The Cambrian

Smoke from Big Sur fire reaches Cambria

Smoke from a raging wildfire extending from south of Carmel Highlands to the hills north and east of Big Sur has blown down over San Luis Obispo County, especially along the North Coast and into the North County, according to the county Air Pollution Control District (APCD).

The Soberanes Fire began Friday, Aug. 22, and since Saturday, some Cambrians have been commenting in person and online about on the smell and sight of smoke.

On Tuesday, July 26, County Air Pollution Control District’s website at showed that measurements of fine particulate concentrations throughout the county were in the moderate range, which is higher than usual.

The coordinated attack by Cal Fire, U.S. Forest Service and other fire crews had produced 10 percent containment of the fire by 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, at which point 19,311 acres had burned, 20 homes had been destroyed and 1,650 homes were threatened.

Evacuations of various neighborhoods and areas were in place at press deadline, as were closures of State Parks Big Sur destinations from Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park north to Point Lobos State Natural Reserve.

Some U.S. Forest Service areas and trails also are closed. There were some intermittent closures of certain stretches of Highway 1, according to social-media postings by some who live in the area.

California State Parks has closed its Big Sur destinations from Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park north to Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. Those locations and all state parks in between remain closed until further notice.

Highway 1 traffic in some areas has been clogged with emergency vehicles and travelers during the final week of July, which for some parents is the last week of their students’ summer vacation.

Caltrans suspended Tuesday afternoon all scheduled Highway 1 construction work between Ragged Point and Carmel until the fire is under control. However, emergency roadwork to deal with the fire or fire-related activities will continue, according to a Caltrans media release. The agency said coastal businesses remain open, but motorists should expect delays and drive with caution.

The proximity of the fire has brought home to many North Coast residents the local fire risk, especially for those living within the Monterey pine forest. Fire danger already had been a topic of frequent discussion at various recent agency meetings.