California Wildfire: Fire Officials Give Update on Containment of Blaze

by Victoria Santiago
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Progress is being made on the California wildfire currently burning around Carmel and Big Sur. So far, the fire is about 25% contained. The blaze has already burned through 1,050 acres. However, Cal Fire reports that only one building has been damaged in the blaze so far. Luckily, the containment percentage has gone way up for the fire. By Saturday, the blaze was only 5% controlled, and high winds were making it worse. That increased to 20% this morning and has been going up ever since.

Interestingly enough, the California wildfire is burning in an area that doesn’t really have a fire history. According to the National Weather Service, the blaze is currently burning south of Palo Colorado towards Bixby Creek along Long Ridge. This area has been avoided by many fires in the past. The 2008 Basin, 2016 Soberanes, 2013 Pfieffer, 1977 Marble Cone, or the 1999 Kirk Complex fire did not reach this area.

Dry Weather Has Long-Lasting Effects On Western US States

Even though the weather has recently been rainy and cold for the area, that has not stopped fires from happening. It seems that severe drought conditions and high winds cancel out any benefits that the area has been getting from rain. “Anecdotally, it seems as though the long-term drought is acting like a chronic illness,” the Bay Area office of the NWS said. “Even recent rains and cold winter weather isn’t helping to keep fires from developing. Pictures on social media suggest some pretty surreal fire behavior given the wet October and December that was observed across the region.”

Many fires have happened over the last several months. They’re directly related to the dry weather conditions that many of the US’s western states face. Heatwaves, drought, and strong, gusty winds have all been attributed to a host of recent California wildfires. This blaze has been pushed by strong winds, too. Thankfully, winds are starting to die down.

California Wildfire Causes Evacuations and Road Closures

The Monterey County Sheriff’s Office has issued an evacuation order for all areas west of 3800 Palo Colorado Road to Highway 1. The order extends south to Bixby Creek. KSBW reports that these orders are mandatory.

Of course, there are shelters open for those with nowhere to go. For example, there’s an American Red Cross Shelter is open at Carmel Middle School. In addition to that, the SPCA will have emergency pet supplies available at Carmel Middle School. Hotels in Monterey are also offering help to people that need it. Many hotels are offering discounted rates for rooms. As far as road closures go, Highway 1 is closed. This closure is for both directions, from Molera Park to Granite Canyon Bridge.

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