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Little containment reached on three wildfires burning north of SLO County, smoke continues to cover Central Coast

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Posted at 7:15 AM, Aug 20, 2020

There are three fires burning in Monterey County that have lead to evacuation orders, road closures and have caused significant damage.

The largest of the three fires is the River Fire which was started by a lighting strike Sunday afternoon near Toro Peak, approximately five miles south of Salinas.

The River Fire has burned 33,653 acres and is seven percent contained. There are 2,750 structures threatened. Six have been destroyed and two have been damaged. CAL FIRE says four firefighters suffered minor heat related injuries. There are now more than 937 fire personnel battling the fire. Full containment is expected on Aug. 30.

Just south of the River Fire is the Carmel Fire which broke out Tuesday afternoon in Carmel Valley in Monterey County. That fire has burned 4,285 acres and is zero percent contained. Evacuation orders are in place as fire officials say 311 structures are threatened, 3 were destroyed. CAL FIRE says they expect to have the fire contained by Aug. 30. The cause of the Carmel Fire is unknown.

Another fire burning south of both of these fires is the Dolan Fire which broke out near Big Sur. This fire broke out Tuesday night and has burned 2,500 acres with zero percent containment reached.

According to the Los Padres National Forest, the Dolan Fire is "burning in all directions", leading to evacuation orders for the east side of Dolan Canyon. Highway 1 is closed from Ragged Point in SLO County to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park in Monterey County. Caltrans says they do not have an estimated time for when the Highway will reopen.

According to the Monterey County Sheriff's Office, Ivan Geronimo Gomez, 30, of Fresno, was arrested on suspicion of starting the Dolan Fire.
Gomez is facing charges of arson after he was arrested near the fires point of origin in the John Little State Natural Reserve. His bail was set at $2 million.