Posted by: Stan Russell | August 31, 2016

Soberanes Fire Update August 31, 2016

Soberanes Fire
Los Padres National Forest
August 31, 2016


Fire Information Phone (831) 204-0446

Media Line: (831)484-9647

Incident: The Soberanes Fire is burning in the Los Padres National Forest, Ventana Wilderness, Monterey County, CA. The fire was started by an illegal campfire on July 22, 2016, in Garrapata State Park.

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

Current Size: 93,714 acres (56,520 acres CA-LPF, 37,194 acres CAL FIRE)

Containment: 60% Cause: Illegal campfire Injuries: 1 fatality, 4 injuries

Structures Destroyed: 57 homes, 11 outbuildings Structures Threatened: 410

Current Resources: Crews: 21 Engines: 57 Helicopters: 14 Dozers: 6 Water Tenders: 5

Total Personnel: 1202

Incident Command: Alaska Interagency Incident Management Team, Tom Kurth Incident Commander. The incident is no longer in unified command with Cal Fire, though many Cal Fire resources are still being utilized.

Current Situation: Strong winds along the coast near Big Sur did not produce as much fire activity as expected, though there was limited spread in both the Big Sur River and Carmel River drainages on the southwest and southeast sides of the fire, respectively. The most activity was in the Mocho Creek and South Fork Big Sur drainages, where wind pushed the fire along ridges.

Water drops from aircraft were used to limit further spread of the fire in the Carmel River drainage. Attempts to utilize aerial retardant drops to limit fire spread in Big Sur River drainages were less effective than previous applications, confirming the strategy of using aerial firing along indirect control lines to secure the edge as fire progresses, if necessary.

Structure protection work in the Carmel River drainage and Partington Ridge south of Big Sur continues to be a primary focus for firefighters. A Burned Area Emergency Response team began conducting assessments on the northern portion of the fire.

Evacuation Orders and Warnings: An evacuation warning remains in effect for a small section of Monterey County along the Pacific Coast Highway bounded on the north by Castro Canyon, on the south by the Julie Pfeiffer Burns State Park, on the east by North Coast Ridge Rd, and on the west by Highway 1. An evacuation warning remains in place for Tassajara Road from Carmel Valley Road to the Tassajara Hot Springs Zen Center. An evacuation order remains in effect for North Coast Ridge Rd. from mile marker 1.5 to Marble Peak at the end of the road.

Community Meeting: There will be a community meeting on Saturday, September 3, 2016 beginning at 6 p.m. at the Cachagua General Store Saturday, 18840 Cachagua Rd., Carmel Valley, CA., 93924. The USDA Forest Service and Alaska Interagency Incident Management, in conjunction with cooperating agencies on the Soberanes Fire, will host a community meeting. Representatives from managing agencies and cooperators of the fire will provide the current status of the Soberanes Fire and be available for questions. Call the Soberanes Fire information line at (831) 204-0446 for more information or visit

Suppression Repair: A Burned Area Emergency Response team on Tuesday began conducting assessments on the northern portion of the fire. Loss of vegetation exposes soil to erosion; runoff may increase and cause flash flooding; sediments may move downstream and damage houses or fill reservoirs; and put endangered species and community water supplies may be at risk. The Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) program addresses these situations with the goal of protecting life, property, water quality, and deteriorated ecosystems from further damage after the fire is out. Concern for possible post-fire effects on fish, wildlife, archeological sites and endangered species is often a primary consideration in the development of a BAER plan.

Fire Restrictions: Forest Order 05-07-16-15 Fire Use Restrictions – Level IV Fire Restrictions. This Order is effective from August 23, 2016, through the end of the official 2016 fire season.

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. For a complete list of closures please visit: The following sites are open: Pfeiffer Beach Day Use, Mill Creek Day Use, Willow Creek Day Use, Sand Dollar Day Use, Kirk Creek Campground, Nacimiento Campground, Ponderosa Campground and Plaskett Creek Campground.



  1. Thank you for the updates. A friend and I were planning a Cali Coast road trip to Big Sur next weekend. The information on open sites is extremely helpful.

    -Jaimy Lorraine

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