Fire crews quickly extinguished a small spot fire in a densely wooded area near Trenton Drive and Highway 1 late Tuesday, June 16, but the incident underscored high-alert concerns about Cambria’s high fire danger and human causes.
Fire officials remind the public that fireworks of any kind are illegal along the North Coast, even in the beach areas, and that people must be extra careful with any possible source of ignition — from a cigarette or spark from a garden or construction tool to a malfunctioning vehicle — especially with the dry conditions exacerbated by four years of drought and an aging forest packed with dead and dying trees.
Responding firefighters contained the blaze to an area of about 50 by 50 feet, according to Cal Fire press information. Investigators continued checking the area Wednesday for hot spots and clues about what started the fire, but the blaze apparently began in a forested area that includes an encampment of homeless people, according to a Cal Fire representative.
In fact, the encampments around Cambria and San Simeon were a topic of concern and discussion at a Cambria Fire Safe Focus Group meeting Thursday, June 18. Officials and group members wrestled with how to best patrol those areas and who should do it.
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The Cal Fire representative said about 7 a.m. Wednesday that investigators didn’t yet know “if a campfire from early in the day started it, or something from later in the day. But they do believe it was human caused.”
The fire was reported at 9:01 p.m. Tuesday night. Cal Fire and Cambria Fire Department personnel responded. The blaze was said to be under control by 9:24 p.m.