For information on fire history at Big Creek, see the fire history page.

Pictures of February-March 2000 flooding

Kirk Complex fire Lightning strikes on September 8, 1999 started major wildfires, including the Kirk-Hare and the Tassajara-Mountain fires. By September 15, these fires had grown to a very large size and smoke covered the skies above the reserve. These fire triggered a major fire-suppression effort by the US Forest Service, and became known as the Kirk Complex fire. This fire burned until late October and covered about 85,000 acres.

I. September 8 to October 10, 1999 Active fire, with photos:

II. October 10 to March 1, 2000 Cleanup, rehabilitation, flooding and effects on water quality:

III. March 1 to September 15, 2000 Vegetation recovery and post-fire effects

IV. September 15, 2000 to August 24, 2001 Vegetation recovery and post-fire effects one year later,

V. September 15, 2001 to December 2002 Vegetation recovery and post-fire effects two years later,

VI. after February 14, 2003 Vegetation recovery and post-fire effects three years later,

Essay by John Smiley about the Kirk fire, written for the Big Sur Roundup.

Notes on rehabilitation by John Smiley, dated October 1999. These old notes reveal that some plans work out, and some don't!

For a list of other links and more information relating to the fire and the Ventana Wilderness, see

Highlands Ridge Fire. On Wednesday night, September 8, 1999, a lightning storm struck our part of the Big Sur coast. Lightning hit several trees in the reserve, and one started a wildfire on the slopes of Highlands Ridge just north of Highlands Camp. Reserve steward Fanner Arias discovered the fire on Thursday afternoon after smelling smoke and searching the upper parts of the reserve. He called in the fire from his phone at Whale Point, and then guided Forest Service firefighters to the site, blazing a trail with his machete. The fire was located about 500 feet below the road, well down the slopes of Devil's canyon. The firefighters put the fire out in about 24 hours, using firehoses and water from their fire engines.


 The Highlands Ridge fire was just below the road near Highlands Camp

 It burned about 1/2 acre. 9-9-99




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