weather Service Mesonet Observations

Displays temperatures, wind speeds, precipitation totals, and more for the last hour to 24 hours from hundreds of recording stations around the country.

Weather West

Hands down the best weather blog in California.

River Gauges

Big Sur River Gauge

How many cubic feet per second are flowing down the Big Sur River? Get an answer here.

The maximum streamflow (10,700cfs) recorded at this station was during the floods of January 5, 1978; the winter following the Marble Cone Fire. That flow dwarfs the next highest peak (6,690cfs on March 10, 1995).

Carmel River Gauge (at Rosie’s Bridge)

Maximum flow recorded at this station was 16,000cfs on March 10, 1995. 7,030cfs was recorded here on January 16, 1978; following Marble Cone. See this post for a discussion of the impact of the debris laden 1978 flow on the storage capacity of the Los Padres Dam. Click here to view a gauge closer to the river mouth.

Arroyo Seco River Gauge

The Arroyo Seco is anything-but-seco during winter storms. A whopping 28,300cfs was recorded at this station on April 3, 1958. The March 10, 1995 storm nearly equalled this total with 27,300cfs. Post Marble Cone flows hit a maximum of 20,900cfs on February 7, 1978.

San Antonio River Gauge

The March 10, 1995 storm gave this station its maximum flow of 23,600cfs. Post Marble Cone flows hit a peak of 8,790cfs on January 16, 1978

Nacimiento River Gauge

This peaceful little creek looks pretty harmless, but you probably shouldn’t camp too close to its banks on rainy nights. The Nacimiento drains some of the south coast’s rainiest ridges – and if you’ve ever watched the rainfall totals down there you know what that means. On at least four occasions in the past 30 years the Nacimiento River has produced flows in excess of 40,000cfs. The record for this station is an amazing 57,600cfs recorded on January 4, 1993 (an amount greater than the peak flow of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon in most years). The previous record was 57,000cfs, recorded on January 6, 1978.

Tides

Carmel Tide Table

San Simeon Tide Table

Trail Conditions & Other Backcountry Info

Ventana Wilderness Alliance Forum

Probably the best source for news on all things related to the Ventana and Silver Peak Wilderness Areas. Absorb a wealth of Santa Lucia knowledge by watching honed Ventana veterans, like Boon and JAPundit, school newcomers in the ways of the wild. But beware. Not everyone who posts on the Forum knows what they’re talking about and, while the moderators delete the most egregious stuff, no one is really filtering what is posted for accuracy.

Ventana Wilderness Alliance Trail Reports

Reports from trail users keep you as up to date as possible on trail conditions.

Los Padres National Forest Current Conditions Page

Considering how infrequently this page gets updated, it should probably be called the Historic Conditions Page. Don’t look here for breaking news.

Road Conditions

CHP Traffic Incident Information Page

The official source for information on road closures and traffic hazards of all kinds. Tends to bog down when a lot of people try to view it at once (i.e. during storms and at other times when it is most needed). You’d think they’d anticipate this and plan for it.

Caltrans Current Highway Conditions Page

Info on highway closures, areas subject to construction delays, etc.

Monterey County Road Conditions

The latest updates from the Public Works Department.

Surcats (Formerly SurFire2008)

Set up in the heat of the Basin Complex Fire, this site has now become something of an official outlet for information on Big Sur disaster preparedness and current conditions.

Local Media

Monterey County Weekly

KUSP Radio

Monterey Herald

Salinas Californian

Local Blogs

Big Sur Kate

Not so long ago, South Coast residents kept in touch with one another via an elaborate CB network. Today, all they need is an Internet connection and a hotlink to Big Sur Kate. Kate watches the South Coast like a hawk and updates frequently. She’s also an accomplished photographer. Every community should be lucky enough to have a site like this.

Wild Ventana

A collaborative effort by a loose association of seldom-seen denizens of the backcountry. Just getting going, but already packed with interesting Santa Lucia lore.

Red Egg Journal

We won’t even attempt to describe the breadth of images and ideas you’ll encounter here. Their Palo Colorado-based  Sarhentaruc Journal is highly recommended.

The Coast Road

Musings and journeys along Highway One.

The Ladybug Letter

Andy Griffin’s fantastic farm blog.

Asana Cycles

The Central Coast cycling lifestyle.

