The Tassajara Fire


MIRA: Exploring the Universe
from the Central Coast


The page you are viewing is taken from an exhibit called MIRA: Exploring the Universe from the Central Coast.
The exhibit ran from 1 July through 24 September 2000 at the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History.

The Fire Starts
On September 8 and 9, 1999, a dramatic electrical storm produced 1,200 lightning strikes in the Ventana Wilderness. Fires soon broke out at several sites in the Los Padres National Forest.

MIRA’s resident caretaker at the Oliver Observing Station, wildlife photographer Ivan Eberle, remained at his post and obtained these striking images.

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Lightning & fire. (Photo courtesy of Ivan Eberle)

Aerial attacks by helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft enabled firefighters to extinguish "hot spots" near the MIRA’s Oliver Observing Station. The observatory became a mini-headquarters for firefighters, who used the second-story deck to survey the area.

By late October, the fire was mostly contained and the danger had passed, at least until the next time the wilderness burns.

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Firefighters silhouetted against flames. (Photo courtesy of Ivan Eberle)

Surrounded !
Extremely rugged terrain made it impossible for firefighters to stop the spreading flames, and the fire advanced toward the MIRA observatory.

But fire crews were able to bring heavy equipment up Tassajara Road and make a stand on Chews Ridge. Here, firefighters on MIRA’s driveway are silhouetted against backfires set to stop the fire’s spread.

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  2000 MIRA

Last updated February 22, 2001 by et.