Big Sur California Fire Update: Root Cause Detected, Hundreds Evacuated, States Under Alert
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said on Tuesday that it has determined that the wildfire blazing through the rugged terrain of Big Sur was started by an illegal and abandoned campfire.Advertisement
The campfire was started more than two miles east of Highway 1 along Soberanes Creek in the area of Garrapata State Park.
However, it is not known as of yet who started the fire around July 22 in Garrapata State Park. Those responsible could face criminal and civil charges.
“We understand the devastation and hardship this incident has caused,” Cal Fire Battalion Chief Jonathan Cox said. “We appeal for anyone who was in the area of origin to please come forward and give any information they have, no matter how inconsequential they may believe it to be. It could be instrumental in this investigation.”
As reported by SF Gate, the fire has spread to more than 43,400 acres, an area greater than the city of San Francisco. On Tuesday, the fire continued to spread; firefighters say it could take weeks to contain the fire.
Factors like high temperatures are making battling the fire more difficult. Large plumes of smoke are being sent into the sky. The blaze continues to burn through a steep and rugged coastal terrain.
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The incident has been made a top priority, USA Today reports. As many as 510 fire engines, 51 water tankers, 72 bulldozers, 17 helicopters, six air tankers, and more than 5,400 firefighters have been deployed to battle and contain the fire. Currently, the blaze has been 18 percent contained. A state of emergency has been declared by California Governor Jerry Brown in order to make resources available for firefighting efforts.
Evacuation orders have been placed for several areas. Fifty seven homes have been destroyed in the blaze. The incident has also led to the death of a privately contracted bulldozer operator.
“In some locations the fire is still actively burning at night,” Cal Fire spokesman Don Jaques said. “It’s been an impressive effort by the firefighters in those remote locations.”
Campfires outside of campgrounds are prohibited in certain sections of California due to drought and risk of fire.