The Big Sur Nation Portal

Sterling’s body may be on another continent, but his heart, quite clearly, remains in Big Sur.

The Henry Miller Memorial Library Blog

The latest from the Library.

Hastings Reserve News

Notes from Hastings Reserve in upper Carmel Valley.

Survision

A blog that distills the essential essence of Big Sur and successfully translates it for the web.

Cachagua Store

Whatever Michael Jones and his outspoken, outrageous, and sometimes way, way off the rails blog is, it isn’t dull. He provided an unvarnished view of what it was like to live close to the action during the Basin Complex Fire. Today you’ll likely find him grappling with everything from food trends to presidential politics.

The Bird Sings

Big Sur blog focused on writing and poetry. Good fire posts and photos.

Web Cams

Nepenthe Web Cam

The view from Nepenthe.

Big Sur River Web Cam

USGS webcam located near their gauging station. Although the controls can be quite sluggish, you can zoom in, zoom out and pan the camera up and down and back and forth for upstream or downstream views. Only active during the rainy season. Hasn’t been fully functional recently.

Monterey Web Cam

Watch winter storms erode Del Monte Beach before your very eyes!

Carmel Clam Cam

Streaming video of the surf at Carmel Beach (or whatever else they may happen to point the camera at).

Bottom of Monterey Bay Web Cam

Streaming video from the MARS Ocean Observatory 2,923 feet below the surface of the sea. The first time we tuned in a big crab was strutting around in front of the camera. We haven’t seen anything quite as exciting since.

Fire Links

Wildland Fire Forum

Usually a fantastic source of information on breaking fire developments posted by firefighting professionals and fanatics who spend their time listening to fire command radio traffic. Unfortunately, information on local fires grows sparse when more interesting fires are burning in other parts of the state.

CAL FIRE Current Incidents Page

Contains basic information on current and recent fires, as well as floods, tsunamis and other “incidents” within CAL FIRE’s purview.

Inciweb

Intended to be the most up-to-date source for official fire information, this site is infamous for crashing whenever it comes under heavy load (i.e.when fires are burning), but appears to be improving. Due to the Forest Service culture of secrecy, reading Inciweb reports can be a lot like reading Politburo press releases. One must read between the lines and compare today’s official line with yesterday’s to get a sense of what’s really going on.

Editorial Rant: There is simply no reason why the Forest Service, with lots of up-to-date  information circulating around on its internal servers and a small army of “information officers” shouldn’t be able to make important information (i.e. the location of the fire, its projected rate of progress and the current plans for stopping it) available to the public in a timely fashion. The Forest Service complains about misinformation being spread by blogs, but never specifies what information they believe is inaccurate and fails to offer accurate information of their own (creating the information vacuum that the blogs attempt, accurately or not, to fill). Instead, they endanger the public by routinely failing to acknowledge when previously announced firelines have been abandoned or breached and by posting grievously outdated fire maps. In our opinion, people ought to have a right to complete information when they’re living in the path of a fire. “Be prepared to evacuate if ordered to do so” doesn’t cut it.

Firefighter Blog

An excellent source of reliable fire information.

Wildfire Today

Detailed information on fires near and far.

Monterey County Fire Information Page

Links to evacuation orders, road closures, incident reports and official documents of all kinds. During past fires, this page has not been updated in a timely fashion.

2008 Basin Complex/Indians/Chalk Fire Links

Internal (Xasáuan Today) Links:

Big Sur/Ventana Wilderness Fire Information

Our own day by day, hour by hour, blow by blow, page after page reporting of the Basin Complex fire as it happened. Mainly of historical interest, yet still one of the most popular destinations on this site.

The Basin Complex Fire Revisited

We provide maps illustrating the fire’s rapid spread over its first 6 days.

BAER Team Burn Intensity Maps

Provide a clue as to where the fire burned hottest and which watersheds may be most prone to flooding and debris flows. For the best analysis of post-fire hazards see the State Emergency Assessment Team (SEAT) Report (offsite link).

Debris Flow Videos

A couple of video clips illustrating the destructive potential of debris flows.

Photo Tour of Backcountry Areas Affected by the Fire

A compilation of pre-fire photos (historic and recent) illustrating the fire’s march across the Santa Lucias.

Chalk Fire Information

Our Chalk Fire Page

Fire-Related Rural Legends

We try to dispel some common myths – much to the displeasure of Ivan the Irritable.

