Big Sur fire expected to be contained soon
BIG SUR, Calif. – The nearly 3-month-old wildfire that churned through the scenic coastal mountains north of California's Big Sur is 100 percent contained. Fire officials say full containment was reached Thursday.
The blaze, which burned more than 148 square miles in the Los Padres National Forest and charred 58 square miles of private land, was started by an illegal campfire on July 22. The wildfire has surpassed $200 million in firefighting costs, becoming the costliest to fight in U.S. history, according to a National Interagency Fire Center report last month.
Here are a few key numbers about the massive wildfire:
The number of deaths related to the fire. The operator of a bulldozer was killed in July when the piece of equipment rolled over during the fight against the wildfire. Authorities identified him as Robert Reagan of Fresno County.
Another operator escaped injury when a second bulldozer rolled, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
Twelve injuries were also reported.
How many homes the fire destroyed. Feeding on chaparral, tall grass and timber, it also burned 11 outbuildings, causing millions of dollars in damages.
Early on, the fire was threatening another 2,000 structures. Hundreds were also evacuated as the fire blazed through steep and inaccessible terrain, making fuel-driven runs on its south and east sides.
The number of square miles charred by the blaze. Though the fire has reached containment, smoldering areas will still put up smoke, but are well within the fire perimeter. This will continue until a season-ending rain event occurs.
The number of firefighters who established containment lines in the early days of the fire. That number has dropped but several hundred firefighters are still working the fire and dealing with persistent hot spots that continue to smolder in sparse fuels and rocky terrain.
How many daily visitors to the parks that were closed because of the blaze. The signature state parks of California's grand Big Sur coast were closed to get the public out of the areas for safety and to keep roads clear.
The only recreation sites that remain open are Plaskett Creek and Kirk Creek Campgrounds, Pfeiffer Beach, Sand Dollar Beach and Willow Creek.