Dolan Fire - PS70-2.jpg

Members of the Laguna Hotshots prepare to dig a fireline in effort to protect a home threatened by the Dolan Fire on Thursday, Aug. 20.

While the communities of Gorda on the south coast of Big Sur and Fort Hunter Liggett in South Monterey County might feel worlds away from each other, they are separated only by the Santa Lucia Mountain Range—a great barrier for people, but not for fire. 

In hot and dry conditions, the Dolan Fire more than doubled from Monday to Tuesday to 73,000 acres, the rapid expansion caught 14 firefighters on top of Nacimiento-Fergusson Road off guard. They were forced to deploy their emergency fire shelters; three were injured seriously and air-lifted to a hospital in Fresno for medical attention. 

By Wednesday morning, Sept. 9, the fire had burned an estimated 93,034 acres and containment had dropped from 40 percent to 20 percent. As of noon, the fire was at 93,554 acres.

While firefighters continue battling the blaze in Big Sur where it started, much of the recent spread has occurred to the east, where the fire is burning around Arroyo Seco and Indians Memorial Campground, into training areas of Fort Hunter Liggett.

A lot of the area in between is unpopulated Ventana Wilderness, but the fire is now threatening communities on the east side of the fire, prompting officials to issue evacuation orders today, Sept 9. Some are in the same areas affected by the Carmel Fire, now 100-percent contained. 

Evacuation orders issued today cover the following areas: South of Arroyo Seco and Carmel Valley Road, between Tassajara Road to the west and Reliz Canyon Road to the east, and Santa Lucia Road to Del Venturi Road on Fort Hunter Liggett.

For the latest evacuation information, check the county Office of Emergency Services website which has an interactive map; zoom in or search by your address. 

An evacuation advisory or warning means you should pack essential belongings and prepare to leave. An order means you are required to leave as quickly as possible.

A fire camp for firefighters, under leadership of the U.S. Forest Service, is being established in Fort Hunter Liggett for easier access to the fire.

Sara Rubin loves long public meetings, red pens and reading (on newsprint). She has been editor of the Monterey County Weekly since 2016, and has been on staff since 2010.

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