Soberanes fire burning for nearly two months, costing $208M

An expansive wildfire that has burned for nearly two months near Big Sur in Monterey County has cost an estimated $208 million, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

As of this morning, the Soberanes Fire near Big Sur was 71 percent contained and grown to 121,050 acres, Forest Service spokesman John DeYoe said.

The blaze has amounted to an estimated $208.4 million in firefighting expenses and the total is expected to change every morning, DeYoe said.

The fire has killed one person, a privately contracted bulldozer operator, and injured seven other people since it began July 22 with an illegal campfire at Garrapata State Park, fire officials said.

There are 2,020 firefighters working to extinguish the blaze, which is expected to reach full containment by Sept. 30, according to DeYoe.

Crews battled a 200-acre spot fire that broke out at Chews Ridge between Tassarajara and East Carmel Valley roads around 8 p.m. Monday, when wind speeds changed direction and caused embers to fly over the containment line, fire officials said.

Crews using air and ground resources in battling the spot fire that didn't grow overnight, DeYoe said.

The spot fire has led to two new evacuations orders in the area in addition to evacuation warnings for others nearby, he said.

Many other evacuation orders and warnings remain in place for other communities within the fire area, fire officials said.

Crews are concerned that warmer weather conditions forecasted can increase fire danger because of lower fuel moisture and humidity levels, DeYoe said.

Firefighters are continuing to conduct burn operations and are focusing on keeping people safe from the blaze, according to DeYoe.

The public is advised to check local air quality advisories prompted by smoke from the fire and to take any necessary precautions, especially children, elderly people and those with respiratory issues, DeYoe said.