The Big Sur Pfeiffer Ridge/Sycamore Canyon Fire ~~ 2nd Day ~3rd Day
UPDATE ~~ WEDNESDAY 3 PM (from CBS News)
FIRE 40% CONTAINED
“Winds were expected to be calm during the day, and there was a 20 percent chance of rain at night, according to the National Weather Service.
The slow-moving Pfeiffer Fire in Los Padres National Forest near state Highway 1 had consumed 769 acres, or a little over a square mile, Los Padres National Forest spokesman Andrew Madsen said Wednesday.
Authorities said that as of mid-morning Wednesday the fire was 40 percent contained. Full containment was expected by late Friday.
” “We’re cautiously optimistic that we’re going to get this nailed down by then,” Madsen said. “We have temperatures going down as a cold front has come in and cooled things down dramatically.” “
UPDATE ~~ WEDNESDAY 9:50 AM (From a Big Sur local: “The Salvation Army and Red Cross do not need clothing or toys at this time for Big Sur residents. They have an abundance of these items, but have suggested that we make financial donations directly to the families in need.”
There’s no suggestion how to go about that, possibly call the Ranger Station in Big Sur, or Ventana for more information. I’ll try to find out the hows and wherefores and post that.
UPDATE TUESDAY 6:25 PM
THIS IS FROM BIG SUR KATE’S BLOG, AND GIVES ALL THE LATEST ON THE PFEIFFER FIRES:
“5:00 pm – went to the (Big Sur Community) meeting. Basic facts are 769 acres, 20% contained, full containment expected by Friday. 24 structures lost. We are expecting winds starting tomorrow night, but hopefully it won’t create any problems. Saw Celia at the meeting, and CPOA quietly gave checks to those confirmed to have lost houses.”
Rain is expected on Wednesday and Thursday. There’s not much else to report right now.
For those who do not know Big Sur by touch and smell, for those not longing for its mystic land in their dreams, it may seem a lot of fuss over abstract acres. They are anything but that. Some combination of things…the ancient twisted purple lavendar, the sea-air-tortured silhouette of black-green cypress, massive potent bay leaf, the wild ginger and stream-side calla lilies, wet loam, the endless blue Pacific and its sculpting of monolithic boulders at Pfeiffer’s pink sanded shore, the dark crevice hiding huge greeny brilliant fern, white peeling sycamore, the redwood tall or felled by wind….shapes of pre-history….all these things work deeper into us than just the heart and brain alone, to the visitors, moreso the residents. Every day is a challenge to be equal to its parts in Big Sur. It is this that scorching flame so injures, and so hurts the very substance of sympathising flesh. It is molecular to the human, it is time traveled outer space, it is star born. And though I save such words for great rarity indeed, Big Sur is sacred ground. And we do not want to wound a spoonful of it.
UPDATE TUESDAY 12:30 PM The fires are not out. There is 5% containment. 550 Acres burned. There is no precise count of what is lost. Possibly 15 houses. No injuries. Area without fire since 1907.
Reports from the front are the sketchy, inaccurate stuff of natural disasters. On the charred or untouched ground of Big Sur residents race to familiar faces for news. Harrowed stun marks the posture of the bereft who have just escaped with their lives, their animals, the rescued bits of their past clutched in hand, stuffed in pockets, jammed in vehicles.
The fires were sudden, swift. Flaming Pfeiffer Ridge just after midnight Monday lit the sky. Residents called out alarms. Made the wrenching choice to stay and fight ~~ or save what somehow might be saved.
Martha Karstens, well known and admired Fire Chief, at first alone, tried to save her own Big Sur house. Others came to help. They could not stop its burning to the ground. She left….headed for other homes and land and fought the day against ravaging flames that swept through this beloved pocket of coast and ridge that holds to its rocky breast the most beautiful coastal sweep in the world.
There will be heroes. There will be tragedy. There will be brave reports of desperate rescues. Frightened horses, nostrils flared against smoke-filled midnight air, urged clattering into metal trailers lit by burning trees. Cats pulled from hiding into arms. Goats and pigs herded to safety.
Soldiers against the flames renew. More arrive. The good will conquer. And watching from the outskirts of disaster, the news will filter out to us. What I can learn I will report. Stay tuned.(Photo Credits: Associated Press)