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Incident Name: Bixby Mountain lightning fire from the head of Plunkett Creek on the Los Padres National Forest, Monterey County, North of Big Sur
Date:  8/16/1939
Personnel: Joseph Calandra
Age:  23
Agency/Organization: CDF (now CAL FIRE)
Position: a CDF Assistant State Forest Ranger (current title would be Battalion Chief), firefighter

On August 17, 1939, Joseph Calandra, a CDF Assistant State Forest Ranger, was entrapped on the Middle Fork of the Little Sur River in the Big Sur area and over-run by the Bixby Mountain Fire. A companion John H. Murray, age 18, was also entrapped but survived, and went on to a career with USFS.

Calandra Lookout Memorial Calandra Lookout Memorial


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fire from the head of Plunkett Creek, Monterey sector of PNF; on the Middle Fork of the Little Sur River in the Big Sur area, North of Big Sur.
The location is for the Calandra lookout memorial site.

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Reports, Documentation, Lessons Learned

  • The Calandra lookout plaque (above) is the record.

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Media Articles and Reports

Pay to read articles:

  • Fires Raging Unchecked; Ranger Lost; Forest and Brush Blazes Lay Waste to Thousands of Acres, LA Times, Aug 18, 1939

    Fires blazed unchecked through California forest and brush lands today, leaving waste thousands upon thousands of acres. One forest ranger was believed burned to death and several were injured fighting the conflagration...

  • West Coast forest fire havoc grows; Thousands Battle Flames on Front Extending From California to Canada; 22 Blazes Fought in Washington Alone, LA Times, Aug 20, 1939

    Smoke billowed above Pacific Coast forests from Central California to British Columnbia today, marking scattered fire sectors where thousands of men fought to halt destruction of timber and grass lands...

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Photos, Videos, & Tributes

  • The Calandra Lookout named after Joseph Calandra is on BLM property, accessed from the Lockwood/San Ardo Road, between US 101 and Bradley/Lockwood Road. Monterey County CA, near King City.
  • California Memorial Firefighter Wall in Sacramento, CA: California Memorial LODDs by Wall Order. (84 K pdf) --see page 6

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Contributors to this article: George Haines, Division Chief, BEU, CDF; Mike Preasmeyer, Division Chief, USFS


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