Soberanes Fire: Homes Threatened as Big Sur Wildfire Grows

Jul 23, 2016

A mandatory evacuation remains in effect for the community of Palo Colorado in Big Sur as the Soberanes Fire continues to burn out of control.  Carmel Highlands is under an evacuation warning.  All residents are asked to be prepared to leave the area immediately.

As of Saturday morning, the fire had burned 6500 acres and is 5% contained.  1650 structures are threatened and one outbuilding is destroyed.

The fire started Friday morning in a rugged area 12 miles south of Carmel. It’s burning in a remote steep canyon on top of Soberanes Ridge.

CalFire says access to the fire is challenging, but crews are battling it from the ground and air.

“So we have hand crews out cutting fire control line. We have bulldozers when appropriate, also cutting fire control lines. We have helicopters with water bucket drops. We have air tankers with retardant drop as well as when possible we have our fire engines trying to make access into the fire as well,” says Jonathan Pangburn with CalFire.

Nearly 800 firefighters from around the state are battling the blaze.

Garrapata State Park is closed, but Highway 1 and businesses in Big Sur are still open.   Chris Sutton is an accountant at the Big Sur River Inn and has witnessed many fires in Big Sur. He says Big Sur residents know the fire danger well and are prepared.

“Many, many of those people have been in Big Sur for a long time and know to make contingency plans for something like this. And kind of have places to go to with friends relatives, people who live on the Monterey Peninsula or further south down the coast where you know things are not threatened,” says Sutton.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.