Fire in Monterey continues to grow

June 28, 2008 11:44:55 AM PDT
A fire burning in Monterey County near the Los Padres National Forest is continuing to grow slowly today, a Cal Fire spokeswoman said this morning.

The Basin Fire Complex has consumed 26,981 acres and was around 3 percent contained as of 8 a.m.

Evacuation advisories have been issued for residents on both sides of state Highway 1 between Nacimiento-Fergusson Road on the south and the Nepenthe Drive turnout near Posts on the north as well as south of Carmel Valley, warning them to be prepared in the event that the fire turns toward their homes.

"The advisories are a warning to get ready, to get organized, so that if people do have to evacuate they can do it quickly," spokeswoman Tina Rose said.

Southeast winds accompanied by the chance of dry lightning this weekend increase the chance of evacuations.

The Basin Fire Complex was originally two separate wildfires that merged into one blaze.

Lightning is believed to have started the fire, which has cost around $2.4 million to battle since the flames ignited around 1 p.m. on June 21. Steep terrain, heavy fuels, limited access, drought conditions and dry, gusty winds have made fighting the fire difficult.

Sixteen residences and two outbuildings have been damaged or destroyed, and 575 structures remain threatened, Rose said. Today 816 firefighters will be battling the blaze.

Evacuations remain in place in the Partington Ridge Road area, and state Highway 1 remains closed between the Esalen Institute to the south and the Ventana Inn to the north. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park remains closed as well.

The American Red Cross is prepared to open an evacuation center in Carmel should further evacuations become necessary.

The Monterey County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals will operate an emergency animal evacuation shelter for household pets adjacent to any Red Cross evacuation site. For information on evacuating horses and livestock, contact the SPCA at (831) 373-2631 or after hours at (831) 646-5534.


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