Sob Fire

Fire burns along the west face on Mt. Manuel in Big Sur.

With over half of the Soberanes Fire having burned the Los Padres National Forest, the U.S. Forest Service is transitioning to take full command of the incident.

The fire, which has been burning since July 22, has scorched nearly 42,000 acres of the Los Padres National Forest, according to U.S. Forest Service spokesman Joe English.

The other 38,000 acres have been on California wildlands in Carmel Valley, Cachagua and Big Sur, which are under jurisdiction of Cal Fire.

“Active burning is currently mainly all in the forest,” English says. “With a federal takeover, the tactical strategies don’t really change, but we can activate more out-of-state resources.”

One of those resources in the Army National Guard, which has nearly 350 personnel, including trained firefighters, that are currently working as hand crews.

“The units work on cutting fire lines and cleanup efforts,” says U.S. Army Lt. Col. Gilbert Roldan, speaking outside of the National Guard’s operation headquarters inside Cal Fire's Toro Park base camp in Salinas. “Outside of supporting wartime efforts, we have a mission to respond to any type of emergency disaster.”

The fire, which has destroyed 57 homes, is currently 60-percent contained and Cal Fire estimates full containment by Sept. 30—a full month later than earlier projections to have the fire contained by Aug. 30. 


Staff photojournalist at Monterey County Weekly.

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