Ventana Wilderness Raked by Lightning

September 11, 2017

A line of thunderstorms produced hundreds of lightning strikes over the Ventana Wilderness this morning. While the lightning was accompanied, at least in places, by torrential rain, it is unclear whether the heavy rain was as widespread as the lightning.

The Black Cone rain gauge, in the center of the Ventana Wilderness, recorded a healthy .63 inches of rain, and over a tenth of an inch was recorded along the coast between Lucia and the Big Sur Valley. Unfortunately, gauges further north, like White Rock, Ponciano Ridge, Hastings and Los Padres Dam have, apparently, received less than a hundredth of an inch – and multiple lightning strikes have been detected in these areas.

Hopefully, any smokes that appear over the next few days can be extinguished quickly.

10:30 am Update: A new, more northerly, line of rain has brought .08 inches to the White Rock, Ponciano, and Los Padres Dam gauges during the past hour. All rain has now moved offshore, so let’s hope that was enough.

Noon Update: At least one of this morning’s lightning strikes has already resulted in fire. Forest Service crews are currently putting out a lightning caused fire near the Indians.

6:00 pm Update: Lightning and showers continued throughout the day, but have now mainly moved north into Santa Cruz and Santa Clara Counties. It looks like nearly all the spot fires started in Monterey County by lightning today, including the Milpitas Fire near the Indians, have been contained. The largest so far has been the Gloria Fire, in the Gabilan range, which was contained at just 9 acres. A great job by firefighters to stay ahead of things on such a difficult day.

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Lightning Detected in Ventana Wilderness

June 10, 2015

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LightningMaps.org map showing approximate location of lightning strike near the headwaters of the North Fork Big Sur River.

A thunderstorm is now moving over the Ventana Wilderness and, in addition to the strike depicted above, lightening strikes have been detected near Pinyon Peak, just downstream from Lost Valley and, most recently (3:00 pm), in the wild country between Zig Zag and Willow Creeks and near San Antonio Camp.

A far more vigorous storm has been working over the Southern Diablo Range near Coalinga and Ft. Hunter-Liggett has also reported downstrikes.

Let’s hope there’s some significant rain falling. It’s pretty dry out there.

June 11 2015 Update: No fires have yet appeared in the Ventana Wilderness as a result of yesterday’s lightning, but a fire, named the Peanut Fire, is now burning near the Nacimiento-Fergusson Rd. in Ft. Hunter-Liggett. As of noon today, it had burned 700 acres and there are rumors that it may burn as much as 3,000 acres before it’s through. No word on the situation with the NF road, but it is probably safe to assume it is closed through the fort.


Wildflower of the Week: Indian Warrior

March 29, 2013

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Indian Warrior (Pedicularis densiflora)

We’ve been seeing some good displays of Indian Warrior lately, so we’ve decided to make them our Wildflower of the Week. A former member of the Figwort Family (the Scrophularaceae), Indian Warrior, together with other local favorites like Paintbrush and Owls Clover, is now considered to belong to the Broomrape Family (the Orobanchaceae). Read the rest of this entry »


Pinnacles Picnic

June 24, 2012

A sunny Sunday that’s not too hot. Perfect day to grab some food and drink, a pair of binoculars and a climbing rope, then head to Pinnacles National Monument.

Among the crags Read the rest of this entry »


Cycling the Peachtree-Cholame Country

March 12, 2012

The long road across the Salinas Valley. The high ridges of the Southern Diablo Range beckon us on. Read the rest of this entry »


Monterey Bay Backroads Bicycling

February 20, 2012

Somewhere near Aromas

An unusually dry February means an unusually nice February for grabbing a bike and hitting the backroads of Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito Counties. Read the rest of this entry »


Metz Fire Gets Monterey County’s Fire Season Underway

May 13, 2011

MODIS heat sensing satellite image showing approximate location of Metz Fire along Highway 146 (the access road to the West Pinnacles). Read the rest of this entry »