Friday, July 11, 2008

Basin fire burns around Tassajara

The Basin fire, east of Big Sur, made huge runs yesterday, burning completely around the Zen Center at Tassajara. It is now 108,026 acres and is 41% contained, adding about 18,000 acres over the last 24 hours.

East side:
The fire ran to the east for two to five miles leaving Tassajara and the road into it enveloped by fire. The Tassajara folks posted this information on their blog Sitting With Fire last night.
So far, so good

The fire has passed through Tassajara and is making it's way down the creek. Everyone who has stayed is safe and very tired. They plan to spend the night maintaining a watch for embers falling from the hills above.

They report that the Tassajara grounds are an island of green in a sea of black. A testament to the recently installed sprinkler system and the twice daily irrigation of the site.

The fire approached quickly from three sides shortly after 1pm and passed over Tassajara mercifully fast. The crew were able to move around outside the safe space and keep the sprinkler system working.

Several small buildings were lost: the Bird House, the compost shed, the wood shed and the pool bathroom. The radio-phone and half of the lower garden were also destroyed.

Clarification 9:00pm: The front of the fire has passed Tassajara and was burning the meadow below the lower barn early this evening. There appears to be no fuel left to burn in the valley. The remaining danger is from embers falling down the hillsides. This danger may persist for days and diminishes as time passes.
The eastern side of the fire is now approaching the indirect dozer lines that have been in place over a week. A very rough estimate is that there are over 20 miles of this line that must be defended on the north and east sides. East of Tassajara the fire last night was two to three miles from the line. Farther north it varies from 1/2 mile to four.

With the shortage of resources in the state and on this fire, I hope the Incident Management Team has what they need in order to fire out and hold this line.

North side:
The firing along the dozer line continues to progress to the east and has made it one mile east of Big Pines campsite. With the intense burning yesterday, this was the one bright spot--the firing is going well and the line held.

South side:
We reported yesterday that the fire had crossed the fire line on the Rodeo Flats Trail near the Indians fire. This line had not been fired out yet, and now it has burned two miles beyond to the south, burning along the Indians fire. On InciWeb, which is working off and on now. they are calling it a "spot fire", but it is at least 700 acres. If they had stopped it as planned on the trail, this would have wrapped up the south side. Now they will have to fall back to secondary lines, some of which have been prepared, and others are only planned.

The fire in this area is now going to take a major effort to corral. I wonder if a shortage of resources, extreme fire behavior, or something else caused the fire to not be stopped on the fire line as planned.

The map below was produced late yesterday.

The weather forecast for Jamesburg, east of the fire:

Today: Mostly sunny, with a high near 89. Southwest wind between 5 and 8 mph. Relative humidity 15%.

Tonight: Partly cloudy, with a low around 63. West southwest wind 5 to 8 mph becoming south southeast. RH 55%.

Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 92. South southeast wind around 7 mph becoming west. RH 28%.

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