MONTEREY (BCN) — A widespread wildfire burning south of Carmel-by-the-Sea in Monterey County for nearly three weeks may lead to the closure of state Highway 1 by the end of the week as flames extend into Big Sur, Cal Fire officials said Thursday.
The Soberanes Fire has scorched through 69,837 acres and was 55 percent contained as of Thursday morning, agency officials said.
The blaze was started July 22 by an illegal campfire that was left unattended at Garrapata State Park and is slowly spreading to Big Sur, Cal Fire officials said.
As of 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Cal Fire said the freeway closure could happen in the next 24 to 48 hours, and the full closure could last for up to 48 hours.
There are 4,822 firefighters working to extinguish the blaze, and they hope to reach full containment by the end of the month, according to Cal Fire.
Crews are asking anyone who locates missing fire equipment such as hoses, pumps and gas cans to call the Soberanes Fire information center at (831) 204-0446 or the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office at (831) 755-3722.
An inspection team is working with the county’s Office of Emergency Services to assess damage to five structures and other infrastructure. The fire has destroyed 57 homes and 11 outbuildings and is threatening 410 structures, according to Cal Fire.
Closures have been in place at roads and trails at Los Padres National Forest and state parks in the affected area, Cal Fire officials said.
Evacuation orders and warnings have also been issued for many residents. Those forced out of their homes can receive assistance at a center set up at All Saints’ Day School at 8060 Carmel Valley Road in Carmel-by-the-Sea, according to Cal Fire.
A concert benefiting people affected by the fire is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday at Golden State Theater in Monterey.
The show will feature performances by singer-songwriter Sharon van Etten and special guest Al Jardine, a member of The Beach Boys.