CARMEL VALLEY, Calif. (BCN and KTVU) - Cal Fire officials have determined that a campfire is the cause of the Soberanes fire to be that has burned more than 40,000 acres.
The fire has lasted for more than a week and has forced hundreds of people and animals to evacuate, Cal Fire and shelter officials said Monday.
The Soberanes Fire broke out on July 22 and has grown to 40,700 acres, with containment at 25 percent as of this evening.
An evacuation order has been lifted for residents who live on Riley Ranch Road, Corona Road and Carmel Highland, but about 350 people who live off of other roads have been forced out of their homes and many have been issued evacuation warnings.
Cal Fire has also announced that residents of a portion of the Santa Lucia Preserve can return home if they live on Rancho San Carlos Road between Cantera Run and Garzas Trail.
One of the biggest concerns was keeping the fire from Carmel Valley. According to KSBW, Cal Fire held a community meeting and told people the fire is not likely to get as far as Carmel Valley.
As of this afternoon, more than 100 animals evacuated from the fire are receiving care from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for Monterey County.
The displaced animals include 33 cats, 29 dogs and 12 chickens, shelter officials said.
More than 50 other animals have been given free food, supplies and emergency evacuation services, according to shelter officials.
During an adoption event over the weekend, the nonprofit found new homes for 74 animals in an effort to help clear its shelter for more displaced animals from the fire, SPCA officials said.
The blaze started at Soberanes Creek in Garrapata State Park and continues to burn in a steep, mountainous area that has been difficult to access for 5,292 personnel working to extinguish the fire, Cal Fire officials said.
Firefighters have also been challenged by hot and dry weather conditions in addition to a lot of dry grass, agency officials said.
Crews expect to face lower air quality due to an increase in smoke from the fire, more so in Carmel Valley and Carmel River School, Cal Fire officials said.
Heavy smoke is also forecasted along the coast and above the marine layer, agency officials said.
The wildfire killed a bulldozer operator last week identified as 35-year-old Robert Oliver III, a resident of the Fresno County community of Friant.
A state of emergency issued last Tuesday remains in effect for Monterey County.
The blaze has destroyed 57 homes and 11 outbuildings, damaged five structures and threatened 2,000 other buildings, Cal Fire officials said.
Those affected by the fire can receive help at All Saints' Day School at 8060 Carmel Valley Road in Carmel-by-the-Sea.
Closures continue for trails and roads to Los Padres National Forest in the impacted area along with a handful of state parks.
Palo Colorado Road is also closed at state Highway 1, along with Robinson Canyon Road south of Penon Peak Trail and Weston Ridge Road at Highway 1, Cal Fire officials said.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Donations to people affected by the fire can be made at the Big Sur State Park Multi-Agency Building at 47555 Highway 1 in Bug Sur, over the phone at (831) 667-3173 or by email at Montereyco.recovers.org.