Continuing Helping Out the Fire Guys and What’s Wrong That Causes These Big Fires.

Tuesday August 25, 2020 Guerneville CA.

Forest fire day making progress

I thought I better get up early today as I wasn’t sure what would happen today. I didn’t feel like getting up but I did at 8:30 which is real early for me as I’m a late night owl.

I took care of the chickens and heard some guys talking at my gate so went out to see what was going on.

They need to get a dozer up on the ridge by my house

These guys were trying to figure out how to get a dozer up on the ridge that starts at the right of this picture. They wanted to get a dozer up on the ridge where the fire was slowly burning in the park as there was no way to stop it at the top yet as no one was up there.truck1


I chatted with them and told them what  I know and they left to try to enter where they wanted to go through the park and I didn’t see those guys again.

A ride to check things out

After getting something to eat I decided to go check on the guys and see if they found the road they were looking for so I jumped on the dirt bike and rode into the park. Right away I ran into some fire trucks  along the road.park2


I was stopped by a guy at the bottom of the hill in the park coming down from Pond Farm. He said to wait as 6 trucks were coming down the narrow road and here’s the first truck. Lots of smoke in the park.park3


I wanted to check out the road to the hermits as some fire was burning up the ridge there. It’s the ridge that comes down to my house  so it was of concern to me.

Big log across the bridge

On the way up the hermit’s road I ran into this big log down across the bridge, completely blocking the road.bridge4


Here’s the log on the bridge.bridge5


Not being able to pass I turned around and went on down the hill and into the park. Looks pretty good after some slow moving fire’s came through here yesterday.park6


Fire in the park

Just down from that spot there were still some slow moving fires burning in the park.park7


At the park parking lot at the entrance I looked for a guy I knew in the park to tell him about the log so they could get someone to cut it out.

Big shot and it’s an emergency

Once I talked with him a well dressed park ranger approached me. He was a captain for the state parks. He was very nice but said he didn’t like motorcycles running around in his park. And did I know it was illegal for me to run around in the evacuated area. Yes I said, but it’s an emergency which supersedes most laws for the moment which pretty much shut him up. In an emergency common sense prevails most laws and everyone does whatever is needed until the emergency is over.

I went home and ate and then I wanted to check where the fires were hot today so I wanted to ride up to Bald Mountain to have a look as it’s higher than most places and without tress so one can see out pretty good.

Robert’s house

But first I stopped at Roberts house as it’s also a good lookout spot which over looks the Hulbert creek area which comes out at Guernewood Park.

This is Robert’s place were I stopped to shot the bull and check out his view for fires.roberts8


Things didn’t look to bad down in the Hulbert creek area. There was lots of smoke but it wasn’t bellowing which was good.

Top of Bald Mountain

I headed up to Bald Mountain to check out the smoke areas.

There were several places out there where the fire is hot. The ones on the left are going up the ridge in the park that comes down by my house. The one in the middle is above the park theater which I was also keeping an eye on.smoke9


These ones were pretty much burning in the park and getting a bit hotter as the day wore on.smoke11


Headed down the hill

On the way out of the Lutrell ranch I ran into these guys so I stopped to see if they needed directions to somewhere. They said they were going to the East Austin creek area so they confirmed where the road was. I heard later in the day that one of the trucks broke an axil which they were still trying to get out after dark.trucks12


Log still there

I rode back over to Nathans bridge to see if anyone cut the log out yet but they had not. The road might not be a priority but at least they knew about it.log13


Park fires

I rode back into the park where this fire was slowly burning down to where they could get to it to put it out which they were working on.fire14


I rode on up to the theater area and found these guys up there working on the fire there.park16


The fire was burning along here on Stable road that goes up the hill to Pool Ridge road.fire17


Head fire guy

I noticed this little rig and went on over. It was the main commander of CAL Fire ,the guy my brother Barry guided around yesterday.

I talked with him about all the fire matters and we traded info. Usually the commander has the most up to date info and it’s usually good info. He took off up the hill and I went on home.boss18


They can’t get up to the ridge top

My brother Tom said they are trying to get to our ridge top by way of the Hill Ranch which I knew didn’t have a road up and was real steep going up to the ridge so I didn’t think they would make it up to the ridge top from there. He said they weren’t getting up and were coming back down so I headed up to the hill ranch to see what I might do to help with that problem as I knew a way to get up there and they needed to do it quickly to stop a park fire from jumping over the ridge top.

This was the scene in the Hill’s apple orchard as I entered today.hills19


As I started up the road past the orchard I could hear a dozer coming out and then I saw a Cal Fire guy come out and he went over to his truck so I went over to talk with him to see what was up.

Another way up

He said they couldn’t get the dozer up the hill and were gong to try another spot so I told him about going through my place and going up the ridge road I cleaned off yesterday and invited him to come have a look. I said follow me down the road to my place and I’ll show you what you need to know.

I showed him  the entrance to my place and suggested we take his truck up the hill to check out the road so he knows what it was like and he could make up his mind about the dozer getting up  there. They wanted up that ridge pretty bad  as one of the park fires was burning up to the ridge top.

He drove me up to the top of the hill to the end of the road and turned around. I showed him how to get through here to another old fire trail on the ridge top.trail21


We got out and walked at the end of the road.

I was able to keep up with him on the flats but once we reached the steep part he was pulling way ahead of me so I said I’d wait for him where I was. No use killing myself trying to keep out with the guy.

It’s a go

He hiked up this hill to find the old fire trail  and was now coming back. I asked if it was a go and he said yes.guy20


So we headed down the hill to get the dozer guy unloaded in my driveway.dozer22


Good in the hills

It turned out this guy was a good steep hill operator and replaced a guy that was not. Not everyone can run a dozer in these steep hills.

Here Tom is watching him enter my neighbors place to get started up the old fire trail that goes to the ridge top.dozer26


After a bit I took the dirt bike up the trail to see what he’d done.

The going was rough as he went through fast to get up the ridge to were he had to block the fire.

I rode up his trail and think I fell over three or four times as the going was slow. I was usually stopped when the bike fell over because I couldn’t keep it from falling over.

He was in a hurry and only roughed out the road he’d make  through the trees.trail27


I couldn’t get up the steep hill he went up on my bike but knew he made it to where he needed to be to install some fire breaks.

Park fire by the theater

So I went back into the park by the theater where I heard on their radios that it was heating up.

I rode up the road by the theater and could see where they were working on the fire so I rode on in.fire28


Met up with Strode’s dozer

Just a little ways in I found two dozers parked ,one was Andy Strode’s with Jim operating, a local guy so I stopped to talk. They said they were sent down to get out of the smoke as the fire heated up and was cresting the ridge where they were working. We shot the bull until their radio said it was clear to come back up the hill. I took off before they did to get up and see what was going on in the hot spot and this is what greeted me. The hot fire had peaked on the ridge top and was now calmed down enough to find out what it did as far as crossing their fire break just up ahead. I rode over to the fire truck on the left to see what was going on.ridge28


Fire jumped the ridge

I asked one guy how the road was up ahead and he said he didn’t know as he hadn’t been up there yet so I said I’d check it out so I rode into the smoke. About a 100 yards past his truck I could see the fire had jumped their fire break and was burning of the side of the hill.jmped29


Dozer’s coming back

I rode back and told the guys with the fire truck and they went over to check it out so I started on back down the road when I ran into the two dozer operators coming back up the hill to the fire. That’s Strode’s dozer with Jim operating it with another guy behind.dozers30



I left them taking care of the fires and drove on down to the Guerneville over look. No fires in the Guerneville area.guerneville31


Dozer’s back for the night

Just before dark we heard a big dozer on the road near our houses so Tom and I went over to check out what’s happening. They were going to take it up the hill by the old Armstrong house to clean off the road there. It was the same dozer I helped up the hill earlier so I talked with the guy about what he did up there.dozer32


Environmental laws out of whack

There was a head  guy there from Santa Rosa. He had some time so we had quite a chat about what’s been going on. He said our help was much appreciated and we talked about the fire and what the causes and problems the state has about fire control as things are all out of whack because of all the bad environmental laws which don’t let land owners make and fix there fire roads without great expense and rules and fines that prevent land owners from doing much for prevention.

Environmental laws are to blame

I could go on and on about the problems the environmental people have created to cause the state to burn.

Lightning started this big fire but the county and state environmental laws caused this big fire to burn large sections of forest because all the bad rules prevent land owners maintaining the fire roads.

All for nothing

I’ll just say the last 50 years of environmental laws of stopping all fire road maintenance was just all for nothing. In the last three days most all those old fire roads were opened up so the current laws were for nothing .

