View from Castro Slope near the top of the Coast Ridge looking toward the spot where the Gallery Fire would be ignited by lightning 13 days later. This photo was taken on June 8, just a couple of hours after the Indians Fire ignited. The haze in the background is actually smoke already drifting from that fire. Photo by Cynthia Hertlein
Smoke turns the light orange along Partington Creek only a few days after the Indians Fire began. Many parts of Partington Canyon were severely burned. Photo by Jon Iverson of hikinginbigsur.com
Within hours of igniting, the fire raced across these open fields on the top of the Coast Ridge and entered the wilderness to the east. Photo taken in February 2008.
Looking down on upper Partington Ridge – one of the most heavily damaged neighborhoods. Photo from 1975.
Swiss Camp, in Partington Canyon. Redwood forests are usually fine in fires, but we’re worried about this one after the incredible concentration of heat that the thermal imaging satellites picked up here. These groves, unfortunately, were surrounded by thick stands of dead, tinder-dry tanbark oaks. SOD killed tanbarks fueled the fire in many places. Photo from 2003.
The marine layer played a crucial role in slowing the progress of the fire at lower elevations – particularly in keeping it away from the more heavily developed zone along Highway One. Just about everything in this view (from McWay Canyon south) was burned over by the fire. The photo was taken in February 2008.
Kandelbinder Peak, the Window and the Ventana Double Cone, as seen from the back side of Logwood Ridge. Everything in this photo was burned over. Photo from 1986.
The top of Pine Ridge (near where the Basin Fire ignited) was still heavily forested when this pre-Marble Cone Fire photo was taken in 1976. The forest was badly damaged by the intensity of the Marble Cone burn. Then the weakened forest took another hit from the Kirk Complex Fire in 1999. Unfortunately, the young trees that sprouted after the Kirk Complex were probably not mature enough to survive even a relatively cool fire.
The brush on the side of Pine Ridge comes back quickly after fires. This photo was taken in 1995, only a few years (we think – when was the Cienega Fire?) after the Cienega Fire.
1976 view of Lost Valley. The fire burned throughout this area.
This photo, taken just just a few weeks before the fire began, shows the view across the Little Sur Basin. The Ventana Double Cone is the peak at the left end of the high ridge in the background and Kandelbinder Peak is the mountain on the right. The notch of the Window can be seen between them. The fire spilled over this high ridge to enter the Little Sur watershed.
Brushy Launtz Ridge provides a perfect highway for wildfires seeking to cross the Little Sur Basin. The Basin Complex Fire moved rapidly down this ridge on the night of June 28th. Ending up in the lower left hand corner of this photo (a location that overlooks the Pico Blanco Boy Scout Camp). It’s progress down the hill to the camp, on the other hand, was extremely slow. This picture was taken from the summit of Pico Blanco in 1976.
The South Fork Little Sur as seen from Pico Blanco in 1976. The high points on the right are Manuel Peak and Post Summit. The Big Sur Valley is just on the other side of this ridge. The “big box” dozer line follows the ridge over these summits, then drops down the lower ridge in the foreground to cross the river. The fire jumped the fire line in this area, then burned over the summit of Pico Blanco.
View of the Big Sur Gorge from the summit of the Double Cone. The north end of the Coast Ridge is on the left and the back side of Mt. Manuel is on the right. The fire also jumped the line at the end of the Coast Ridge and burned downhill into the Gorge and Post Creek. Three homes were destroyed near Post Creek. Photo from 1995.
The long ridge from the summit of the Double Cone to the Puerto Suello saddle and Uncle Sam Mtn. The fire burned spectacularly along this ridge on July 2, spilling over the side into the Lone Pine and Ventana Mesa Creek watersheds (tributaries of the Carmel River). Launtz Ridge is visible again on the right. Another 1976 view from Pico Blanco.
Lone Pine Creek descends steeply to Ventana Mesa Creek and the Carmel River. The fire worked its way down this drainage in fits and starts – probably leaving large patches unburned.
The tranquil North Fork Little Sur River – home of hummingbirds, lions and naiads. The northern edge of the fire took many days to creep through this comparatively cool and humid canyon.
The Point at Pat Spring (just a few weeks before the fire began) with Pico Blanco in the background. The fire reached this location on July 10.
View of the ocean from the Coast Ridge? No, view of the sky from Church Creek. The fire lingered at the edge of this watershed for over a week, but eventually burned through in a hurry. Photo from 1987.
Church Creek scenery. Photo from 1987.
It doesn’t take much ….
Only a few hours after the lightning strikes an impressive amount of smoke was already rising.