Well, I went down to Santa Barbara to get married and in the meantime the Chalk Fire flared up and is now really, really knocking on our doorstep. It is really repeating the pattern of the 1999 Kirk Fire now. Apparently, somewhere around the 15th or 16th the fire crossed Hare Canyon and by the 17th had moved into the upper watershed of the north fork of Limekiln Creek. They are now trying to hold the fire along the ridge from Cone Peak to Twin Peak, west along that ridge to Ojito, south to the Big Oak along the Gamboa Trail and then down the old Pine Ridge Trail to connect to the dozer line they have put just east of the Hermitage, off their road. They have been firing off the Hermitage break east toward the approaching fire from Limekiln and that seems to be going well. You can see the backfire on this perimeter map, along the dozer line above the hermitage, separate from the main fire and moving toward it.
The tricky part is moving above there and tying it in to Twin Peak. From Highlands Peak and the Canogas trailhead on the Reserve, Gage has been checking the ridge surrounding Vicente Creek since Saturday and Jen and I checked today.
Here is a picture taken from the road just past Canogas trailhead.
Still no fire on our side but that window is wide open. We could see a bulldozer working next to that big tree on the ridge in the center of the photo. The story is that they were going to use the helitorch to put a black line along the other side of that ridgeline and back it up with helicopter support. We saw a helicopter flying up and down Vicente Canyon, dumping water just over the ridge and could see black smoke billowing up at a pretty fast rate. We were expecting flames to show up any minute. Gage has been seeing that also for the last 2 days so they seem to be slowing it down. As I type at 6pm there is a helicopter picking up water just off the mouth of Big Creek.
So it’s not here yet but I will be watching it daily to see if they hold it.
By the way, Big Sur Kate has good photos from her house on the opposite side of this fire. Check her blog out at http://bigsurkate.wordpress.com/2008/10/19/chalk-update-101908/