The Last Time Big Sur Burned

Photos from the 1972 Molera Fire

A Compilation of all our Fire & Flood Related Posts

External Links:

KUSP Radio Basin Complex Fire Page

When rural residents need info on fires and floods, KUSP Radio is their number one media resource. During the Basin Complex Fire, no other media outlet came close to being as thorough, accurate and up-to-date. The links on their web page will keep you in touch with whatever is happening.

Surfire Blog

Launched with heat-of-the-moment reports from inside the burning Big Sur Valley, the scope later broadened to include the entire coastal edge of the Basin Complex Fire. Look here for summaries of fire meetings and descriptions of conditions at various points along the coast. Now provides announcements of local events, road closures, etc.

Sitting With Fire

Fire blog from the Zen Mountain Center (Tassajara) that touched off a particularly interesting discussion regarding the divide between the Center’s rural neighbors and its frequently wealthy urban clientele.

Big Sur – The Scoop (Formerly Big Sur Now Blog)

Another Big Sur valley fire blog. Started by people upset over posts being deleted from the Surfire Blog, it quickly found a niche as a kind of community bulletin board. It is, unfortunately, rarely updated anymore – although we suspect it will spring back to life when the next disaster strikes.

Tara Wings

Palo Colarado blog that provided great fire coverage (particularly of the goings on at Palo Colorado fire meetings), but hasn’t been active in a long time.

Susie Bright’s Journal

Susie posted a great piece on the fire, absolutely peppered with interesting links. And since she’s one of the best bloggers in the business, her site is always worth a visit.

Early Pictures

Story and pictures of the Basin Complex Fire’s beginning from a hiker who was on the Pine Ridge Trail.

Tassajara Fire Photos

Photos taken by the monks who saved the Zen Mountain Center. Don’t miss this one.

Boston.com

Amazing photos from fires all over the west. The local photos aren’t new — but worth another look.

A bit of Big Sur History Gone

Stone House before and after pictures.

Pick Creek

Fire photos including pictures of the destruction in the remote Pick Valley.

Niksnexus Basin Complex Fire Photo Gallery

Big Creek & Coast Ridge Fire Photos

Flickr Photosets

More Big Sur fire photos than you can possibly sit still for.

23 Responses to Big Sur-Ventana Wilderness Fire/Flood/Weather/Webcam Etc. Links

  1. Rita Gatti says:

    Really appreciate you guys as a long time, long ago resident now living east of the Mississippi but with many lifelong friends still living in Big Sur. So much flood damage back here that all the fires out there are not in the news in any detail. Especially appreciate that your site loads quickly even on dial up which is all we have here in rural Indiana. It is a comfort to be able to have some of those details as they happen. So hard to hear about the Hopkins house. Just finished Heidi’s book about her childhood there. So beautiful and full of wonderful memories for me. My son spent his childhood on lower Partington Ridge and on the Newell Ranch, which has burned down I hear. My prayers are with all those facing loss and the potential loss. Already much of my history in Big Sur has burned, but I know that the Big Sur community is resilient and that adversity brings them together in heart and effort. Thank you for your attention to this event. Rita Gatti

  2. tara morgenrath evans says:

    Hi Rita,

    Hope this reaches you. My email is teepine@gmail.com. The main house at the Newel Ranch did not burn but Bloomin’ Adeline and Blueberry Barn did for sure. Roger came to visit Ray and Celia after he inspected the canyon, all sooty and smokey he was, so we had it from the horses mouth so to speak! Hopkins- yes so much history, the Trotters bulid the main part of. SAD- but no lives lost. And speaking of history, the Boronda house burned. We used to call it the Hathaways back in the day.
    As you can see it is still burning – but good fortune has it going slow cause of fog.
    Good luck to you all in regards to the flooding. So much rain in on spot- ‘taint fair.
    This website is fab! I echo your sentiments of thanks. Tara M.Evans

