Monterey County

Cal Fire says Soberanes Fire could more than quadruple in size

CalFire expects fire to grow up to 165,000 acres

MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. - Cal Fire said Sunday the Soberanes Fire could grow to 165,000 acres.

"We are hopeful that we're able to contain the fire much closer where it is right now, but that is the potential size we might be looking at should it progress to that point," said Don Jaques with the USDA Forest Service.

Cal Fire said the growing hot spots are very difficult to contain. Steep and inaccessible terrain, hot weather and dead brush have all created a fiery trifecta.

"With these grasses that are cured out and can easily bust, combined with some of the trees that have a low fuel moisture level, that makes it very possible for the fire to grow rapidly," said Jaques.

With so much work still to be done, two new base camps at Rancho Canada Golf Course and Pfeifer Park have been added. Even more resources and firefighters could be called in.

"When you're rolling off the line at seven in the morning and you're tired from being up all night the night before, you come in to see that people are grateful for what it is you do, that's what really makes this job worth it," said firefighter Tyler Vanderselt.

Officials said they're changing things up, now fighting fire with fire.

"It's similar to a controlled fire," said Cal Fire PIO Henry Herrera. "We're burning it when the conditions are ideal so that it burns low intensity and it spreads slowly, versus it burning at a high intensity and at a fast rate."

Even though the fire has passed through some areas, there are some parts that are smoldering, which firefighters said could continue to burn for months.

"The biggest concern tends to be the safety of the public and our firefighters, people's homes," said Herrera.

With evacuations underway, Cal Fire asks residents to be prepared to leave.

"That way firefighters can come in and focus on defending their homes versus having to evacuate them," said Herrera.

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