Another long day comes to an end, and the two fires North of Paso Robles, among others, are still burning and threatening homes and lives throughout California.
Tonight, Friday, Aug. 21, in a press conference held by CAL Fire, the following updates were given.
Mike Wink, Operations Section Chief
River Fire Update: 42,583 acres burned, 12% contained, 731 personnel on scene
Firefighters have multiple plans in place to mitigate the fire lines. Some fire lines did increase, but they have control lines that have been improved, and dozer lines have been added to help strengthen the control lines.
A lot of good work with the River Fire today.
Carmel Fire Update: 5069 acres burned 5% contained, 967 personnel on the scene
For the most part, the fire has been held in its footprint with some minimal spread to the north, but crews are actively engaged with 24 hours of operation, putting a line right on the edge and a secondary line and a contingency line.
The two fires are currently 1.8 miles apart, but there is a chance that they will grow and could come together in short order.
Don Watt, Fire Behavior Analyst
Expecting to see a change in the weather over the next few days and looking to see the wind direction shift from the south. It should be a little bit lighter in the gust, so that will give them a better chance to increase control lines, however, watching for the potential of some dry lighting coming in still looking at light precipitation. It will be coming in over the next couple of days.
Hoping with the wind shift, the air will become clearer so that aircraft come in sooner in the day and fly longer.
They will keep monitoring the weather, and as it changes, they will change with it and keep improving their lines.
Richard Steadman, Monterey Bay Air Resources District Air Pollution Control Officer
Steadman reported that this is the worst air quality they have experienced since the agency formed in early 1970.
Currently, several of the counties within their three-county jurisdiction are registering at hazardous at times.
The real-time map and air quality index are all explained on their website mbard.org/.
It recommended staying inside due to the poor quality of air. Use common sense if you smell smoke, and you cannot see across the street that means the air is hazardous.
Steve Bernal, Monterey County Sheriff
Additional evacuation warnings have been issued. It is recommended that residents leave and travel south down Highway 101.
All evacuations and emergency shelters are listed by going to https://www.co.monterey.ca.us/government/departments-a-h/administrative-office/office-of-emergency-services/response/2020-fires
It is recommended that if you are in the Carmel fire zone, to leave if you are able tonight, do not wait.
Sheriff Bernal stated it is very important that people DO NOT USE social media to report emergencies. All emergencies need to go through emergency services, 911.
Please avoid the area to keep the roads clear for emergency personnel and residents.
Nick Truax, Incident Commander
Truax reported that over 20 thousand people were affected by evacuation orders or warnings between the two fires.
The new orders are in place due to the weather warnings, winds, thunderstorms, and dry lighting on Sunday, so that is why they are giving early notice.
Injuries due to the fire, one civilian burned in one of the evacuation order areas, the person only had minor injuries and then today no injuries, but in one of the order areas, a civilian stayed with their home, so a firefighter stayed and the fire went around them and the house, so they both, fortunately, are okay.
It is essential to take all warnings and evacuation orders seriously.
Alerts are available by visiting: https://member.everbridge.net/453003085611217/login
CAL Fire Updates: https://www.fire.ca.gov/incidents/2020/8/16/river-fire/
Details on all the current fires that are active in California at this time: