SALINAS (CBS SF) – Organizers of the Salinas Valley Half Marathon on Saturday have canceled the race due to unhealthy air linked to the devastating Soberanes Fire burning nearby.
Race officials said in a statement (.pdf) the air quality along the race course has been “unhealthful” since Tuesday and that elevated levels of particulate and smoke are expected in the Salinas Valley in the next few days.
“This fire is a tragic event for our community in so many ways,” said Doug Thurston of the Big Sur International Marathon, which organizes the half marathon.
Organizers said runners would be able to defer their entry until the 2017 Salinas Valley Marathon or participate in the Half Marathon on Monterey Bay in November.
Unused water, food and other supplies would be donated to firefighters sent to battle the blaze.
The Soberanes Fire has burned near Big Sur since the morning of July 22nd. As of Thursday morning, the fire has burned 51,000 acres (79.68 square miles) and is 25 percent contained.
One person battling the blaze, a bulldozer operator, has been killed.
Fire officials said the wildfire is not expected to be fully contained until late August.