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Surprise. Looks like Cal Fire is doing another briefing on #RiverFire and #CarmelFire. I'll be tweeting it ... with a cocktail already on board, the typing might not be great. Then again, neither will the attitude. Stand by.
First is The River Fire. South end of Salinas Valley crews are building lines and looking for opps to go west to connect lines. Multiple plans in place.
Along River Road, fire stayed in existing footprint. Yesterday there was some increased activity near base camp, plan was in place, lines of convenience were made to stop the fire before the grassy oak woodlands.
Carmel Fire has mostly held in its footprint, minimal spread and crews are on 24 hour ops, putting in primary and secondary lines, plus a contingency. Below Carmel Valley Road they got control lines in...
Next up Fire Behavior Analyst Don Watt. On weather, expecting a change, new system, change in wind direction. They hope it will be lighter in the gust, but they're watching for the dry lightning.
Fire has been calm the last few evenings. Also with wind shift, they hope air will become clearer and that they can fly more planes and longer.
Next is Air Resources director Richard Stedman (who is rocking pandemic hair). "This is some of the worst air quality we've experienced since the agency came into existence."
Advisories say please don't venture outside if air quality index says air is not healthy. (Index can be found on their website, I'll snag url later.) Their monitors are regulatory, not fire, so they advise people not to rely only on monitoring, but to look at PM levels ...
"People should stay inside especially when air gets into those unhealthy levels." Elderly, infirm and lung compromised (hey, that's me): Stay inside and close all the windows. Recirc air if you can, run air conditioner if you have one with filter in place.
Stedman says they will update as necessary, but numerous air monitoring sites in the county are in the unhealthy range. "This changes by the minute," he says. "We also tell people to use common sense." If you can't see across the street and it smells bad, don't go outside...
They're adding new monitoring sites, first in Gonzales area. Next up, Sheriff Steve Bernal. Evac warning rehash, in cooperation with Cal Fire and based on their recs. Leave via 101 Southbound if the warning becomes an order.
Carmel Middle and Sherwood Hall are shelters, Conference Center in Monterey are evac centers. Supposedly you can get vouchers there, but source tells me they ran out of vouchers...
Incident Commander Nick Truax of Cal Fire: Evac warning wasn't taken lightly. More than 20,000 people are affected between the two fires. The team talked long and hard about it. But the winds and storms coming make things extra special crappy. (That's me talking, not him.)
Truax: Questions of the lines? Those are the dozer lines, handcrew lines, retardant lines, all used to keep fire in place. And there are second lines, and then contingency lines.
Acreage: River Fire 42k plus acres, Carmel 5,069 acres.
Civilian burn injury in Carmel from the other night. Another incident today, no injuries, but a civilian stayed and a firefighter stayed with them as fire passed, putting them both in jeopardy. "If you have trouble getting out, that's why we're giving you" this warning.
Two dozen major fires in the state, more than 771k acres. Five civilian deaths. 12,000 firefighters, 1000-plus engines, 253 dozers. 95 percent of CalFire engines are committed or on standby right now. National Guard is in training and will be added mid-week after basic training.
National Guard has 7 helicopter water droppers and one hoist to get people out if needed, plus hand crews.
Question time: Should we leave or wait until order? Bernal answers: It's hard to put myself in your shoes, I don't have a fire approaching my house. But I like to err on the side of caution.
He'd be packing and getting ready to go, he says. We have 30 deputies on the fires, and another 60 coming from outside the county. Lot of in-county cooperation too. If you can go, please do--it will reduce congestion if the order comes down.
He's asking people to not come to the area. (Tourists go home.) Let the residents who are trying to evacuate have a way out.
Question: Chance of fires connecting? They're still 1.8 miles apart and a chance they could connect. Holding for now, but growth could happen as the winds shift. "Plume domination" is a thing. (Hey, that's my other emo band name.)
Going over all the websites and alerts you should be signed up for already... next question, precautions for homeowners re: possible dry lightning.
If you're in an evac area, leave, Watt says. In a warning area, prepare to go, he says. Sooner we can get crews in, the better.
If you see a fire start due to lightning, call 911. Please don't report new fires via social media. The accounts aren't monitored 24-7. Report emergencies via 911.
Question on weather and air quality: Unstable air makes dispersion favorable. But if more area catches on fire and more mass burns, more mass gets into the air and can make things worse.
Moisture, humidity, atmosphere and wind direction all can impact the population. Short answer, no way to predict concentrations, Stedman says.
Question re: evacs: Hard closure on Carmel Valley Road and is the village included? There is no hard closure on CV Road, but that could change if weather turns bad and fire "starts doing things," Bernal says.
Bernal says there's been NO reports of looting, lots of chatter on social media about it, but they have no reports of looting. Lots of police patrolling evacuated areas.
One more question, re: fire proximity to Highway 68. It has not crossed. Last night when it came into Toro Park, it was in proximity, but surge resourced mitigated and they don't expect it to cross. Back to my cocktail. - 30 -
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