Sunday, June 29, 2008

Henry Miller Memorial Library Fire Threat

“We are experiencing a severe wildfire.”
These words were posted on the front page of the website for the Henry Miller Memorial Library this week. Lightening and dry, windy conditions are being blamed for wildfires that have been fanning out across seven counties in California including Monterey, where Big Sur and the Library are located.

Some encouraging news was posted on the website at 5 PM on Thursday, June 26th: “A lot of fire suppression efforts, using ground crews and helicopter support, has brought the fire under control and left the Library itself unhurt. Crews are still on location monitoring potential flare-ups. It feels good.”

Lisa Kreiger of San Jose's Mercury News reported on June 27th that the flames had “reached the edge of the library, but were beaten back.” She also reported that the local Post Ranch Inn offered use of its “underground concrete storage unit” for safe keeping of the irreplaceable Miller documents and painting that it has in its possession.

A still from video taken by The Mercury News, which may be viewed on-line.

A benefit for the HMM Library, presented by comedian Rob Schneider, was postponed this weekend due to the fire.

On June 28th, the National Interagency Coordination Center reported that “33 large fires” were continuing to burn in California, while the L.A. Times said that the total fires numbered around 1,000. By Saturday night, wrote the Times, the threatening fires around the Basin near Big Sur grew by 3,062 acres and “was only 3% contained.” President Bush declared that a region of the western U.S., in which the HM Memorial Library is located, is now a national disaster area. But the San Francisco Chronicle assures us that the HMM Library is okay: “To the south, firefighters were steering the Big Sur fire away from populated areas and parallel to the coast. The famed Henry Miller library and several other businesses and dwellings appear to have escaped the fire, which has destroyed 16 homes.”

By 8:30 PM on Saturday, the HMM Library remained closed to the public, while most business in Big Sur were already re-opening (ref). But, today (Sunday the 29th), the HMM Library website has updated their message to assure everyone that “the library is OK.”

Helicopters quelling fire around the Library (source: "Stan"/KUSP website)

Contrary to some erroneous reporting in the media, the Henry Miller Memorial Library was never actually Miller’s home, although he did live nearby for 18 years. He lived on Partington Ridge for most of his time in Big Sur. On a website created to provide community updates on the blaze (, Karuna Licht reported around dinner time on Saturday that “The path of the fire hit Partington Ridge and is still burning. This was Henry Miller’s perch, the place where he wrote Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch.” Magnus Torén—director of the HMM Library—reports on the HMM Library MySpace page that “Partington Ridge is not yet safe, there remains a threat from the canyon below. Thanks to the very cool weather on the coast the fire moves very slowly – everyone is praying for continued cool weather so that 'mop up' ‘burn out’ and ‘back burn’ operations can continue.”

Also on that page, Magnus gives us reason to be optimistic: “I believe it is safe to say that the Library is saved. The canyon behind has burned almost to the back deck. on the hillsides on both sides the fire has in some places burned all the way down to the library grounds, less than 40 feet away from the building. We were down there last night around midnight, met with the fire crew stationed there for monitoring the remaining burning embers, had a chat, then left feeling confident that the Library would remain safe. The firefighters, and a helicopter shuttle going up and down from the ocean, saved the Library.”

Good luck out there.

To view a live webcam of the smoke rising above Big Sur, from the vantage point of Nepenthe, visit the website for the Nepenthe Restaurant.

See video reports of the efforts to save the Library at Associated Press (YouTube copy archived here).

For updated reports on the fire, visit,,,, and the U.S. Forest Service press releases.

Above left: Firefighter at the Library (c) Patrick Tehan/Mercury News).


Anonymous Eric L said...

I've been following this in the media, and on the website, with dread and hope. It sounds like the library is safe. But I wonder how many years until Big Sur itself has recovered?

Good to have you back, RC.

3:52 pm  
Anonymous finefettle said...

Sad to say the air conditioner was too good to be true. Miller had his suspicions rightfully so. More wildfires and more conditioners. A lot of carbon in the air!

1:35 am  
Blogger Minko Chen said...

ray-ban sunglasses
tommy hilfiger
michael kors outlet sale
michael kors handbags wholesale
nhl jerseys
hollister uk
ugg boots
celine outlet online
ugg boots uk
tods shoes
hollister clothing store
true religion jeans
tory burch outlet online
michael kors handbags
hermes outlet
lebron shoes
nike outlet factory
coach outlet store
marc jacobs
air max 2014

10:20 pm  
Blogger 艾丰 said...

nike air force 1
true religion uk
longchamp outlet
ray ban sunglasses
coach outlet store
coach outlet store
dior sunglasses
thomas sabo outlet
michael kors outlet
ferragamo shoes
prada sneakers
fitflops shoes
celine outlet
ferragamo outlet
cheap oakley sunglasses
true religion jeans
christian louboutin outlet
coach outlet store
michael kors outlet
mulberry bags
coach outlet
ralph lauren outlet
versace sunglasses on sale
true religion jeans
chaussure louboutin
michael kors outlet
fitflops sale
ghd hair straighteners
cheap nba jerseys
nfl jersey wholesale
longchamp pliage
polo ralph lauren
oakley sunglasses

1:48 am  
Blogger Chen Zhiqin said...

kobe 9
washington redskins jersey
tennessee titans jersey
mac cosmetics sale
fred perry polo
los angeles lakers
oakland raiders jersey
celine outlet online
chargers jerseys
pittsburgh steelers jerseys
houston texans jerseys
nike free running
philadelphia eagles jerseys
nike trainers uk
indianapolis colts jerseys
dolphins jerseys
tods outlet online
golden state warriors jersey
pittsburgh steelers jersey
golden state warriors jerseys
giuseppe zanotti outlet
ferragamo shoes
atlanta falcons jerseys
baltimore ravens jerseys
kobe 9 elite
minnesota vikings jersey
minnesota vikings jerseys
bills jerseys
new york knicks jersey
seahawks jersey
cheap nike shoes
atlanta falcons jersey
cheap nike shoes sale
san antonio spurs jerseys

5:03 am  
Blogger sahmon said...

I am very impressed with this post, this site is always a favorite. Thank you so much for the interesting posts.




11:02 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home