We have two choices, Manage or Burn

Think about it. We have two choices. If we don’t manage the forests than the only alternative is to let the forests burn which seems a total shame to waste our only renewable resource. If we don’t start managing our forests properly, it means we want them to burn. There’s no in between. Manage or burn. That’s it.

Get in bed with the loggers

And really the only way we can afford to manage the forests is to get in bed with the loggers as that’s the only way we can afford to do it.
We need pulp mills so clean up stuff can be chipped so money can be made to afford t do this huge task. And forests need to be logged to thin out the trees and  make money to also afford this huge task. The Northern states are already doing this,  like Oregon and Idaho and Washington.

California is not doing this so guess what. It’s going to burn big time and bad environmental laws are the cause of all the big fires going on these days.

Have it your way

Have it your way eh. That’s the big picture of this fire problem we are experiencing. The fire guys knew this but the public and politicians don’t seem to get it so we’ll pay dearly.

This fire in our area is looking good

I think this fire is almost under control in this area from what I see and hopefully this area will open back up soon.

Nice day, and it was a great adventure helping out the fire guys.

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9 Responses to Continuing Helping Out the Fire Guys and What’s Wrong That Causes These Big Fires.

  1. Bob says:

    Good points Keary,
    But the goats are small and not big like the elk so they can’t reach as high and don’t make as wide a trail. Soooooooooo, lets get them both, goats and elk.
    The Russians changed a lot when they came, more than most people know.
    As far as loggers there’s the old ones and the new ones. The states above us have been using loggers to do fire prevention and they do a lot of chipping for pulp of the smaller stuff, so Californian could sure use some pulp plants to help finance this all. They’ve been doing that since about 1996 when Clinton and Gore stopped all the logging in the forests and California stopped almost all logging and made it hard and expensive to do.
    In the end it takes everything that do the job in these changing time.
    Thanks for your input.

  2. Keary Sorenson says:

    For 15,000 years my ancestors lived with tule elk as the managers of California’s botanical environments
    The consumed the underbrush so the rare fires that happened did not crown in the oaks that were seperated from each other to produce the maximum amount of food per tree. In the 1790s the white new comets planted Russian grasses that started to change California then in the 1850’s
    The white people from new England killed off the tule elk and California lost its managers of the land.
    We need to replicate this management. Loggers cant do this they only go after logs they dont cut and remove poison oak, goose grease or grasses and other shrubs that are the ladder fuels for a crowning fire. Controlled fires because of climate change and the negative effects of massive fires on the climate are not applicable any more
    The environmental answer is goats hundreds of thousands of goats.

  3. Annie Cresswell says:

    Hi Bob-
    I work with Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods in Armstrong Redwoods.

    We have been so grateful to see your reports on the state of the park and our offices. You have some great stories and pictures to go with them….. we are wondering if you’d be willing to let us use some of your photos on our website and in some pr materials around the fire in the park.

    We’d love to chat about it further with you! Please feel free to make contact when you’ve got a minute via Email at or If you’d like by phone Maybe send me a number to contact you at. Thank you for considering!
    With so much gratitude –

  4. Andy says:

    My name is Andy price at my family owns Hills ranch. When you get a chance could you please call me. 707 400 3005

  5. Susan SIMMS Harrison says:

    Thank you for all the good information. Guerneville/ Guernewood Park will always be home.

  6. Ken Solbakken says:

    How can you fight a fire with manpower if you can get to it. There should be maintained fire trail with accurate maps in all these desolate areas.
    Thank God there were no windstorms or there would have been no stopping this wildfire. Thanks again Bob for your expertise of the terrain and help.

  7. Nancy K says:

    I’ve been saying that for 50 years. They need to have control burns and let the loggers do their thing in order to keep this from happening. Stupid politicians and environmentalists are bed fellows. They are the reason California is on fire. Makes me ANGRY!!!!

  8. Patsy Irene says:

    Incredible! The fires seem to have a mind of their own, jumping the fire breaks and all. Sounds like things are in good hands, lots of firemen and land owners pitching in.
    The info about why fires burn out of control like that is crazy!! Environment crap is taken too far sometimes. Your land you should be able to protect it in your own way. It isn’t as if you’re dealing with main thoroughfares! Same here in this country with the Conservation authorities. Our property here has a pond that we can’t touch even if it was to aid in it surviving the hazards. LOL
    Good job again, Bob!

  9. David B. says:

    E.P.A. Be damned! They’re the reason half the state is on fire. They’re the reason PG&E got sued and lost. Those people need to but out! Leave the property owners the hell alone.

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