Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thursday morning

Yesterday was cooler than the previous days and the Basin complex fires seemed less active when viewed from the road. However this may have been a case of fire without smoke as the Gallery and Basin fires have now merged and consumed over 23,000 acres of the wilderness and burned 16 houses and 2 outbuildings. Highway 1 is still closed from Esalen north to the Ventana Inn.

The weather that is forecast for later in the week could bring a change in the wind direction and we noticed this morning when talking to incident fire commanders that they were saying 'if...' rather than 'when the fire comes to Tassajara'. Today is cool and the marine layer hung around for a while.

Work continues at Tassajara to build firelines and clear dried leaves and other fuel and pipes and supplies were taken in last night to set up a sprinkler system over some of the buildings. When firecrews have visited to check out the site they have been impressed with the work we've been doing.

We expect to have some experienced firefighters who are friends of Tassajara visit over the next few days to help prepare the site. However there are fears that the fire cold burn for a while yet. This is from KAZU:
While the Gallery Fire has caused most of the destruction, the Basin Fire remains unstaffed. Incident Commander Mike Dietrich explains, "When we looked at that in the middle of the wilderness, based on the availability of resources -- and this country is straight up and down and brushy and very unsafe..."

... Dietrich says firefighters will go on what they learned from the Marble Cone Fire that burned here in 1977. "The Marble Cone Fire is of particular significance because it burned for a long time and despite all the efforts to try to make headway within the wilderness area, fight the fire within it, it eventually ended up where it did. We have to learn from those lessons, that based on the number of resources that we have, there's no good place in the middle of the wilderness to fight the fires."

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