10:30PM July 4 Update:
The latest thermal imaging data reflects the fire’s subdued nature today. At the north end of the fire, the only heat detections in the past 12 hours have been on Pico Blanco and in the upper North Fork Little Sur watershed. A lack of heat detections does not mean a lack of fire, of course. Only that the fire is dispersed, burning slowly or otherwise hidden from the satellite. At the south end, the burn out effort on lower Dolan Ridge is quite evident, as is the fire’s continued southern and eastern progress behind the Coast Ridge.
Here’s the picture in the north:
And here’s the south. The fire on the east side of the Coast Ridge appears to have made it to the start of the dozer line along the Rodeo Flat Trail:
9:00PM July 4 Update:
The word at tonight’s fire meetings was that the weather continues to cooperate in keeping fire movement slow and that this weather pattern may hold for a few more days – enough time perhaps to finally get a handle on it. “Assets” are now in place for the Mescal Ridge backfire, but it’s not clear when the order may come to begin it. There is even hope that with favorable weather and the expected arrival of a DC-10 Super Tanker, the fire descending Dani Ridge may be “stopped and put out in place.”
2:30PM July 4 Update:
This morning’s USFS Fire Update, which is now available on Inciweb, says a sprinkler system has been put in place to protect the Pico Blanco Boy Scout Camp.
Here’s a Google Earth screen capture of Dani Ridge and Pico Blanco from the west. The fire is currently moving down the ridge toward the point of view. The North Fork Little Sur is the canyon on the left. The South Fork is on the right:
1:30PM July 4 Update:
Large numbers of firefighters appear to be congregating on Mescal Ridge. Does this mean conditions are becoming favorable for backfiring?
1:00PM July 4 Update:
Firefighting continues close to the Highway in the Big Sur valley and Molera areas. Further north, people have been asking us to show them where the Mescal Ridge dozer line (intended to stop the fire’s northward progression toward Palo Colorado Canyon) is, so we’ve drawn it in yellow on this map. The white line is the “Big Box” dozer line that the fire on Pico Blanco has escaped from:
9:30AM July 4 Update:
Inciweb has (finally) been updated. Here’s what they have to say about today’s firefighting plans:
West Zone: Provide structure protection. Continue structure protection assessment and preparation in the community of BIG SUR, Palo Colorado Canyon area and south of Dolan Ridge. Conduct firing operations to check fire spread along Hwy 1 and on Dolan Ridge. Initiate firing operations if conditions are favorable on Mescal Ridge from Bottchers Gap to the Old Coast Road and from Bottchers Gap to Skinners Ridge. Construct contingency dozer line from Hwy 1 east towards Whiterock Ridge. East Zone: Continue structure protection preparation on Carmel Valley Rd/Cachagua areas.
We understand that the “contingency dozer line” is planned for Long Ridge, running all the way down the divide between the Bixby and Rocky Creek watersheds to the Old Coast Rd. near the Bixby Bridge. It’s purpose, obviously, is to provide backup protection for Palo Colorado should the Mescal Ridge line fail (Mescal Ridge is the divide between the Little Sur and Bixby watersheds).
8:45AM July 4 Update:
New thermal imaging shows active fire getting closer to the Pico Boy Scout Camp, moving to the west from Pico Blanco and burning close to the Highway in the Big Sur Valley. There is also a heat detection in Lime Creek (just south of Hot Springs Canyon). In the wilderness, there are no new heat detections on the north side of the North Fork Little Sur, but considerable new heat along Puerto Suello Creek. There are no new heat detections in the Hiding Camp area. Heat has also been found further than ever down the ridge separating Tassajara Creek and Church Creek. Here’s the overview of the northern portion:
Here’s a closer look at the Scout Camp and Pico Blanco areas. The fire appears to be approaching the Scout Camp from west of the Big Box line and moving west from Pico Blanco along Dani Ridge:
Meanwhile in the Big Sur valley things appear to be cooling down in the Ventana area (right in line with what we’ve heard from the folks on the ground), but still pretty warm elsewhere – especially in Juan Higuera Creek (again, right in line with what we’ve heard). We have still heard no reports of fire crossing the Highway, so we assume that the heat detections located to the west the road are not accurate:
Heat detection in Lime Creek (just south of Hot Springs Canyon):
8:00AM July 4 Update:
As those of you who’ve gotten in the habit of scrolling to the bottom of the page to check the latest comments already know, Mark Sullivan wrote us just before 6:00AM this morning to say:
“Just talked to Ross Curtis on apple pie, they have not lost any structures yet. The fire around Ventana Inn seems to be under control. I went out a 4am so I could see the hot spots in the dark and It looked pretty good around there. Further down the post creek drainage there are numerous hot spots burning down, hopefully there are crews at the bottom clearing and getting ready to back burn from the bottom so It doesn’t come up this side.”