This page is dedicated to the memories of those friends of the Chimineas whose connection to the Foundation and the ranch inspired others, and to those who died tragically on the property. We wish to memorialize their lives and their contributions to this special place.
"Andy" became a member of the CRF Advisory Board in 2013. He was then elected to the Foundation Board and served from 2014-2015 when cancer forced his resignation and ultimate passing. Andy's family has been intimately connected to the Chimineas Ranch through his connections with the Russell and Arnold families.
On August 15, 1979, a small wildfire burned on the Chimineas Ranch and fire crews were dispatched to fight the blaze. Burning from Highway 166 north up Carrizo Canyon the fire reached the "grant line" fence. Seemingly a simple and non-threatening fire, it suddenly blazed up in what is called an "area ignition" and killed three Cal Fire firefighters from the Nipomo Station that were trapped on Sycamore Ridge. A fourth firefighter died of his injuries six months later. This now infamous fire brought about major changes in wildland fire fighting techniques and equipment. Cal Fire erected a memorial on the property just off Hwy 166 below Sycamore Ridge and dedicated it on August 15, 2016. Rest in Peace: Fire Captain Edwin M. Marty, Firefighter Ronald T. Lorant, Firefighter Steven R. Manley, and Firefighter Scott W. Cox.
We are trying to identify the ranch worker who was killed in a bulldozer rollover accident circa 1962. We know he was a retired US Navy hard hat diver and welder. He was cutting a road above the feedlot, possibly what is now the "jeep track" going up to Johnson Flat when his dozer rolled and buried him. He was dug out by "Bud" Schmidt, then foreman of the cattle operation.
On December 23, 1940, a massive rain storm washed out many of the ranch roads. Two ranch employees, husband and wife, were returning late one night from a Christmas outing in McKittrick when their vehicle became mired in mud on the north road. A combination of alcohol and exposure resulted in their death from hypothermia. Their bodies were recovered the next day with the use of a D8 dozer as the conditions were so bad.
In the summer of 1879 a young vaquero was herding horses across the north end of the Chimineas. Unknown to the young man, his step-father had falsely accused him of stealing the horses and so informed the local vigilante group known as the "Coon Dogs." The vigilantes intercepted the innocent young man and based upon the false accusation they hung him from an oak tree in the area now known on the ranch as "Deadman Flat." No one was ever prosecuted for this crime.
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