CARMEL VALLEY (CBS SF) — More than 2,000 firefighters continued to battle three large wildfires in Monterey County Monday that have burned a combined 70,000 acres and forced dozens from their homes.
Carmel And River Fires
The Carmel and River wildfires had, as of Monday morning, burned more than 55,000 acres, Cal Fire said, though weather conditions offered some relief Sunday.
The River Fire had burned about 48,400 acres in the Pine Canyon Road and River Road area south of Salinas. Containment was estimated at 23 percent.
Four people have suffered minor injuries in this fire, and 30 structures have been destroyed or damaged with more than 6,300 more still threatened as of Sunday night.
The blaze continues to burn interior pockets of vegetation and was smoldering around structures. The cloud cover, along with increased
humidity, has helped firefighters – almost 1,300 of them – make progress on the fire by slowing the fire’s spread.
The Carmel Fire had by Sunday night burned about 6,700 acres in the Carmel Valley Road and Cachagua Road area of Carmel Valley in Monterey County, Cal Fire said.
Containment was listed at 15 percent Sunday night, with full containment (as with the River Fire) estimated to be attained Sept.
About 900 fire personnel have been working this fire. There have been no deaths or injuries, but 37 structures have been destroyed.
The cloud cover along with increased humidity has helped firefighters make progress on the fire by slowing the fire spread.
The entire region is under a Red Flag Warnings through 5 p.m. Monday, and dry lightning with gusty and erratic winds could potentially erase any gains made with better weather conditions Sunday, Cal Fire said. However, the National Weather Service canceled the Red Flag Warning for the region as of about 10 a.m. Monday morning.
On Monday morning, evacuation orders were lifted for Zone 17 (all areas south of Highway 68 from San Benancio Road to Laurales Grade, east of Laurales Grade at La Rancheria Road to the south and all areas west of San Benancio Road), Zone 18 (Carmel Valley Road from Klondike Canyon Road to Laureles Grade, north on Laureles Grade from Carmel Valley Road to La Rancheria) and the northern portion of Zone 19 (west on Carmel Valley Road from Klondike Canyon Road to Pine Tree Lane extending south to Dormody Road and east to Hitchcock Canyon Road and San Clemente Drive). The southern portion of Zone 19 south of the intersection of Esquiline Road to Carmel Valley Road remains under an evacuation order.
Evacuation warnings were lifted for Zone 20 (All areas and roads south of Highway 68 from Laureles Grade Road extending west to York Road/Camino Saucito and extending south to Carmel Valley Road. All areas and roads north of Carmel Valley Road from Laureles Grade Road extending west to Schetter Road) and Zone 21(west on Carmel Valley Road from Pinetree Lane to Rancho San Carlos).
Evacuation centers for both fires are the Monterey Conference Center 1 Portola Plaza, and the King City Branch Library, 404 Broadway St. in King City. Evacuation shelters are Carmel Middle School, 4380 Carmel Valley Road in Carmel by The Sea; Sherwood Hall 490 N. Main St, in Salinas, and the Salinas Valley Fairgrounds 625 Division St. in King City.
While dorms at California State University-Monterey Bay are being used to house firefighters and other first responders, CSUMB spokesman Aaron Bryant said Sunday night that other school dorms might be used as evacuation space. More information about that, Bryant said, may come Monday.
The Dolan Fire has burned close to 20,000 acres and is approximately 10 percent contained, Big Sur Fire said.
Officials said the fire actively burned throughout the night, but slowed in the early morning hours as humidity increased. An Infrared flight was flown last night revealed an estimated growth of 500 acres.
Overnight crews were able to complete indirect handline around the communities of Lucia, Morning Glory, and
Officials said the handlines will provide additional protection and management options for firefighters in the event that fire progresses towards the structures.
On Monday, crews will continue to focus on point protection on the North, West, and South ends of the fire.
The hazard of rolling rocksand spot fires continue to be safety concerns for crews in all divisions, especially along Hwy 1.
Aerial resources will look to take advantage of clear skies when possible to assist ground resources with retardant and bucket drops. As air quality and visibility improve, aviation assets will support crews on the ground.
The fire is threatening the communities of Hermitage, Partington Ridge, and Lucia. Multiple businesses, communications sites, parks and recreational sites are also threatened. Among natural resources threatened are the Ventana Wilderness and coastal watershed and habitat for threatened and endangered species, including the California condor.