Soberanes fire in Monterey County grows to almost 58,000 acres, spreads south

The Soberanes fire in Monterey County grew to more than 57,500 acres Sunday while firefighters continued to battle several other wildfires around California. 

More than 5,100 firefighters are battling the Soberanes blaze, which was 45% contained as of Sunday morning. Air tankers, helicopters, bulldozers and at least 300 fire engines have been deployed to the fire, about eight miles south of Carmel.

The fire has claimed one life, injured three others and destroyed 57 homes and 14 other structures.

The victim, Robert Reagan III, was a bulldoze operator who suffered fatal injuries while battling the fire some time after he was called in on July 26. 

At least 650 people have been evacuated from their homes along the coast, and evacuation orders for various sections of the Pacific Coast Highway near the blaze are still active. 

Firefighters have also been forced to rescue people tending to illegal marijuana growing operations when the flames surrounded them. 

Steep and rugged terrain have hampered firefighting efforts and smoke plumes have blocked out the sun in certain areas of the fire, preventing the use of helicopters and planes. Gusty, shifting winds grew the blaze’s southwestern portion overnight.

“It’s spreading southeast and southwest,” said Rigo Herrera, Cal Fire public information officer. 

The northern portion of the fire near Carmel has been “burned black” and is mostly inactive, Herrera said. 

The second largest active fire in the state, the Cold Fire, has burned more than 5,385 acres at the southern tip of Lake Berryessa in Northern California, said Cal Fire spokeswoman Christina Barker. No structures or people have been harmed, and the blaze is 50% contained. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

The Goose Fire in Fresno County — the third largest active fire in the state —  had burned 2,241 acres as of Sunday and destroyed 9 buildings. The fire was 94% contained Sunday morning, and about 225 total firefighters were extinguishing hot spots and cutting containment lines. 

Meanwhile, fire crews battling the Sand fire in Santa Clarity County are in cleanup mode, stamping out hot spots, patrolling the fire’s perimeter and repairing roads. The Sand Fire ignited on July 22 and has since burned more than 41,000 acres and caused one death. 

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

frank.shyong@latimes.com

Twitter: @frankshyong

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