Arger Report #3
My apologies for the long delay since the last update, but the day started early and took Smokey (me) and the Bandit (Nikko) all over Foss Valley to help put out smoldering flames/fires with Doug Christian, Glenn Salva, Evil Knievel, and Tarzan (Wayne) at Antica, the Manfrees, and the Perris.
Nikko and I started the day early by driving all the way out to Circle R ranch (east of Antica) to the end of Atlas Peak Road where CalFire crews (including Dozers) were planning their day. At that time, there were separate wildland crews working farther east (toward Atlas Peak Road) who were actively "backfiring" the entire hillsides to burn everything out. Per this morning's conversations, the plan was as follows:
Backfire everything that was remaining on the far far eastern side of Circle R Ranch, and then bulldoze a line all the way through Walt Ranch down to Circle Oaks in an effort to contain the fire north of Atlas Peak Road.
Once that was completed, transfer many/most of the CalFire crews from the top of Atlas Peak Road all the way to the far western side of Foss Valley to continue working the western edge of the fire out by Stagecoach. Apparently, the dozer crews last night did not complete the line from Stagecoach over to Chappellet/Pritchard hill, because there was already a dozer crew coming up from Chappellet/Pritchard Hill and the powers that be decided it would be best to get the dozers back to Atlas Peak Road to finish that line. As a result, the line from Stagecoach to Chappellet was not complete as of this morning, BUT the fire was just slowly working its way through the wildland areas above and north/northwest of Stagecoach. And, the plan (again, as of this morning) was to head back to Stagecoach sometime this afternoon and intentionally "backfire" everything that remained above and between Stagecoach and Chappellet so as to "tie the fire off" and essentially be done with all of Foss Valley and Atlas Peak.
What we have witnessed since this morning:
Most of the crews stayed at the top of Atlas Peak Road all morning to pursue the above plan;
Around 2:00pm, 2 helicopters began dropping water on the ridgeline above Stagecoach and Chappellet and continued that effort for several hours;
The fire on the far western side above Stagecoach has been slowly working its way closer to Rector Canyon (although it is still at least 1-2 miles away from the edge with additional vineyard breaks in between);
Around 5:00pm, what appeared to be many of the CalFire crews from Atlas Peak Road came rumbling down the gravel road and were presumably (we were out in our vineyards irrigating and thus did not have a chance to speak with CalFire) headed out to Stagecoach to keep with their plan of backfiring the remaining sections on the western-most edge of Stagecoach and "tie the fire off."
The wind is virtually non-existent in Foss Valley at present, which is exactly what CalFire was predicting/hoping for this morning so that they could backfire Stagecoach this afternoon/evening;
The fact that they all headed back out to Stagecoach around 5:00pm tells me that they are satisfied with the conditions at the top of Atlas Peak Road and now want to get the remainder of the fire done at Stagecoach so they can move on from Foss Valley/Atlas Peak and go assist in other areas;
As of present, there are no visible smoke plumes or smoldering fires visible to the north from our house anywhere between the Perris and the eastern edge of the Choppings, which is FANTASTIC news. Barring a significant wind event and south/southwest shift, I am cautiously optimistic that everyone with property/homes in Foss Valley is in good shape;
Moreover, if CalFire is successful in carrying out their plan of keeping the fire from going down Atlas Peak Road and out of Rector Canyon, then hopefully (fingers and toes crossed) everyone on lower Soda Canyon Road will be in good shape as well.
As for Soda Canyon Road remaining closed, I have no information. That said, a possible reason they may be keeping people out still is because they are trying to close everything out up here before additional cars/traffic/vehicles are able to get up here and "poke around." This is pure speculation, but lets hope that (or something similar) is the reason, and not because of any immediate fire risk of which I am not aware.
In closing, we have a lot to be thankful for up here and lets all stay hopeful that the weather continues to cooperate and that CalFire can close out upper Soda Canyon in the next few days. Have a great evening everyone and I will provide another update at some point tomorrow.
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