Basin Complex Fire East Front Activity July 17

According to GeoMAC Basin Fire command has bit off a lot of acreage during their firing operations today. Residents in the Cachagua and Jamesburg.
communities are seeing a lot of smoke overhead. If you believe the scale represented on the software imagery below there is almost 8 miles of open fire line at the moment. At this pace they may get to their predicted 161,000 acres after all. The morning report showed the fire at 123,000 acres with 61% containment.

Significant events today July 17:
“The Evacuation Order will remain in effect for the Carmel Valley Road to Piney Creek Road and for the Lower Cachagua area. The Backfiring operation continued throughout the previous operational period with good progress in Div RR. The firing operation progressed from DP-306 East to the Div RR/NN break and then South towards DP-211. Crews continue to improve and fire out the containment line in Div GG. Crews will continue to hold and mop up on all Divisions.”

Update 1800 hrs:

The firing operations may have produced spill over or spot fires outside the dozer containment lines. I’m not willing to say this as a matter of fact because the MODIS software is suspect to some degree.

Click to enlarge image

Update 2000 hrs.

The evening report makes no mention of any problems with the firing operations today. Here are some relevant passages from the report;

Significant events today: The Evacuation Order remains in Effect for the Carmel Valley Road to Piney Creek Road and for the Lower Cachagua area. Approx. four miles of line has been Backfired in Div RR carrying fire down the Dozer line towards DP-207. CIIMT #3 (Pincha-Tulley)arrived at The East Basin ICP and will shadow CIIMT #1 (McGowan)for future transition.

Actions planned for next operational period: Continue to improve control line and Backfire as necessary along Control line from Div NN down to Div PP. Crews will continue to monitor and hold the Backfire operation in Div RR. West Zone: Crews will continue to mop up and patrol all Div. and backhaul all equipment.

Other notes–A forecasted trough of low pressure will approach the west coast on Saturday bringing southerly winds and more seasonable temperatures however this will bring a shift in wind direction over the fire area.

Acreage 128,350 with 65% containment.

No fireline to build which means they have a dozer line around the entire fire.

*The arrival of the Pincha-Tulley team is an interesting development. I suspect it’s an attempt on the part of the Forest Service to address the embarrassing public relations mess they created in Big Sur, Tassajara and now Lower Carmel Valley where some residents have been confined to their homes for more than a week now.

Ms. Jeane Pincha Tulley is very good at public relations. Last year her team was assigned to the Castle Rock Fire that threatened the Sun Valley Idaho area. Her team headquartered in town where she held more than one informational town hall meeting. She even organized guided tours of the incident base. (I kid you not).

Pincha-Tulley was is just coming off the Canyon Fire in Plumas County.

She should have timed out, the Basin Complex is on the back side. There is no need for her entire team at this time. I think the Forest Service is trying to make good here.

The residents of Lower Carmel Valley/Cachagua/Jamesburg can look forward to their sequestration from society ending very soon.

Here is a video of the rock star treatment Pincha-Tulley received at one of her “town hall” meetings in Sun Valley. The screaming and yelling is something you never hear at a public fire briefing. After you look at it you will see why they brought her in.



  • Anonymous says:

    Here’s what I think, (and trust me I could care less what people think of my views, so if you respond to this with insults it will: show me that your very touched by my points, (which will make me feel warm and fuzy inside) prove my point, won’t change my opinion and will make me laugh).Let’s look at the big sur area, it’s a little community pushed up against the coast by a very nice forest (well obviously it needs a facial now but….anyways), out in this huge forest you would expect to find wildlife, campgrounds, tributary’s and all the other beautiful things that a large forest would be made of. As you go on a camping trip you decide to take a hike. As your taking a hike…..BAM all of a sudden there’s a house….whoa where did this come from you wonder….why is this here in this FOREST….this shouldn’t be here, is what one would think….and sadly it ruins the perfect camping trip….as you pack up your items disappointed that your camping trip is ruined….you start thinking why? why is there houses in this forest??? hmmmmmm….but you just can’t figure it out…..knowing that (A) Our forests and wild habitats are disappearing because of these disgusting homes out in our forests (ours as in people that live on this earth and share the earth) (B) What if once in a blue moon a huge lightning storm started a fire and went right towards these houses in these FORESTS that shouldn’t be there…hmmmm…nope not possible (C) If it did happen by that small chance then who would protect these homes from fires. Well firefighters couldn’t do it because these disgusting creatures that built and/or live in these homes are too busy yelling and being in the way.Lol I know my story was a little overboard….but I don’t care the truth is the truth lol. I could go on forever with this which I really could but I’ll just get to my points.The following only applies to the: ungrateful, disgusting, selfish, know-it-alls I keep reading about. This is not for the appreciative, respectful home owners.(1) Disgusting creatures building and/or living in houses in the forest which is a dangerous fire problem. Should not be allowed anymore.(2) For the disgusting creatures living in these houses from now until the end of time: There needs to be a law passed saying, “If anyone is to live in the potential path of a destructive wildfire (which will be determined by a head USFS person) you will be ordered to get the H*** away from the fire area by at least 50 miles if you have 24 hours notice or more.”(3) Heavily tax the ungrateful creatures, thou’ should pay more tax money to help thy’ pay for thee’ cost of protecting the houses of ungrateful disgusting creatures. Having crews of firefighters protect these houses is taking them off the line where they should be. Therefore resultingin spreading of fire lines, which therefore leads to large perimeter, which therefore makes hard containment.There’s so much more to it….this is the end.By the way i’m not:-A firefighter or exfirefighter-An author or am I trying to be one.-A homeowner or one that’s been in the path of danger.I just think people think they have a right to be selfish, inconsiderate, know-it-alls which is disgusting and needs to be brought to their attention and corrected.Thank You Firefighters!

