Monterey County

Soberanes Fire to receive new management team

New change in command in Soberanes Fire fight

MONTEREY COUNTY, Calif. - A change in management doesn't mean a change in strategy. The California Inter-Agency Management Team is taking over command of the Soberanes Fire on Tuesday September 13th at 6am.

The Alaska Incident Management Team has been on this fire for the past three weeks straight and due to policy, a switch in teams is necessary for the rest, health, and safety of firefighters.

"It's good to let the other teams come in. They shadow us. They're actually here now for two days to have a smooth hand off," said PIO Jim Schwarber with the Alaska Incident Team.

A smooth transition between teams and a fresh roster of crews on the fire lines means there won't be any setbacks in strategy. And that strategy is to box in the south end of the fire, going at it from both the west and southeast sides.

"It's a process. It wants to do its own thing based on weather, based on wind," said Timothy Evans, PIO with the U.S. Forest Service.

Heat, wind, and dry conditions have made things tough and so has the rugged terrain of the wilderness. That's why air support has been crucial lately. At times, there are up to 25 aircraft dropping down water and fire retardant.

"Takes a person riding by horse 3 days to get into some of those areas and firefighter safety is of utmost importance," said Evans.

But there's a sense of confidence moving forward.

"We try to stay ahead of this as much as possible and now we have an opportunity to really make some ground," said Evans.

The Soberanes Fire started on July 22nd, sparked by an illegal campfire at Garrapata State Park.

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