Fire Prevention and Dirt Bike Rides Checking Out the Forest Fire

Saturday August 22, 2020 Guerneville CA.

Another fire day

First thing this morning the fire truck guys came in at my house to check on things as they were going to help protect the houses if the fire got away from them and came our way. They checked us out and continued up the road to check more houses out.

A bit later I saw this police guy come into the driveway checking on one of my brothers workers to make sure he wasn’t a prowler. I assured them he wasn’t and they were very nice and left.police1


Fire prevention around the houses

My brother Barry came in when my brother Tom came back as he’d left the area for the night. We all worked on cleaning stuff away from all the houses and were beat.

Dirt bike ride

I wanted to take my brother Barry out on a dirt bike ride as I knew he’d enjoy going to all the old places we used to ride in our younger days, but he needed to help Tom some more but I was too beat to do that, but I could still ride the dirt bike so off I went up into the hills to see what was going on.

I stopped at Robert’s house and shot the bull with the guys there protecting the house and doing their best to hold the fire line in that spot they were doing a good job of it.roberts2


Fire’s slowly moving into the state park

I left and rode the bike up onto the top of Bald Mountain here where I could look down into the state park. I thought the fire guys dropped water on the fire down there near the park last night but the guys said they didn’t so it was still slowly creeping down into the park but not too bad. Things were a bit smoky looking down on the park.park3


These are some memorials at the top of the mountain looking northwest, rest in peace. monuments4


Hulbert creek

This is looking down he hill towards Robert’s house and also the upper end of Hulbert creek where the fire was slowly creeping into. I’ll go down to Hulbert creek a bit later as a hot spot is developing down there.hulbert5


I moved on and decided to go check out Bull Frog Pond, a state camp spot.

Bull Frog Pond

On the way down I ran into these park guys falling some burning trees and I chatted with them a bit before continuing down to Bull Frog Pond.

He told me the hermit got out and his house was still standing but another one he had next door burned to the ground. I hope to go check that out.parkguy6


I rode on to Bull Frog Pond going around some fallen trees on the road.

Here’s Bull Frog Pond. Lots o f fire on the ground but not too much in the trees here so the area will have a quick recovery.bullfrogpond7


Here’s the area of the camp host.host8


Headed to the hermits house

From there I rode on down towards Pond Farm headed to the hermits house. This is the burned area on the road just above Pond Farm.farmroad9


Killer tree

I decided to take a shortcut to the hermits along the trail that goes by the pond there so I got on it and ran into this that says killer tree. I quickly scooted through there. That lets me know there is a tree that burned here and might fall over at any time.trail10


I made it to this spot just with the Pond Farm Pond down there on the right and the fire is just starting to burn up on the left crossing this trail.pond11


Can’t go, turn around

I rode up to here on the trail and decided it wasn’t safe as there was more fire down the trail, so I turned around and went back to the road to go the long way.trailfire12


Pond Farm Pottery

I saw fire trucks at Margarite’s Pond Farm Pottery. They were cutting lines around the structure to protect it as the fire I  just saw on the trail was burning this way. I stopped to chat for a bit then moved on down the main road.margarites13


Just below there I ran into these guys working on a hot spot. I chatted a bit with the boss there and moved on down the road some more.trucks14


Hermit’s road in

When I got to the hermits road the gate was open so I rode on in, but when I got to here I had to stop and think about it. I did ride through and it was very hot. Once through I decided it wasn’t safe and turned around and started back down the hill.Natsroad15


But I was thinking if I waited a bit the fire might quickly pass over so I turned around again and went back to watch it. It was working on crossing the road so decided to come back a bit later maybe with my brother. You can see things got hotter and  smoky, not safe.fire15


As I went back down the road I could see the fire was moving down the grass towards the picnic grounds very slowly so it wasn’t doing much damage and there was no one around to stop it.grassfire16


Hulbert creek

Well it was a good time to ride back up the hill and go check out what’s going on in the Hubert creek area as there’s some house down there of people I know. I was a long way in and I found people at the Buchanan place. I’m sure I spelled that wrong.

