Firefighters continued battling a rapidly-expanding blaze on California’s Central Coast Sunday as officials ordered additional evacuation warnings and told wary residents to prepare for a lengthy fight.
The so-called Soberanes Fire, which has left one person dead and dozens of homes burned, had ballooned to 38,000 acres by Sunday morning, up from nearly 30,000 acres on Friday, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or CalFire.
The Monterey County Sheriff’s Office placed parts of two communities — Cachagua and Tassajara — under evacuation warning, adding them to an already long list of additional orders and warnings.
The fire, which began on July 22 and is still only 15 percent contained, is burning in a steep, rugged section of Monterey County, roughly 120 miles south of San Francisco.
More than 5,000 fire personnel are working to extinguish the blaze.
On Saturday night, federal forest officials gathered at a local high school auditorium told residents that the fire could grow more than quadruple in size — and burn for another month — before it is fully contained, according to NBC affiliate KSBW.
KSBW meteorologist Ryan Waldron blamed this, in part, on an unusual weather pattern, the station reported. Where most wildfires tend to quiet down at night, the air mass in the Soberanes Fire remains dry, allowing it "stay active essentially 24 hours a day," Waldron said.
The fire is one of several burning around California as the state enters its fifth year of a historic drought.