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Big Sur goes up in flames

The+Soberanes+Fire+spread+across+121%2C050+acres+in+a+short+two-month+period%2C+destroying+57+homes+and+11+outbuildings+in+its+path.
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Big Sur goes up in flames

The Soberanes Fire spread across 121,050 acres in a short two-month period, destroying 57 homes and 11 outbuildings in its path.

The Soberanes Fire spread across 121,050 acres in a short two-month period, destroying 57 homes and 11 outbuildings in its path.

U.S. Forest Service/CC BY 2.0

The Soberanes Fire spread across 121,050 acres in a short two-month period, destroying 57 homes and 11 outbuildings in its path.

U.S. Forest Service/CC BY 2.0

U.S. Forest Service/CC BY 2.0

The Soberanes Fire spread across 121,050 acres in a short two-month period, destroying 57 homes and 11 outbuildings in its path.

Mona Murhamer, Staff Writer

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Big Sur’s scenic coast was engulfed by the Soberanes Fire on Monday, Sept. 19 after unexpected winds pushed the flames over the containment line.

In an interview with the East Bay Times, Will Pi of the National Weather Service expressed the possibility of the wildfire spreading further along the coast to residential areas.

According to the East Bay Times, “the strongest winds are expected above 3,000 feet, near Chews Ridge and Tassajara Road. Gusts from 35 to 40 mph out of the northwest should be common Thursday morning before diminishing by the evening.”

Areas north of Carmel Valley Road from Hastings Preserve to Cahoon Ranch and east to Tash Ranch have been issued evacuation warnings as the fire continues to spread.

“I visit Big Sur with my brother because it’s well-known for its beautiful scenery. It’s really sad that such a nice part of California’s coastline is being destroyed,” said junior Julia Walsh.

On Tuesday, the National Weather service issued the Soberanes Fire area and the Los Padres National Forest’s Monterey Ranger District a red flag warning, a forecast warning issued to inform area firefighting and land management agencies that conditions are ideal for wildfires to begin. The warning will be in effect from 3 p.m. on Wednesday to 9 p.m. on Thursday.

U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Elayn Brigg said all firing operations will be put on hold during the red flag warning. The fire spread to 121,050 acres Tuesday, endangering 410 structures and swallowing 57 homes and 11 outbuildings.

According to KSBW Action News 8, the wildfire started on July 22 when an illegal campfire was left unattended near Soberanes Canyon Trail in Garrapata State Park.

Monterey County District Attorney Dean Flippo said if an arrest is made, the person responsible could be charged with negligence and manslaughter, as 35-year-old father of two Robert Reagan lost his life fighting the fire when his bulldozer overturned on steep terrain, according to KSBW.

“Wildfires are a part of nature because of climate change, but it’s a shame that the state is losing parts of Big Sur because people weren’t smart with their campfire. A lot of forests are vulnerable because of people lighting illegal campfires, and it’s sad to see so many areas burn down because of it,” said Walsh.

During the two-month period since the fire began, the fire has cost $206.7 million in fighting costs. With the fire only 67 percent contained, the possibility of a complete end to the firefight is slim in the weeks to come, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

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About the Writer
Mona Murhamer, Staff Writer

Mona Murhamer is a senior in the Carlmont journalism program who seeks out dangerous situations for a good story. Her hobbies include journalism, journalism,...

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Big Sur goes up in flames