He wasn’t there and had left but there where neighbors and other people there working on holding the fire back that was heading for the house. I think they’ll make it as the fire was moving very slow. I talked with them a bit then wished them luck and rode back towards the park coming down in the theater part and rode on home.

Gotta have some fun

I headed down through the park and broke every law I could, speeding and going through all the stop signs just because I could.

At the parking lot entrance I saw these guys over there doing something with a horse so I rode over but that was a mistake as the horse didn’t like the dirt bike much and they were having a real time trying to get the horse to load. I apologized and left as quiet as I could. As it turned out I was back here in less than a half hour and they were still trying to load the


Chasing down my brother

When I got home Tom told me my brother Barry just took off up into the hills on his dirt bike so I hopped back on the bike to see if I could head him off going back up through the park and I found him up there by stopping often and listening for his bike noise.

Robert’s house

So I took him over to Robert’s house where they were waiting for the fire to come up below the house and pass so they could protect their house.robers16


The fire was burning up to their house and they were ready. But for now they were calm and taking it easy under the tree just waiting for the fire to hit there. I think they will be ok as Robert was pretty well prepared for a fire, they had the big fire hoses out and ready to go.roberthouse17


Bald Mountain

Barry and I chatted with them for a bit then I said good luck and we rode on to the top or Bald Mountain. Like me, Barry hadn’t been to the top of this since the old days abut 50 years ago.

Once we got to the top he started taking videos with his phone.barry19


Now that the smoke had mostly cleared from when I was up here an hour earlier we could see what the fire was doing in the park.

Fire in the park

Right now you could see the fire had moved into the park proper. The smoke in the middle is on the ridge between the picnic grounds and the theater. Not good but it’s still not in the big trees on the valley floor.

The fire is burning slow here which means it shouldn’t do too much damage to the big old trees when and if it burns down into them. There are no fire fighters in the park and it’s real rugged where it’s now burning and air support is too busy in other real hot places on the fire.parksmoke18


Air tankers big time drops at Mount Jackson

It was almost 7PM and we could see across to where there was a real hot spot at Mount Jackson and all of a sudden the planes started coming in and making drops, lots of them as this hot spot if not stopped can burn down into Rio Nido, Guerneville and beyond and maybe come back and get my house. They’ve had a lot of trouble in this spot as it’s so rugged. They really worked that spot over and were doing so as we left to continue our ride. The red spot is the fire drop not the fire. Mount Jackson is in the smoke just left of center. It’s now a big communication sight and used to be a fire look out tower.jackson20


Trying to get to the hermits house

We continued down the hill towards Pond Farm and tried the trail again but it was too much fire there so we turned around and went up the road the trail left from to here. Now this house was here less then an hour ago when I came by but now it was gone.house21


We rode up the road some more to check things out for old times then headed back to the main rode down the hill which goes into the park.

They saved the Pottery place

While I was away the fire had hit the pottery farm and these guys saved it which you can see in the trees on the left. I thanked the fire fighters that were resting behind the trucks as we went by.pondfarm22


Tried the main road in to the hermits but

So Barry and I took the road to the hermits house that I was on earlier that I had to turn back on. The fire was approaching the park where the Stewards work shop is about a quarter mile below this spot with lots of dry grass leading down there. We’ll check that out on the way down but right now we were on the way to check out the hermits place. That tree was flashing off as we went by so we stopped and watched it do it. this is just above the Stewards work shop area.treeflash23


We tried to ride up the road to the hermits and were making it but ran into a tree across the road that neither Barry or I had the energy to move so we had to turn around again and couldn’t check out the hermits house, maybe I can do that tomorrow.

This is what the road up looked like as we went.Barry24


Stewards work shop area

This is the Stewards work shop or center or something. Note the dry grass there where we just came from. The fire is slowly heading down the grass about a quarter mile away.park25


One more spot to check out

From there we went home for a short break but it was going to get dark and we still wanted to check out one more spot.

