Soberanes Fire impacts businesses in Monterey County

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ByChris Nguyen KGO logo
Friday, July 29, 2016
Soberanes Fire impacts businesses in Monterey County
The Soberanes Fire burning in Monterey County is threatening at least 2,000 homes, has charred 27, 326 acres and is 10 percent contained.

BIG SUR, Calif. (KGO) -- The Soberanes Fire burning in Monterey County is threatening at least 2,000 homes, has charred 27, 326 acres and is 10 percent contained.

The fire has destroyed 44 buildings, many of them houses. Many have canceled plans to visit Big Sur during a normally, busy tourist season.

RELATED: Bulldozer operator killed near Soberanes Fire in Monterey County

Local business owners are being impacted as the Soberanes Fire continues to burn.

Multiple state parks in the area will stay closed until further notice, but Highway 1 remains open and that's good news for those who need to travel along the central coast.

WATCH VIDEO: Eight Hikers lost near Soberanes Fire rescued

Along a majestic stretch of Highway 1, tourists take a moment to capture the Pacific Ocean in all its glory. "We've been, you know, all around the world, and I think the one thing you take for granted is the California coast," Mountain View resident Robert Kasof said.

But miles to the south in Big Sur, tourism has taken a hit because of the Soberanes Fire. "A week in July, is the equivalent of a couple weeks in January or February," Nepanthe General Manager Kirk Gafill said.

WATCH LIVE: Doctors report uptick in patients due to Soberanes Fire haze

Although reservations at Nepanthe are down by about one-third from what they'd normally be, the fire has become even more personal for restaurant manager Gafill. "We're juggling and accommodating staff who have lost housing, and trying to assist them because of the fire, in terms of what their needs are, as well as preparing the property in preparation, for the fire, if it starts coming our direction," he said.

Big Sur is one of California's most popular destinations. Three-million people visit every year, mostly during the summer.

WATCH LIVE: Bay Area firefighters help battle 15,000-acre Soberanes Fire

Motel manager Rick Aldinger hopes the fire doesn't deter potential guests from enjoying everything else that Big Sur has to offer. "We get a lot of day business here, too. A lot of people just traveling through Big Sur, and that has certainly decreased, we see that it in the restaurant and in the general store market sales," Aldinger said.

And as the fire rages on, many can't help but feel for this community. "Your heart just goes out for the people that have their homes here, you just hope they're safe, that any of their animals are safe," Kasof said.

Family members confirmed a bulldozer operator killed fighting a large wildfire in Monterey County is Robert Reagan. Reagan was a graduate of Yosemite High School in Oakhurst. He leaves behind a wife and two children.

A GoFundMe account has been set up by Robert's family to aid his them as they grieve and memorialize his life.

Click here for full coverage on the Soberanes Fire.