  3. Peter..Fantastic!!! documentation of your recent loss..incredible overview of that fabulous Storehouse.
    I used to live there in 1970 when my son was one year of age..he is now 39. My brother in law Jimmy Wood is the person that restored the stone house in 1960 when he found it derelict and pretty much in the condition it is in right now..unfortunately.
    He was taught by Frank Trotter how to make shakes by splitting a redwood round with a tool called a “from”? and he built a door and generally made it livable (since the “squatters”that occasionally would find it (with maps crudely hand drawn by their Bohemian friends) would burn the closest pieces of wood found around the place as firewood..such as any shakes that were “preexistent” before Jimmy lease the place from the openers “The Catherwoods” for $100.00 per year in return for the restoration.
    I started working at Deetjens in 1962 after I discovered Deetjens and Big Sur and was “stupefied by both Deetejn and Big Sur i that .
    I promptly dropped out of art school and with dog and books and art supplies became a disciple of Deetejn..took care of Mrs., Deetejn as she was duping and continued there on and off for almost ten years then we buried Deetjen in 1972 along with her ashes..up the canyon.
    Jimmy is living with me here in Monterey now..is almost blind and is recovering from serious ailments that had him pretty well finished..but he is fighting back and succeeding.
    I look forward to meeting you when the ashes settle.

  4. Arthur Dean says:

    sorry for the typos in the above story..duping should read dying..
    stupified by both Deetjens and Big Surthat I promptly dropped out of art school..
    from the openers should read owners..geeeeez haste makes waste

  5. JC says:

    I just returned from Big Sur (1:30 PM Wednesday). Saw flames dancing up the south/west side of Pico Blanco.

  6. Amy Essick says:

    I have two photos taken yesterday AM from our home on top of Schulte Road-first time we have been able to see the 2 fires out of the smoke/fog bubble since BC began. Do you want to see them? Thank you for your exceptional information.

  7. Rita Gatti says:

    Hi Bob, Tara…yes this is a great site. Loved your sharing. I am just heartbroken to hear the latest, that all residents have been evacuated. That is so overwhelmingly distressful. I am so thankful however, that there has been no loss of life!
    Bob speaking of the Stone House, Benjamino ( who like Josh, is also 39) suffered his first real boo-boo there. He fell against the fireplace and his two front teeth went through his lower lip at about 1 year old. We were visiting Sue and Jardin. Quite a trek up that hill with a 25 pound baby on my back. What memories all this evokes. We lived at the barn on the Newell Ranch…Tara is that what is called the Blueberry Barn? Sylvia and Byron lived in the main part and Ben and I had the little studio out at the end of the deck. I never heard it called that, but I assumed it must be. The Bloomin’ Adeline I remember is where the Newell’s lived. Ben and Jonathan were buds when they went to Captain Cooper. Gosh, I am reminded of Celia’s eulogy at Helmuth’s memorial. I always hoped she would get that printed so I could have a copy. It had so much detail and history in it. As we get older, all those memories are such a treasure and even more so now that some things we knew and loved are lost to sight. Hello to Jim…best wishes for good health. Take care you all and stay in touch. All my love ritajgatti@earthlink.net

  8. jimo thomas says:

    Here is a link to Karyn Sanders Herbal Highway Show On KPFA. The show today was on herbs to combat the affects of the smoke on ones body, as well as herbs designed to boost the immune system for all the toxins, and even stress reduction herbs specifically targeted at this type of an event. I hope this is helpful for people in Big Sur and surrounding communities. Our thoughts are with you-
    Jimo
    Mill Valley, Ca.

  9. Jim Kimball says:

    http://www.surcoast.com/fire.html

    Just another fire info site.

    Thanks for yours, I linked to it.
    jk

  10. MikeM says:

    I have linked to you as well. Top notch fire blog. Thanks for the hard work!

    And we’ve linked to you. Your reports remain one of the best sources of genuinely reliable information – Xasauan Today

  11. Rolland Vasin says:

    A rigid by-the-book Vietnam Veteran, my opinion of you rat-bastard pinko-degenerate “aging beatniks, social and environmental justice advocates, cyclists, and backwoods retro-grouch types” associated with Xasáuan has undergone a transcendent shift during your courageous journalistic exposition of the Big Sur fire trials. Something about the truth that does not play favorites. The fire-briefing folks you describe remind me of McNamara and his acerbic band of the 60s. Cheers for the children in the choir who say “No”. I don’t know if my admiration of your reporting comes from my debilitating PTSD, or a true sea-change in my values, but keep up the great work, and thank you. R J Vasin (LT,SC-USNR(Discharged), two tours in the Gulf of Tonkin aboard aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk CVA-63)

  12. I am in touch with the guys on Apple Pie Ridge because my daughter, Rachel, lives there. The girls are safe in town. The guys are still up there. As of 9:15 p.m. tonight, NO buildings have burned, even though people can see a lot of fire up there. Janette

  13. May you all be safe and the lab\nd heal soon.
    I’m holding you all in my heart.
    Danny’s sister

  14. Roy says:

    Have you heard anything on Nepenthe? The small webcam image is not available and the larger is frozen at 0622 on 6 Jul; hopefully no more then technical difficulties.

