Posted by: Stan Russell | August 21, 2016

Soberanes Fire Update Saturday, August 21, 2016

Soberanes Fire

Los Padres National Forest Service

August 21, 2016


Fire Information Phone (831)204-0446

Media Line: (831)484-9647

Incident: The Soberanes Fire was started by an Illegal campfire on the morning of July 22, 2016, in the Garrapta State Park. The fire is burning in areas of previous large fires including the Basin Complex in 2008 and the Marble-Cone Fire in 1977.

Location: Los Padres National Forest, Ventana Wilderness, Monterey County, CA

Agency Jurisdiction: CAL FIRE San Benito-Monterey Unit/Los Padres National Forest

Additional Cooperating and Assisting Organizations: CA State Parks and Recreation, CHP, CAL-OES, CDCR, CA National Guard, Big Sur Land Trust, CAL-TRANS, CCC, CA Fish & Wildlife, Coast Property Owners Association (CPOA), Community Foundation for Monterey County, BLM, American Red Cross, the County of Monterey, PG&E, Carmel Highlands F.P.D., Monterey County Regional Fire Protection District, Mid Coast Volunteer Fire Brigade, Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade and the Cachagua Fire Protection District.

Current Size: 83,830 acres (37,194 CA-LPF, 48,018 CAL FIRE,) Containment: 60% Cause: Illegal campfire

Injuries: 1 fatality, 3 injuries Structures Destroyed: 57 homes, 11 outbuildings Structures Threatened: 410

Current Resources: Crews: 48 Engines: 64 Helicopters: 13 Dozers: 29 Water Tenders: 48

Total Personnel: 2421

Current Situation: With an increase of 1,382 acres, the Soberanes Fire was most active near and continues to progress slowly toward Buckskin Flat. It crossed the Carmel River about one mile south of Buckskin Flat Campground, 2 miles northeast of Hiding Canyon and 5 miles west of Chews Ridge. Firefighters continue their efforts building and strengthening existing control lines spanning from the Los Padres Reservoir to Chews Ridge. Due to the well-known ruggedness and inaccessibility along most of the fire’s east side in the Ventana Wilderness, crews continue to spike (camping near the fire front) out, scouting for options for direct line to restrict fire spread where possible.

The northern portion of the fire in the Carmel Valley area remains quiet and crews are expected to be in suppression repair for a couple more weeks.

In the immediate Big Sur area, firefighters are mopping up and beginning repair of fire suppression efforts. No firing operations took place on the fire yesterday but aircraft were utilized on the fire’s perimeter southeast of Big Sur, to cool and slow the fire’s edge.

Firefighters are taking protective action to defend against the slowly advancing Sobranes Fire in the Ventana Wilderness. The English cabin once owned by Jack English a local mountain man and resident, near Pine Flat has been protected with fire-resistant wrap. Dozer line has been constructed around the Church Ranch, and to preserve cultural sites and protect houses near Chews Ridge, areas have been brushed and positioned with hose lays and water pumps. Additional protective action will be taken if deemed necessary.

Wilderness Tactics: To reduce the impacts associated with fire suppression activities in wilderness areas, fire managers and firefighting crews continue using MIST (Minimum Impact Suppression Tactics) as much as possible. The steep, rugged terrain of the Ventana Wilderness is inherently treacherous to firefighters. Most direct fireline is being constructed near the perimeter in areas that have been pretreated and supported by aircraft.

The fire was caused by an illegal, unattended campfire on the Soberanes Canyon trail in the Garrapata State Park. Anyone with information is asked to call the CAL FIRE Tip Line at: (800) 468-4408.

US Forest Service Road and Trail Closures: A forest closure order has been implemented to close the trails and roads within the Los Padres National Forest, Monterey Ranger District pursuant to USC 551 and 36 CFR 261.50(a). The order prohibits going into or being upon National Forest System lands within the Soberanes Fire area. The Arroyo Seco Campground and Day Use Area is closed. For a complete list of closures please visit:

California State Park Closures: All California State Parks from Garrapata State Park through Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park are closed until further notice; this includes Point Sur State Historic Park (Lighthouse), Andrew Molera State Park, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park Campground and Day Use.

Evacuation Orders: An evacuation ORDER remains in effect for Coast Ridge Rd. from mile marker 1.5 to Marble Peak at the end of the road.

Evacuation Warnings: Evacuation WARNINGS remain in effect for the east side of HWY 1 from Andrew Molera Park to Coast Ridge Rd at the Ventana Inn. This area includes the Ventana Inn and Coast Ridge Rd to mile marker 1.5. A WARNING remains for Tassajara Road from Carmel Valley Road to the Tassajara Hot Springs Zen Center. This area includes all roads that lead from the above described roads.


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