Monterey County

Tourists turn around at Highway 1 closure in Big Sur

BIG SUR, Calif. - UPDATE 8/15/16 12:31 PM: The closure along Highway 1 in Big Sur was reduced Monday morning at about 11:00 a.m., according to Cal Fire. The road closure was moved from Point Sur Lighthouse to The Ripplewood Cafe at 47047 Highway 1.

Cal Fire said both lanes are closed about three and a half miles to North Coast Ridge Rd, bad news for tourists.

"We knew that there were fires definitely here near Big Sur, but we didn't know it was closed down still," said Giana Hession from Belmont, California.

Hession and Grant Showecker drove from the Bay Area, hoping to see the picturesque McWay Falls.

"Pretty bummed, this is definitely the highlight of our trip," said Showecerk. "But it's one of those things where we can't control everything you know."

Neil Jackson and his son came all the way from Germany to drive along the impressive landscape of Hwy 1.

"Very beautiful piece of coast," said Jackson.

Their journey was also cut short.

"It's disappointing of course but you know some idiot starts a campfire," said Jackson. "So I fully understand the need to close it."

But it's not just tourists who could not get through, firefighters were also denied access.

"Our fire crews that were sleeping at Pfeiffer Camp could not make it back this morning to the incident command post here," said Soberanes Public Information Officer Richard Hadley. "So we had to do a radio briefing and a transition that way to get those crews back on the line this morning."

Soberanes fire officials are asking people to be patient.

"It was a really dangerous situation," said Hadley. "Should that tree have come down onto the power lines and across the road it would have been really dangerous for anybody."

Tourists told KION although they're bummed, they understand and will not let the closure ruin their trip.

"We'll have to think on our feet and figure out something else to do," said Showecerk.

PREVIOUS STORY: Tourists hoping to head down to Big Sur on Monday will be forced to turn around. That's because Highway 1 is closed Monday because of a hazardous tree related to the Soberanes Fire, according to Cal Fire.

Traffic is closed in both directions, from Point Sur Lighthouse to North Coast Ridge Road. Cal Fire said the closure could remain in effect until 5:00 p.m. Monday evening.

Officials said the roadway will re-open as soon as the threat to firefighter and public safety has been mitigated.

As of Monday morning, the fire had burned 74,604 acres and was 60 percent contained.

KION's Maya Holmes will have more on this story at 5 & 6.

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