Soberanes fire grows beyond 16,000 acres

Three hundred residents have been evacuated and 1,650 structures are threatened by a wildfire in the Soberanes Creek area of Garrapata State Park, north of Big Sur in Monterey County, according to Cal Fire.

The fire has spread to 16,100 acres and was only 10 percent contained as of Tuesday evening, with full containment expected by next Friday, according to Cal Fire.

The blaze has destroyed 20 homes and two outbuildings since it broke out around 8:45 a.m. Friday, Cal Fire officials said.

About 2,285 crew members battling the blaze have faced problems accessing certain areas where flames are burning. Recent high temperatures and low humidity levels have also impacted firefighting efforts, according to Cal Fire.

The fire has forced residents near the Palo Colorado community, Rocky Creek, Weston Ridge Road, state Highway 1 at Old Coast Road and Garrapatos Road to leave the area, Cal Fire officials said. A temporary center has been set up at Carmel Middle School to assist evacuees.

An evacuation warning has been issued for people at Carmel Highlands, Rancho San Carlos, White Rock and Old Coast Road from Bixby Creek Road to Little Sur River, according to Cal Fire.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for Monterey County is caring for more than 20 pets evacuated from the fire and is seeking donations of cash, pet food and cat litter.

Places near the fire may have unhealthy levels of fine particulate called PM2.5, according to the Monterey Bay Air Resources District.

Winds may blow smoke from the fire to Carmel Valley, Monterey Peninsula and south of Big Sur, air district officials said.

The public is advised to use their judgment on whether they should leave their homes based on how smoky the air looks, especially for people with children or who are suffering from heart or lung disease, air district officials said.

People should avoid burning anything in an area with high levels of smoke, according to the air district.

Other agencies responding to the fire include California State Parks, the California Highway Patrol, Monterey County Sheriff’s Office, Monterey Peninsula Regional Parks District, American Red Cross and the state Office of Emergency Services.

The fire response has blocked Palo Colorado Road and Weston Ridge Road at Highway 1, Robinson Canyon south of Penon Peak Trail and Old Coast Road from Bixby Creek south to Andrew Molera State Park, Cal Fire officials said.

Toro Park has been closed since Saturday as Cal Fire is using the site as their base camp, county officials said.

Closures are also in place at Andrew Molera State Park, Point Sur Lighthouse, Pine Ridge Trail at Los Padres National Forest, Mt. Manuel Trail at Los Padres National Forest, Garrapata State Park and Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, state park officials said.

The Community Foundation for Monterey County has created a fund in which contributions will be formed into grants for agencies to help residents affected by the fire.

Donations can be made by phone to (831) 375-9715 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., or by mailing a check to the foundation at 2354 Garden Road, Monterey, CA 93940, Attention: Soberanes Fire Fund or online at https://www.cfmco.org/give-now/?fund=6642.