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Dolan Fire

Unit Information

Los Padres National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
6750 Navigator Way
Goleta, CA 93117

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Incident Contacts

Dolan Fire Public Information
Phone: 831-272-0222
Hours: S-S 7am-9pm

Dolan Fire Media Line
Phone: 831-272-0221
Hours: S-S 7am-9pm

Highlighted Activity

09/26/2020 Dolan Fire Update - September 26, 2020
Firefighters had another successful day with minimal fire activity yesterday which allowed them to make good progress on holding and securing McKern Road to increase containment on the Dolan...
News - 09/26/2020
Image shows a forest, partially burned, with a fireline visible at far left and red fire retardant on the trees to the left of the line.Image options: [ Full Size ]

September 25,  2020      |     Maps     |     Update    |     Video     |      Photos     |      Facebook       |     Twitter    | 

Wildfire activity can change quickly and so evacuation warnings and orders may also change at any time. Click here for an interactive map of Monterey County evacuations. To receive emergency notifications regarding evacuations and critical events in Monterey County please sign up for A!ert Monterey County.

Caltrans, in coordination with Monterey County, has opened Highway 1 from Gorda to Lucia. There are still pockets of heat near the highway that will be monitored by fire personnel using infrared technology. Travelers are advised to continue using caution and be aware of emergency vehicles in the area.

As a reminder, the Los Padres National Forest remains closed at this time. For more information visit:

California Interagency Incident Management 15, a Type 2 Incident Management Team with Incident Commander James Harris, is now in command of the Dolan Fire.

Fire behavior remains moderate on the Dolan Fire that has now burned more than 200 square miles along the central coast of California south of Big Sur along Highway 1. While conditions remain hot and dry in the area, fire behavior has been minimal in recent days, allowing firefighters the opportunity to hold and improve containment lines across much of the fire.

Uncontained fire perimeter in the Ventana Wilderness and near Arroyo Seco is too dangerous for firefighters to directly access. Indirect containment lines have been constructed along Arroyo Seco Road and along high ridge tops around Arroyo Seco, and in the 2008 Indian Fire scar south to Pine Canyon. While these lines have been constructed as a precaution, the fire has made little movements north and east in recent days. Heavy helicopters are assisting firefighters in cooling hot spots along the fire perimeter and are keeping the fire in check at this time.

The south side of the fire has been secured through strategic and methodical burnout operations connecting Highway 1 across Prewitt Ridge and McKern Road to the Nacimiento-Ferguson Road at Fort Hunter Liggett. Firefighters continue to patrol this area and cool hotspots near the perimeter.
Two of the three firefighters hospitalized after a burn-over on September 8th were released on the 9th. The third is in stable condition and still receiving treatment. A learning review is currently being conducted.

Nacimiento-Ferguson Road is closed to all traffic from Highway 1 to the Fort Hunter Liggett base boundary line. For more information visit

Basic Information

Current as of
Incident TypeWildfire
Date of OriginTuesday August 18th, 2020 approx. 08:15 PM
LocationHighway 1(MM 32.20) North of Limekiln State Park, 10 miles South of Big Sur
Incident CommanderJames Harris, CIIMT 15
Incident DescriptionWildfire
Coordinates36.123 latitude, -121.602 longitude

Current Situation

Total Personnel525
Size128,417 Acres
Percent of Perimeter Contained57%
Estimated Containment DateTuesday October 13th, 2020 approx. 12:00 AM
Fuels Involved

Chaparral (6 feet)

Brush (2 feet)

Timber (Grass and Understory)


The area is surrounded by recent fire scars except to the SE where there is no record of much of that landscape burning since 1999 if not earlier. Recent burn scars (Sobranes) have helped reduce fire spread. In the 2008 fire scar areas, where shrub growth is recent the fuels aren¿t receptive. Where there are dead fuel components (older, decadent brush) fuels are receptive and are carrying/consuming well. A fire behavior advisory is in place for the mountain PSAs of Southern California for extremely dry fuels. Low live fuels moistures combined with poor humidity recoveries can result in very active fire behavior on the Dolan fire, even in the absence of significant winds.

Significant Events


Uphill Runs




With low relative humidity values and poor recoveries above the marine layer, fuels remain available for active burning day and night. Although the fire environment can support active fire behavior and big growth days, successful suppression actions have quelled overall fire movement. The majority of activity is occurring in interior pockets of unburned fuel. The Dolan fire footprint covers a large area with complex topography, varying vegetation types and numerous local weather factors that have been influencing fire behavior. The burn period on the coastal side of the fire is relatively short due to the persistent marine layer. Fire weakened trees and rolling material continue to be a safety concern.


Planned Actions

Look for opportunities to directly engage areas of heat that persist along the southern and southwestern perimeter of the incident. Continue to prepare for contingency burn operations on the northern and eastern contingency lines. Seek opportunity for direct control actions along the northern and eastern perimeter in DIVS M, O, P. Continue protection of values at risk. Assess for potential indirect containment opportunities.

Projected Incident Activity

12-24 hours: As securing and mop-up continues, active fire behavior will be limited to unburned interior pockets of fuel.

48 hours: There is a predicted heatwave to impact the fire area beginning on Sept. 26th. There is potential for the east flank of the fire, which has not been able to be contained with handline, to pick up with fire activity.

72 hours: If the fire were to come out of the fire perimeter on the eastern flank, it will want to burn into the rugged Santa Lucia Creek drainage and move to the south with wind and terrain towards contingency lines. If it were to get established across the southern flank, it will be burning in and around remote, rugged terrain and in an incredibly thick fuel bed with minimal operational options.

Current Weather

Weather Concerns

Clear skies prevailed once again over the fire area on Thursday with slightly cooler temperatures and somewhat higher humidity values. Afternoon temperatures generally stayed in the mid-80s with some of the warmer locations reaching into the lower 90s. Humidity values fell around 20% at many locations with generally light, terrain dominated winds. Fair to good overnight humidity recovery is expected Thursday night with the lowest recovery expected at higher elevations.

A weak weather system will move through central and northern California on Friday, resulting in the coolest afternoon temperatures for the next week as well as a gradual change in the predominate wind flow over the fire from northwest to a more northerly pattern. High pressure will build over the western US, bringing temperatures up significantly Saturday through Monday. Afternoon humidity values Saturday will fall into the teens and fair to poor overnight humidity recoveries in the higher elevations overnight into Sunday. Moderate northerly winds are expected on Saturday with some gusty areas, although winds will diminish on Sunday and Monday with the hottest days of the week expected.