Publication Date September 27, 2016

Soberanes Fire crews unlikely to fully contain blaze this week

United States
Flames from the Soberanes Fire run up a ridge in Soberanes Canyon in Garapata State Park on the northern Big Sur Coast on Friday July 22, 2016. Photo: David Royal - Monterey Herald

Despite incremental progress in Soberanes Fire containment in recent days, a spokesman said Tuesday that crews likely will not establish full containment by the estimated date of Sept. 30.

John DeYoe, a spokesman for the fire’s incident command team, said the Sept. 30 date was set quite a while ago and last week’s red flag warning was a setback.

“As of right now, we don’t really have a solid date on that,” he said. “The containment is growing every day.”

After containment dropped from 60 to 52 percent Sept. 14, crews have continued progress in building containment lines on a daily basis. The fire grew to 128,380 acres Monday night into Tuesday, with containment reaching 81 percent.

“Now we can get back to work and focus on those areas that we couldn’t really access when it was windy,” DeYoe said.

Most of the fire’s activity was limited to creeping and backing Monday into Tuesday, which allowed crews to fight the blaze directly on the fire line. Aircraft dropped retardant along ridge tops from Pine Falls to Tassajara to keep the fire from spreading south out of the Church Creek area and across Tassajara Road.

“So many fires Monday were in the interior, causing the plume of smoke a lot of people saw,” said Eric Coughran, a spokesman for the fire’s incident command team.

Despite working in temperatures over 100 degrees, crews continued to make progress on spot fires near Chews Ridge on Monday