  • Preston says:

    I notice that the state is now declaring 2093 total fires at peak, with 2055 contained and 38 active. While the bottom line is improving, the overall problem seems to get worse.See:

  • John Russo says:

    I am very grateful for the firefighters and the incredible work they did to save our community of Tassajara/Cachagua.Thank you all!I don’t know if we are completely “out of the woods yet” but the arrival of the new team is a very welcome development. The McGowan team was real disaster from a community treatment perspective. I do think that this is an opportunity to learn and make things better for the future. I sincerely hope the new team, and our elected representatives will listen, and take our concerns seriously.

  • bigsurkate says:

    What an amazing story David Zimmerman and others tell, and yes, in a very compassionate way. I hope this becomes a documentary.Thanks for all you do, Mike, and I look forward to reading your opinions on this one, as well as the next installment by DZ.Kate

  • Mike says:

    Stunning story Jane. Complete incompetence on the part of the Forest Service in my opinion.I’ll post my thoughts later.

  • Jane says:

    Thanks as ever for your continuing communications and experienced eyes…THere is now a link to a report by David Zimmerman, Tassajara director and one of the Five, about the way the decision to evacuate the Tassajara Twenty the day before the fire arrived:,209&pageid=1298It's written with real compassion for the positions of each person on every side of what happened… including that some in the evacuation convoy were too far ahead to ever have the choice to return be available, and what seems to be a miscommunication that set the evacuation in place rather precipitously, at the moment it did: air tankers were sent to the road.One thing that really jumped out for me: David says that those air tankers, sent to protect the road for the twenty's safe passage (or 15, as it turned out), were the only air support Tassajara ever received.Why, is the obvious question.That's what those of us on the outside were lobbying for as hard as we could–first for ground assistance, but if not that, air assistance, when the fire actually came in.None?Why?

  • pendoodles says:

    Thank YouThank you for saving our beautiful country, and history.Thank You

  • bigsurkate says:

    Mike, great video of Pincha-Tulley. Her approach is an excellent one. Educate the locals, and be educated yourself. I feel sorry for her that she didn’t get any downtime before being thrust into the morass that others created.In the Plaskett II fire in July of 2000, and the Wild Fire of 1996, I was a staging area (well, *I* wasn’t, but my place was) and I had the incredible opportunity of watching the hot shot crews come in and out, with me serving hundreds of cups of coffee each morning. Watching the helicopters come in to fill up from the bladder placed and filled up here, watching the buses bring in the “fresh” crews every 12 hours, watching the civilian dozers make their lines. What an experience.I had first hand information all day, every day. So different then than now. Information and education is one of the things that can prevent a public relations nightmare. One of the others, is compassion. In 1996 and 2000, I was a “real” person. I wasn’t a renegade, or someone “in the way.” I was, and am, a person with a vested interest that does not conflict with those seeking to protect me and the land around me.Such a difference between then, and now. Compassion, understanding, education, and information. Together, we can make a difference.

  • Mike says:

    Hi Anon- we’ll get an idea in the morning how big these firing operations were today or how they measure up against others.I’m not a fan of the practice myself.

  • Anonymous says:

    I was thinking that this East Basin burn-out/backfire is BIG…thanks for confirming that. Any idea of how many acres? And do you have any idea what the biggest backfire/burn-out has been, and how this one compares?We can only be grateful that this one has gone as well as it has…so far. It has been truly scary…HUGE smoke pillars of all colors and runs everywhere. Glad when it’s over…Thanks for your postings…awesome!

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Mike,Thanks again for your fire reports, as well as insightful commentary re the way the “authorities” are handling the Basin fire. I’m originally from SoCal and have seen many, many fires come and go, and have NEVER seen such horrible treatment of residents by law enforcement. It is unbelievable! Generally speaking, local law enforcement is familiar w/ certain areas within their districts(Topanga Canyon, Orange County canyon areas, to name a few) where residents do not/will not want to evacuate, and make plans accordingly. And then they ensure that they get the residents back home ASAP once they have evac’d. I don’t know what that sheriff thinks he’s doing, but his behavior, as well as the documented behavior of his deputies, should ensure that he is not re-elected, whenever that time comes.Ann