We wanted to go up Sweetwater springs road to see how things were fairing and a friend wanted me to check out some houses to see if some peoples houses were burned or not.

Fire burned up above the mine but not below it

We rode up to the old mine. The fire hadn’t burned it or anywhere below this spot so the houses I was to check on are below this and safe for now.

Old mine.mine26



We used to ride this road in the old days as it’s one of the places we played. I said to Barry doesn’t riding this road remind you of old times. Yes it does and it was a lot of fun.

We are riding up Sweetwater just above the mine here. Note the fire is on the left and doesn’t cross the road, a successful fire break that worked here but not up the road a bit further.mineroad27


We rode up to a friends house, Bryce Austin’s to see how it faired and it was still standing and didn’t burn but all around it, it did burn.

Coming back to the main road right at the top of the hill it looked like this as the sun was going down.sun26


We rode down to Bryce’s orchard and found his tractor had burned.

Bryce’s tractor didn’t fair so well. Oh well he’s getting too old to use it anyway.tractor28


Oh, oh, the sheriff

It was getting close to dark and the bikes didn’t have any lights so we had to get down the hill and back to our houses so we headed back down the hill making good time until we got down by the old mine when we ran into a sheriffs car which put his lights on us right away so we stopped.

The cop that got out was a bit nasty and said do you know looters ride motor bikes in situations like this and did we know this was a mandatory evacuation. I explained we’ve been doing fire work, but he wouldn’t have it and said he’d arrest us and take us to jail if he saw us out again after checking out our ID’s.

I explained and it helped

So my brother took off for home but I stayed for a bit explaining what we had been doing for the fire guys and neighbors  to the other cop which had his head on better than the first guy. But the first guy was listening and calmed down and even smiled a bit and then I left and went on home tired out from working so hard this morning and having so much fun today.

Nice day, even though I almost got arrested.

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13 Responses to Fire Prevention and Dirt Bike Rides Checking Out the Forest Fire

  1. Gay G says:

    I remember going up there with my dad & brother to see fire at grandpa’s cabin in 60’s. So scary. Great stuff Bob! Thank you!

    • Anonymous says:

      I also went there with Dante. I think we were in someone’s Jeep. Must have been at the same time during the fire I don’t remember Nin or Phil being with us. Vic

  2. A masterpiece of information. Thank you Bob. We aged out after living back in the forest for 39 years, and had to move to Santa Rosa. Sure miss the peace. Keep it comin.

  3. CCR Burl says:

    I am told the Stewards’ building in the park has burned as of today. After your post, I was afraid it was inevitable.

  4. Adele says:

    Once again, nice job Bob! Very impressive!

  5. Vic bacci says:

    Bob. Didn’t you and Bryce have Tote Goats?

  6. Lynda says:

    Great shots stay dangerous but be safe

  7. Annette Barthelmess says:

    Thanks for the reporting Bob!! I have family (The Schilling’s) with a home on Laughlin Road. If you get an opportunity to check out that area, please let us know. I am so happy to see that the forest is still there!

  8. Patsy Irene says:

    I was on the edge of my seat. So sad to see the burned houses. You are helping out by checking houses for friends who can’t be there but you need to be careful.
    I’m still worried about the hermit’s house although glad he is out and safe.
    Good thing you didn’t get arrested!! LOL I’m sure the first cop was gruff from worry too but glad he softened up.
    Stay safe!

  9. Loretta Castleberry says:

    Thank you so much! These are fantastic reports. You be safe out there! I forwarded your information on to the Leones and Hernandez .

  10. Nancy K says:

    I think I would be like you guys. I’d have all the brush and grass cleared and hoses ready. I sure hope it passes you by.

  11. James luckin says:

    Fantastic reporting Bob. We stayed in the area about 5 years ago and loved it. Since then I’ve managed to feel part of life there through your blog so keep up the good work. I’m in the UK but pretty much trying to mirror your lifestyle, grow some veg, get out on dirt bikes, and tinker in the shed. Keep safe.

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