Soberanes Fire, Day 32, 8/22/16

5:15 pm –

Pfeiffer Beach opened this morning at 10:00 AM and will be on its regular schedule, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM.

Here’s the rundown of State Park closures / expected reopenings:

-The West side of Garrapata has been open during the fire and remains open. East of the highway the park will remain closed for the foreseeable future.
– Point Sur Light Station SHP is scheduled to reopen this weekend with normal hours.
– Andrew Molera SP will remain in use as a Fire Camp for the foreseeable future.
– Pfeiffer Big Sur SP will remain closed at least through Sept 5th. The Fire Camp is currently moving out, and Parks has begun necessary work to reopen. We have not set a date yet, and expect the work to take at least 2 to 3 weeks.
– Julia Pfeiffer Burns SP is targeted for a partial reopening Thursday the 25th, which will include the parking lot and trails west of Highway 1. The eastern trails will remain closed.

Thank You,

Eric Abma
California State Parks
Deputy District Superintendent (Acting)

3:30 pm – Helicopters flying from Andrew Molera by Jen Smith


10:00 am – Status Report
August 22, 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: 86,294 acres (49,100 CA-LPF, 37,194 CAL FIRE,) Containment: 60% Cause: Illegal campfire
Injuries: 1 fatality, 3 injuries Structures Destroyed: 57 homes, 11 outbuildings Structures Threatened: 410
Current Resources: Crews: 34 Engines: 60 Helicopters: 13 Dozers: 29 Water Tenders: 29
Total Personnel: 2109

Current Situation: Today marks day thirty of the Soberanes Fire. Nominal growth occurred the last twenty four hours of 1,082 acres. The fire continues to slowly burn interior islands with heavier fuels within the Ventana Wilderness portions of the fire. No movement outside the fireline is expected in this area. Crews continue to patrol and extinguish hot spots with their primary focus on suppression repair.

On the east side, the fire advanced towards Miller Mountain and Ventana Cone. Firefighters continue to prepare and reinforce contingency lines from the Los Padres Reservoir to Chews Ridge. Lines are also being strengthened from Arroyo Seco south to Santa Lucia Memorial Park. Crew have provided enhanced protection measures to structures within the predicted path of the Soberanes Fire in the Ventana Wilderness.

Near the Big Sur area, no firing operations occured yesterday but may occur today if conditions are favorable. Aircraft was utilized yesterday to slow the southward progression of the fire. Most of the fire activity occurred east of Barlow Camp and west of Redwood Creek Camp, flanking to the south in the Big Sur River drainage area. The fire is established on Logwood Ridge. Crews are working hard to reinforce hand-line along portions of Logwood Ridge where possible.

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 inaccessibility into the Ventana Wilderness along much of the fire’s east side continually requires patience, and slow and steady hard work from the crews, as they look for options to construct direct line.

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.

Fire managers want to remind the public that human caused fires are preventable. Please be aware of current fire restrictions and be careful with anything that could spark a fire.

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: 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.
Donations: Local relief efforts to the fire victims have been provided by the Coast Property Owners Association (CPOA) and the Community Foundation for Monterey County. Donations can be made to the CPOA at Coast Property Owners Association, PO Box 59, Big Sur, CA 93920 or the Community Foundation for Monterey County 2354 Garden Road, Monterey, CA 93940 (831)375-9712.

7:30 am –

Here is John Chestnut’s Map:


7:00 am – here is this morning’s IR Ortho Map, showing a total of 86,294 acres burned so far. Containment is the same, 60%.


Here is the Southern Operations Map for today and the link to the PDFs is here:

South Ops PDF link


17 thoughts on “Soberanes Fire, Day 32, 8/22/16

  1. Thank you for your continued information. And I must admit I am VERY glad to see the need for many comments dwindling.

  2. NPR’s “Here & Now” should have a report broadcast today on National Park’s use and future functions- It’s generally showing a spotlight on them for its 100 year anniversary -Yellowstone is it’s main starting point- I hope this show is more well rounded and brings up the problems we all notice during our difficult times. It’ll be on live @11am PCT.

    Also Forum has a bunch of dated archived programs on state & national parks in general- easily found by doing a topic search..

  3. I need the PDF version of Ops South to be able to print maps for display in my community. Been getting them every day up to now, but not today.

  4. Andrew, that’s great information. I missed the NPR broadcast but can probably get it some other way. Thanks.

  5. Thank you Kate for continuing to report on the Sobranes fire over a month out…My father is in an assisted /memory care facility at the mouth of the Carmel valley, and I am in SoCal, so I have been relying on your blog to assure myself that he is in no immediate danger, so far so good!!!!

  6. No worries, other than smoke. That shouldn’t be a problem if he stays indoors and they have HEPA filters or air conditioning. Mouth of the Valley has never really been in danger, and now are in none at all,


  7. There are less comments, and let’s remember that if you look and the ultimate containment lines, we are about at the halfway point. There are still homes and smaller communities still at risk along the North Coast Ridge Road, Tassajara Road, and many other tucked away places like Jack’s cabin in Pine Valley. Remember weather dictates where fire will go. With a change in weather the containment lines to the south don’t necessarily contain the fire once it gets there.
    By the way I am re-posting a link to Colleen Morton Busch’s article in the Herald in case you missed it:
    Let’s remember there are still many that are still in the line of the fire and many more that could be if the weather changes.
    Thanks Kate!

  8. Wonderful article, Steve. Thanks for posting that link. Colleen’s told me she had submitted it, but I hadn’t had a chance to track it down. You made it easy.

    I’m busy focusing to the south on the Chimney which is taking out more homes and stretching to Lake San Antonio.


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