Cause of Soberanes Fire

There will be a press release at 3 pm to release information about the cause of the Soberanes Fire. I will post here.


The illegal campfire that started the Soberanes Fire (57 homes destroyed, one firefighter fatality, over 43,000 acres burned) was discovered at 8:45 a.m. on Friday, July 22, a few miles from the highway on the Soberanes Trail in Garrapata State Park. While state, federal and local officials look for the people responsible for igniting that campfire, they are asking the public to call 1-800-468-4408 with ANY big or minor details that could help.

Let’s get these irresponsible, uncaring, unconscious idiots, folks. SHARE. PUBLICLY.

39 thoughts on “Cause of Soberanes Fire

  1. I’m SO PISSED OFF!!!!!!!!!! I hope the selfish idiot/s who started that campfire are identified and severely punished for the devastation they have caused. A**HOLES!!!!!!!!

  2. As Gomer Pyle would have said: “I knew it, I knew it, I knew it.”

  3. Time to post a big $$ reward for information and see if anybody remembers seeing anybody or anything.

  4. They know who they are., and they have to live with knowing what they did, how horrible…

  5. Maybe they are so whacked out they don’t even know what they did. We will probably never know.

  6. Inconsiderate, selfish, clueless humans. I can’t believe I’m the same species (damn bell curve). Thank goodness our end of the gene pool is resilient

  7. If any of the many residents of Palo Colorado Canyon Road happens to have a home surveillance video camera that picked up road traffic for that time period, it wouldn’t take too much effort for investigators to narrow down the search.

  8. And don’t forget, a life was lost in this fire. Sounds like criminal negligence and charges should be brought. If they can only find the perpetrator . . .

  9. What’s the difference between an unattended illegal campfire…and arson…resulting in a death…and incalculable loss the families will be hard pressed to ever recover from. Someone somewhere is getting away
    with murder.

  10. Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
    …….What the hell is wrong with people….This land is for all of us, not just the selfish few that wish to break the laws……and don’t know how to take care of the land…..OMG…..

  11. every night of the week it is STILL GOING ON. Nacimiento-Ferguson road and etc, it’s happening every night. ask the people who are tasked with trying to deal with the fools camping along there, they get warnings during the day, the Forest Service workers come back in the evening to find the campers drunk and armed and WITH campfires…

  12. We sincerely extend our gratitude to the men and women fighting to protect our community. Thank you.

    Yes. “Stupid is, as stupid does.” However, every local knew this was inevitable. The lack of enforcement despite constant documented concern is the issue. Our voice, in regards to this issue (illegal campfires) has been expressed to the point of exhaustion. Is this what it takes to make us heard?

    Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who have lost.

    We told you so.

    South Coast. Big Sur.

  13. They probably don’t even realize it was them.

    I suggest that in addition to paying the fine or whatever is appropriate, the perpetrators have to spend X number of years standing along the trailheads and going to campsites in Big Sur distributing a personal hand-written statement about what happened and how their actions caused all this damage and suffering.

  14. On the way home from town today (as I was moving all of my irreplaceable belongings into a storage unit, just in case…) I saw someone throw a lit cigarette out of their car. I stopped myself from pulling over at Hurricane Point (where they pulled over) to THROTTLE them. Pray for an evolution of the human race, we need it bad!!!!

  15. To the person (or persons) who is (are) responsible for this event:
    NOW is the time to turn yourself in. The last 12 days have changed lives forever around the world and you owe closure to the thousands of people affected. For what ever reason you have, innocent or not, your side of the story will help heal those whose uncertain future hangs in a delicate balance of just getting back to normal everyday life.
    Do the right thing and don’t be a coward.
    The clock is ticking….

  16. More than one person knows who started this fire. (Young people don’t come in combinations of just one.) Get the friends to talk. But on the other hand, I cannot imagine a greater punishment in life than to live with the knowledge that you cause this amount of suffering. My guess is: young, “local” (as in Monterey Peninsula) and, yes, clueless.

  17. How about those who hiked right by the campfire and ignored because they were on their run! You can’t tell me they didnt see the smoke, their people running by daylight there everyday

  18. I’ve been known to stop, pick up the cig, and if they are stopped, give it back to them with a very motherly lecture.

  19. hey what about the hikers who are there ever morning, doing their run, why why didn’t one of them call it in right away, there are cars there everyday at dawn running or doing their walk,, what took so long to call it?!?!

  20. Lets start here? Maybe they are the fire starters, or could help find them!
    The hikers could have been victims of the Soberanes Fire, but CalFire and Monterey Country Sheriff’s deputies managed to track them down during a search and rescue Tuesday.

    The hikers were initially spotted by bulldozer crews assisting in the fight against the fire. After hours and hours of searching with assistance from air support, rescuers were able to locate the men.

    The hikers were found and evacuated to the east end of Palo Colorado Road in Carmel.

    According to CalFire, the men had gone hiking five or six days before being rescued and had been without food or water for much of that time.

  21. They have and/or are being evaluated for any role they may have had, but since this came out several days after they were rescued, the MCSO has had time to determine if their pot growing story is true or not and they issued the statement today seeking information.