    Keep the all of the information flowwing, thanks!

    The reason the webcam at Nepenthe is not updating is because the power is still out on that part of the coast. We expect it will come back on-line when the power is restored – Xasauan Today

  15. LD says:

    Thank you so much for keeping this site updated. I am so sad & it really helps to feel connected.

    My family had the privilege of calling the Stonehouse our own for 27 years and, although we had to sell it just over a year ago (so sorry Peter), the loss has hit us all very hard . We have so many amazing memories growing up there–rolling down the front lawn, flying kites, gardening, rose bushes, starry skies, the ocean view, candle-lit nights, dogs, cats & weddings–to name a few. Words will never express the spirit that resides in Big Sur.

    My heart goes out to all.

  16. Folks might be interested in “the other side” of the Basin/Indians fire, from a Jamesburg and Cachagua point of view, so I just want to pass on the ERL of my ‘blog, “Life in the Fire Lane.”

    http://thefirelane.blogspot.com/

    Thanks for your information and photos! I check in everyday! All the very best to all of us… let’s hope to get through this with most of our neighbors safe and sound!

    Regards,

    Kelly

  17. Paul Ingram says:

    From White Rock Club Board Member,
    I reported in my update to the members that KSBW was reporting White Rock as “threatened”. Obviously a recipient ran with it. Your report is confirming what I’ve thought. Prevailing winds and topography are making northern movement very hard. I was up there and watched the backfiring on Big Pines. It’s going as designed.
    Paul Ingram

  18. felicia fisher says:

    love your comments about inciweb and LPNF current conditions page. Who needs info? Thanks for the info and links.

  19. thebirdsings says:

    Thank you for your comprehensive and tireless efforts. Your site has been an incredible, invaluable resource to everyone.

    In appreciation,
    Lisa Goettel
    SurFire2008.org webmaster

    As has yours. And we didn’t have to go through setting up a website in the middle of a fire. Our job was easy by comparison. The public service you’ve been providing has been absolutely essential – and along the way you’ve brought Big Sur locals together with those who love it from afar and, in some very positive ways, redefined a lot of people’s idea of what the Big Sur community is all about. The appreciation is mutual. – Xasauan Today

  20. bigsurkate says:

    XT, thanks for the wonderful comment regarding my blog. It has been my pleasure to become a link for my community – near, and sometimes far.

    bigsurkate

  21. Cool says:

    Interesting

  22. hosed88 says:

    Excellent reporting.

  23. Gaston says:

    Peter..Fantastic!!! documentation of your recent loss..incredible overview of that fabulous Storehouse.I used to live there in 1970 when my son was one year of age..he is now 39. My brother in law Jimmy Wood is the person that restored the stone house in 1960 when he found it derelict and pretty much in the condition it is in right now..unfortunately.He was taught by Frank Trotter how to make shakes by splitting a redwood round with a tool called a “from”? and he built a door and generally made it livable (since the “squatters”that occasionally would find it (with maps crudely hand drawn by their Bohemian friends) would burn the closest pieces of wood found around the place as firewood..such as any shakes that were “preexistent” before Jimmy lease the place from the openers “The Catherwoods” for $100.00 per year in return for the restoration.I started working at Deetjens in 1962 after I discovered Deetjens and Big Sur and was “stupefied by both Deetejn and Big Sur i that .I promptly dropped out of art school and with dog and books and art supplies became a disciple of Deetejn..took care of Mrs., Deetejn as she was duping and continued there on and off for almost ten years then we buried Deetjen in 1972 along with her ashes..up the canyon.Jimmy is living with me here in Monterey now..is almost blind and is recovering from serious ailments that had him pretty well finished..but he is fighting back and succeeding.I look forward to meeting you when the ashes settle.
    +1

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