Over 40 Years of Fire Protection – Rescue – Emergency Medical Services
The Mission of the Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade is to provide dependable fire protection and emergency services for Big Sur with teamwork, respect and integrity
On July 26, 2016, Tom Torlakson, Acting Governor of the State of California has declared that a State of Emergency exists in both Los Angeles and Monterey Counties.
July 28, 2016: Bulldozer Operator Killed During the Soberanes Fire Identified as Robert Reagan III from Fresno County
August 2, 2016: Cause of Soberanes Fire released by CAL FIRE as an “unattended, illegal campfire” that started near the Soberanes Trail in Garrapata State Park.
August 5, 2016: The U.S. Forest Service has expanded the closure order for the Los Padres National Forest due to the Soberanes Fire. The closure order extends generally from Palo Canyon Canyon to Nacimiento-Fergusson Road. Click here for the closure order and additional information.
August 25, 2016: Aircraft, both fixed wing and rotary, play a critical role in the suppression of wildland fires. Ever wonder about the types of aircraft used during a wildland fire? Check out the Firefighting Aircraft Recognition Guide provided by CAL FIRE.
August 25, 2016: The “Chimney Fire” which started on August 13, 2016, near Lake Nacimiento in San Luis Obispo County has now moved north into the southern portions of Monterey County. For information on the Chimney Fire, check out the CAL FIRE Incidents Page here: Chimney Fire
The “Soberanes Fire” started along the Big Sur coast on July 22, 2016 at 8:48 AM. The perimeter of this wildland fire is generally located south of Carmel Highlands, north of Torre Canyon near Highway 1 and west of Carmel Valley. The fire is now slowly moving south and southeast through the Los Padres National Forest and has passed the Big Sur village. On the southwest front, the fire is being controlled to the northeast of the North Coast Ridge Road extending to Torre Canyon and nearing Partington Creek at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. On the southeast front, the fire and has now crossed the upper portions of the Carmel River near Hiding Canyon. According to U.S. Forest Service information, the fire is within 1/2 mile from the Jack English cabin in Pine Valley. In the past couple of days, fire activity has increased due to intensified winds and a drop in relative humidity. due to this increased fire activity, an evacuation warning has been issued for a portion of east Highway 1 between Castro Canyon and Julia Pfeiffier Burns State Park. The major focus at this time is developing strategies that will stop the further spread of the fire to the southeast in addition to protecting threatened properties and communities in the upper mountains of Carmel Valley including Cachagua, Jamesburg, and the Tassajara Zen Center. This is being accomplished by direct attack on the fire, construction and reinforcement of fire breaks, and back burning operations. .
On July 26, 2016, a State of Emergency was declared for Monterey County by Acting Governor Tom Torlakson. On August 2, 2016, CAL FIRE announced the cause of the fire as an “unattended, illegal campfire” that started near the Soberanes Canyon Trail in Garrapata State Park.
According to the Alaska Interagency Incident Management Team, as of August 30, 2016, at 7:30 AM, the fire has consumed 93,245 acres, of which 56,051 acres are within the jurisdiction U.S. Forest Service. The fire remains at 60% containment. Expected containment is on September 30, 2016 but can be adjusted based on changing conditions. Many miles of dozer generated containment lines are being constructed to stop the fire’s spread. Total personnel assigned to the incident is at 1,248 with resources now being re-assigned to other fires or released as containment of the fire increases. Highway 1 through the Big Sur area remains open but is subject to closure at any time due to potential fire activity or planned burning operations. All State Parks between, and including Garrapata State Park and Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park are closed along with many Forest Service campgrounds and day use areas in or near the affected fire area. Some State and County Parks in the area are scheduled to reopen in the next few days, either completely or partially, near the outlying areas of the Soberanes Fire based on current conditions. Garland Ranch Regional Park in Carmel Valley has now reopened. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park has reopened partially, mostly on the west side of Highway 1. Garrapata State Park has reopened partially on the west side of Highway 1 only. The lodge at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park has now reopened but the camping and day use area remains closed. Point Lobos State Natural Reserve has reopened. The U.S. Forest has issued a closure order for all trails and roads in the Los Padres National Forest of the Monterey Ranger District including Milpitas Road, Indians Campground / Memorial Park, and the Arroyo Seco Day Use and camping area.
These evacuations orders and warnings are based on available information from CAL FIRE and can change rapidly based on current or expected fire conditions. Evacuation orders, warnings, and road closures, may occur with very little notice due to changing conditions. Any areas not listed below should be considered as having no restrictions or warnings.
North Coast Ridge Road at mile marker 1.5 to the end of the road including all roads and areas accessed by this road.
EVACUATION WARNINGS: Tassajara Road from Carmel Valley Road to the Tassajara Hot Springs Zen Center. This area includes all roads that lead from the above described roads. The area east of Highway 1 between Castro Canyon on the north to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park on the south, and west of the North Coast Ridge Road.
North Coast Ridge Road from mile marker 1.5 to the end of the road. Old Coast Road, Apple Pie Ridge Road, Milpitas Road from the Los Padres National Forest boundary to the Indians Campground.
A Damage Inspection Team continues working in collaboration with Monterey County Office of Emergency Services on assessment of damaged structures and infrastructure. A total of 57 residences and 11 outbuildings have been destroyed. Three residences and two outbuildings have been damaged and 410 structures remained threatened. An Air Resource Advisor is assigned to the incident and is working with local and state air quality officials to analyze the impact the smoke is having on the public.
