At high noon on Wednesday, Sept. 9, the skies to the west of Highway 101 in Monterey County were dark, filled with smoke from the growing Dolan Fire. The smell of active fire got stronger further south, near Fort Hunter Liggett.
A few miles past the military base, up Nacimiento-Fergusson Road, firefighters appeared over a hill, silhouetted by an orange glow following steadily behind. They were performing a controlled burn on the southeastern edge of the fire to gain control while the weather worked in their favor with winds that were nearly non-existent and high relative humidity.
As of Thursday, Sept. 10, the fire has burned 111,382 acres, is 26-percent contained. It has destroyed 14 structures, including the U.S. Forest Service station on top of Nacimiento-Fergusson Road.
Three days prior, the fire was burning out of control and doubled in size in a 24-hour period.
Three firefighters were airlifted to a hospital in Fresno after being involved in a shelter deployment—a last-ditch survival effort on the fire line— early Tuesday morning. Two have since been released from the hospital and the third, who was in critical condition and is now stable, is set to be released later this week, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
Cooler temperatures and high humidity on Thursday came as a contrast, and allowed firefighters to do prescribed burns throughout the day. When the winds did pick up overnight, testing northern fire lines, the lines held.
Evacuations are in place for Lucia, South Coast Ridge Road, Gorda, Prewitt Ride and areas along the northeastern edge of the fire in the Arroyo Seco area.
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.