We learned Friday that the large and still growing Soberanes Fire was likely to wreak some havoc for tourism in particular traffic on Highway 1, which is the only road in and out of Big Sur and it has indeed forced the closure of Route 1 again on Monday due to fallen trees in the roadway between the Point Sur Lighthouse and North Coast Ridge Road, as KSBW reports. The fire grew to 74,604 acres overnight, up from 70,000 acres on Friday, and it is now 60 percent contained, with likely two more weeks of containment work left to do.
Air quality is reportedly good in the Big Sur area, and along the coast, as the fire continues to spread slowly into the brush-covered, remote areas to the south and southeast, in Los Padres National Forest. Still, the fire has come dangerously closed to the redwood groves of Big Sur and remains a threat to 410 structures.
The Nepenthe Big Sur says via Facebook that they are open for business, however they note that the Highway 1 closure may extend to 5 p.m. today. Also, Cal Fire announced that PG&E would be de-energizing power lines along the freeway for safety reasons starting at 2 p.m. Monday, both south of the Fernwood vicinity and north of Dolan Creek. The planned power outage is expected to last up to 24 hours.
Below is the latest perimeter map of the fire Cal Fire which shows how it has encroached on the Big Sur area over the last week. For comparison, here was the fire map from August 3.
Evacuation warnings remain in place for the areas "West of Hwy 1 at Coast road at
the intersection of Andrew Molera State Park to Graves Canyon. [And] Tassajara Road from Carmel Valley Road to the Tassajara Hot Springs Zen Center."
One lone outpost that hopes to save itself from damage is the Tassajara Zen Center, which reported Sunday via Facebook that they remain a comfortable 10 miles away from the closest point of the fire. It isn't so comfortable, however, as this is the second time in eight years that a fire has potentially threatened the place, which exists in a green and wooded enclave due east of Big Sur, deep a canyon valley and accessible only by a single dirt road via Carmel Valley. Zen Center guests were all evacuated two weeks ago, and a team of Zen Center residents remain on site creating fire lines in the areas surrounding the retreat.
The fire, now in its fourth week, began with an illegal, abandoned campfire in Garrapata State Park on July 22.