  22. I am often driving the coast at 8-10 pm from esalen to molara area. in the past year have encountered 5 times people with campfires on the side of the road. I do stop with a shovel and gallon of water. some people are cooperative some not so,they all act out with excuses”didn’t know it was a problem” hum really! we all need to keep a look out for this and help people put out their campfires. road camping on nacimento is full these days. yeah,wish people have more sense. prayers to all the wild animals and their paws. pamella

  23. It’s a horrible thing that happened. No one can deny that fact.

    Why don’t we take the same amount of energy that we are directing at these truly unfortunate humans (they will be found, they will be punished, they will live their lives knowing the horrors they created)

    – and gather ourselves to do positive things.

    I had this idea of creating a 3-year membership drive, called “Heal Big Sur” – with a goal of raising $60 million to help people rebuild: $20 million a year.

    Each of us (I mean everyone who lives in/loves Big Sur/Carmel Valley) joins, and much like a gym membership, we each pay a very reasonable amount each month ($10, $20, $30, whatever is comfortable) for a 3-year period.

    If you do the math, a lot of money could be raised if you’ve got thousands of people giving what they can over a certain period of time.

    A second part of my idea is to have a goal of planting 60,000 seedlings – again over a 3 year period – in Big Sur and Los Padres and into Carmel Valley – wherever it is needed: 20,000 a year.

    The fundraising would support the plantings, and so many local organizations could get involved (Boy Scouts, CCC, Sierra Club, etc.) – schools could contribute by having classrooms “seed” the little trees, and then organizations could hike out and plant them.

    “Heal Big Sur” Fund Drive (this includes C. Valley areas hit too)
    3 years
    $20 million a year – end goal $60 million
    20,000 seedlings a year – end goal 60,000

    This is just an idea – but when I feel my heart breaking more and more as the fire burns on – I just have to have something to focus on – so wanted to share my dream.

    Love and blessings to you all – 🙂 God bless you.

  24. Everytime I see someone throw a cigarette butt out the window I make sure and let the know what dumb””””s they are.

  25. Glad you all responded as you did. It is also clear that our definition of Wilderness requires some adjustments in order to protect the wilderness. With the increase of people attracted by wilderness we now are catering to a multiple of “global nature lovers” verses what it used to be. In addition their cultural background, their behavior is also changes. On top of it the commerce is pushing for more fantasizing the wilderness on a global basis. So, how are we handling the millions of visitors in the future.
    Please lets work on the definition and standards to protect the true wilderness by limiting the visitation time. Once we have rainy season you can be a guest, only. October or November till February 28th or March31st. Period.
    Please give it some thought and lets get into action once the peace has been given back to nature.
    Ro0bert Korstanje

  26. My heart is more broken than it ever has been through this fire as I watch helplessly at what all of you are experiencing. But now my heart burns with great anger once I heard what caused the fire. I have read all your comments and agree with everyone of you. I also like the fundraising idea. I also like asking those who were there in the park who noticed things, asking about surveillance and other cameras. But what I would like to say more than anything else is THIS is exactly why we need oversight to make sure Mother Nature stays beautiful for all who share it. More Rangers, more signage, more enforcement, if they are drink and nuts at night and shouldn’t be there, bodily remove them for heaven’s sake. At the risk of sounding like a Republican (gasp!), build more fences to keep the areas that are not supposed to be camped that people can’t scale. We need fire prevention campaigns for the many many visitors that come to the coast who really don’t have a clue and build fires. I agree, this is it, we’ve gotten way past the area of assuming people have common sense. We need a different system to make sure our beautiful area stays safe for everyone to live in. Who’s in?

  27. News has spread to here in far-away England and former PG resident. So inspirational to see social media can be a force for good and bringing education to those who obviously need it whether they’re beleaguered residents or careless individuals. Job well done and sending strength in thoughts.

  28. Kate, I appreciate you so. I hope you don’t mind me copying and re posting the comment starting with ” We sincerely extend our gratitude.” Stupid is what stupid does. I’m just destroyed by this destruction.

  29. Lots of homeless recently were sent out of the Soledad street area of Salinas. They are trickling in and around all areas of the peninsula trying to find themselves new “homes” safe places to stay. I pick up lots of hitch hikers going in and out if big sur. Some are young travelers, some are locals without cars and some are just these homeless looking for a safe place. I wonder if this person/people who started this fire could fall into this category. Then the issue becomes tied to an even larger picture of the housing issue that is a pressure cooker environment for Monterey county. One hitchhiker told me that there’s allot of homeless kids living outside point lobos…under some bridge?? Maybe this wasn’t a tourist. Maybe this was one of our own. Maybe we have been irresponsibly and unreliable as a community in taking care of ourselves and our fellows. PLEASE don’t get me wrong, my heart is breaking too, in angry also. I grew up here as well and have watched the weight of the many take its toll on my beloved home. But just maybe this is connected to a larger issue we are not looking at.

  30. The Wilderness belongs to 330 million of us. We are all “guests”. The Ventana Wilderness Alliance offers some sensible solutions:
    Advocate for proper recreation and visitor management. Decision makers need to know that you support sufficiently funding California State Parks, the US Forest Service and other agencies to provide education and enforcement with qualified, well-trained field staff.
    Recent estimates place the cost of Soberanes Fire suppression efforts at $6 million per day. This is enough to train and employ 100 field staff for an entire year. Imagine the difference that a proactive approach would make for public lands and surrounding communities.

  31. I read all the posts from Kates site! Having lived in Palo Colorado Canyon with only one way out was terrifying esp back in the 70’s when fires were lit deliberately! This was pure ignorance and selfishness! I am sorry for your loss!

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