A fire burning since Friday in rough terrain south of Carmel-by-the-sea, north of Big Sur has crossed the 19,000 acre mark as of Tuesday morning, and it remains only 10 percent contained with 20 residences now destroyed. A total of around 300 people have been evacuated so far including parts of the community of Carmel Highlands, and residents of Palo Colorado Road and other rural roads east of Highway 1 in this stretch north of Garrapata State Park, where the fire originally began. It's named the Soberanes Fire after Soberanes Creek, which was near the fire's origination point.
The video illustration below shows the rapid growth of the fire since Friday, and you can see its southern edge now touching the northern corner of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.
Because of the marine layer and the smoke, according to the National Weather Service in San Francisco, smoke settling in overnight in the Carmel Valley caused air quality to become worse than Beijing, as the LA Times reports.
The fire has grown greatly in size because of weather conditions and plenty of dry fuel, and has led to the closures of several roads: Palo Colorado Road at Hwy 1, Robinson Canyon Road (south of Penon Peak Trail), and Weston Ridge Road. Further details about the evacuation warnings can be found here.
48 crews of firefighters and 2,305 total personnel are now battling this thing, which if it spreads any further south could threaten some of the great redwoods in Big Sur.
Cal Fire Capt. Lucas Spelman tells KSBW-TV, "We are starting to get into the fatigue time because of so many days on the fire, and just continually fighting this fire aggressively does take its toll on firefighters."
The last major wildfire in the area, which was further inland, happened in 2008.
Meanwhile, in Southern California, the Sand Fire in the Santa Clarita Valley is causing heavy smoke conditions as well, which can be seen from space. That fire, according to the LA County Fire Department, has now burned over 37,000 acres.