Mon June 30, 2008
Self Reliant Big Sur Residents Start Hotline
By Krista Almanzan
Big Sur – When you call the Big Sur Hotline (831-667-2317) phones ring in small room at the back of the Big Sur Visitor Center. There, a few volunteers answer questions ranging from the fire's current activity to how to collect unemployment benefits if the fire has led to a loss of work. Barbara Ray Daughters is the hotline's volunteer manager. "We don't do rumors, like Pfeiffer Falls is closed or something," said Daugthers, "we try to keep rumors down and correct information up."
The volunteers stay informed by staying in touch with the Basin Complex Fire Incident Command Center and their local Volunteer Fire Brigade. If they don't know the answer to a question, they call around until they get it. The hotline started after residents found information hard to come by in the early days of the fire. "There's just very little here, and people get very much in the habit of helping each other. It's a long way to the grocery store; it's a long way to the gas station even, and people take care of each other without even thinking about it," said long time Big Sur resident and hotline volunteer Sam Goldeen. The volunteers are prepared to keep the hotline going as long as it is needed. It also has a companion web site surfire2008.org