Being the fire is now burning primarily within the Los Padres National Forest, the U.S. Forest Service has taken over jurisdiction of the incident and the fire is now under the command of the Alaska Interagency Incident Management Team. Incident Base Camps have been established at Toro County Regional Park, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, and Andrew Molera State Park. A helibase has been established at Andrew Molera State Park. Additional resource staging areas have been established at various locations around the perimeter of the fire. The National Guard has been mobilized and is stationed at the Base Camp in Toro County Regional Park. Roads around these Base Camps can experience a significant amount of emergency vehicle traffic. Please use caution when driving near these areas. Additionally, areas of CSUMB are being used as a PG&E staging area, a fire apparatus maintenance yard, (ground support) a firefighter sleeping area, and a demobilization area for resources that are being released from the incident. A Donation Collection Center has been established at the Big Sur State Park Multi-Agency Building. Additional information on the fire can be found at the following links:
The following agencies and organizations are accepting donations or involved in efforts for the Soberanes Fire Relief:
Our annual Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade fund raising BBQ was held on June 11th at Pfeiffier Big Sur State Park and was a huge success. Nearly 250 people attended and everyone had a great time. Thanks to all the people and agencies who helped with making this event happen. It would not have been possible without your tremendous efforts. Check out our Photo Gallery Page for more pictures of this great event.
For the latest road conditions in the Big Sur area, check the CALTRANS Road Conditions website.
The latest Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade News! Read it here in the:
Learn what you can do to protect your home and property from Wildfire!
Read about the Big Sur Fire of 1906 from the Spring 2004 edition of the Double Cone Quarterly
Effective June 14, 2016, fire restrictions have been imposed in the Los Padres National Forest. Chick here for additional information.
Check out all the things to do in Big Sur in the 2016 – 2017 Big Sur Guide provided by the Big Sur Chamber of Commerce.
National Fire Prevention Week is October 9 – 15, 2016. First recognized in 1922 by then President Warren Harding, the theme for the 2016 Fire Prevention Week is “Don’t Wait – Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms.” According to the National Fire Protection Association, ” Smoke alarms save lives. If there is a fire in your home, smoke spreads fast and you need smoke alarms to give you time to get out. Having a working smoke alarm cuts the chances of dying in a reported fire in half. Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.” For more information on smoke alarms and fire prevention practices, check out the websites of the National Fire Protection Association or the United States Fire Fire Administration. And, don’t forget to change the batteries in your smoke alarms when we change our clocks back to standard time on November 6, 2016.
Honoring One of Our Own!
On January 16, 2014, the Monterey County Fire Chiefs Association held their annual awards luncheon in Castroville, CA. We our extremely pleased to announce that our own Fire Chief, Martha Karstens was the recipient of the 2013 Volunteer Firefighter of the Year Award. Chief Karstens was acknowledged for her tremendous dedication to the fire service in Monterey County by serving on several regional fire service committees and continually supporting the efforts to improve the delivery of fire protection to the residents of Big Sur and the entire Monterey County. Chief Karstens is well deserving of this award and we are extremely proud of her dedication and commitment to the Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade and the Big Sur Community.
Donations are Welcomed and Appreciated:
We understand completely how it can seem overwhelming with all the requests for donations from the many worthy organizations out there, especially during the holiday season. Well, the reality is that many non-profit organizations simply would not exist if it were not for the generous donations and support from people like yourselves. Indeed, we are one of those organizations. Since we receive no governmental funding, our existence, and our ability to serve the Big Sur community, and the numerous visitors, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, comes primarily from very much appreciated private donations. We are here to serve the Big Sur Community to the best of our ability and we need your help to do just that. Please consider a donation in any amount to help us maintain a vital service to the Big Sur community and our visitors. Please click on the “SUPPORT US“ tab at the top of this page for ways to support the Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade. Click below to view our annual donation request letter from Fire Chief, Martha Karstens and thanks for your past and continued support of the Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade.
A very special thank you to all the participants and volunteers that helped make the 35th annual Big Sur River Run on October 28, 2015 a huge success. With your outstanding efforts, and thanks to the local donations and matching grants from the Nepenthe Restaurant, we raised nearly $85,000 dollars for the Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade and the Big Sur Health Center. Well done everyone! Join us for the 36th annual Big Sur River Run on Saturday October 22, 2016 at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
The Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade was formed in 1974 to provide structure fire protection for the residents and businesses in the Big Sur area. The Brigade now provides both structure and wildland fire protection, along with rescue and emergency medical response for the Big Sur Community and its over 4 million annual visitors. The Brigade remains an all-volunteer company, with about 20 members, responding to an area which covers 60 miles of coastline along Highway One.
How We Are Funded:
We are funded almost entirely by grants and donations from fundraising activities such as our Big Sur River Run, our annual BBQ and Firefighter’s Muster, the Big Sur Marathon, and the Nepenthe Halloween Bal Masque. We also send out a fundraising letter each year requesting support from our local residents. We welcome any and all donations as we are continually trying to upgrade our equipment and emergency response capabilities.
Contributions such as cash, appreciated stock, in-kind professional services, and used vehicles and equipment have in the past helped us build our capabilities for emergency response. If you would like to contact us about making a donation, our address is:
P.O. Box 520
Big Sur, CA. 93920
As a non-profit, Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) organization, tax-exempt number 94-2840361, and registered to solicit donations in the state of California, your donation will be gladly accepted. To make a tax deductible donation to the Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade by credit card or using Pay Pal, click on the “Support Us” tab above.
Local business where you can purchase Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade clothing and apparel:
News and updates from the Big Sur Community Emergency Response Team: (Big Sur CERT)
Information and local events in the Big Sur Community from the Big Sur Chamber of Commerce:
Information and news from the Coast Property Owners Association (CPOA):