The Soberanes fire in California has burned 51,000 acres. For nearly two weeks in late July and early August, a major wildfire has been burning near the California coast between Monterey and Big Sur. The fire started from an illegal campfire along Soberanes Creek in Garrapata State Park on July 22, 2016, according to Inciweb Incident Information System. According to news reports, CalFire suggested that in a worst-case scenario, the fire may not be fully extinguished until the end of August.
On July 30, 2016, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite captured a true-color image of the Soberanes fire as smoke blue north and east over the California Coast Ranges and into the Central Valley.
According to Inciweb, the Soberanes fire had burned 51,000 acres (a larger area than San Francisco), and just 27 percent of the perimeter was contained by firefighters at the end of the day on August 4. At least 57 residences and 11 outbuilding have been destroyed. Six state parks have been closed and hundreds of people have been evacuated. One man has died.
More than 5,200 firefighting personnel have were involved in beating back the flames. The effort has been particularly difficult because of the steep, rugged terrain with little road access. The landscape is also primed to burn due to high temperatures, low humidity, and “an above-average cured grass crop,” according to CalFire. Meteorologists have noted an unusual local pattern where humidity drops at night (as low as 5 percent) – as opposed to rising, as it does in most other locations – encouraging flames to grow more after dark. The Soberanes fire in California has burned 51,000 acres as seen in image.