UPDATE 9/14/2016 6:30PM:

After holding steady at 60 percent for weeks, on Wednesday, Soberanes Fire officials announced a small slip – the 107,375 acre fire is now 52 percent contained.

"There's fire that's growing in some of those uncontrolled remote areas of the fire and that's why the containment percentage is going down,” fire official Elayn Briggs said. “But as we get more containment, of course, the percentage will go back up and we're expecting that to happen very soon."

That’s because more crews are being brought in to help in burnout operations on the east side of the fire.

"They're going to start it at Chews Ridge, they're going to move in a northwesterly fashion, it'll probably take a couple of days as weather conditions are favorable," Briggs said.

This, as a California Interagency Incident Management Team said it has cost nearly $196 million to fight the fire. A public information officer told KION it was the costliest in history, with every day costs ranging from $2 million to $8 million. Most of the expense comes from air operations, then camp support.

"In this fire, a lot of it has been from the air,” Briggs said. “It's very remote, it's very steep, and it’s inaccessible to the ground forces, your hot spots, and your crews. Now we do have crews on the ground, on these lines, doing the burning, but for the most part, this fire has been an air show."

At least 16 aircraft are being used to battle the fire, ranging from Type 2 and Type 3 helicopters to heavy duty air tankers.

On Wednesday, KION also reached out to Linda Galijan, the director of the Tassajara Zen Center. The area has been under an evacuation order since the weekend. Twenty-nine wildfire-trained staff members are staying behind, prepared to fight the fire if it gets any closer. Right now, it’s still about 2 miles away.

Galijan said she’s confident they’ve taken enough precautions to save the oldest Buddhist monastery in the West. They’ve had weeks to clear defensible space and have a sprinkler system installed on the roof.

"Hose lays throughout all of Tassajara so pretty much all you have to do is pick up the hose, open the nozzle and pretty much the water comes out. We're testing and retesting our pumps every day," Galijan said.

She also said she is continuing to work with fire managers, to stay on the same page.


Containment for the Soberanes Fire dropped from 60 percent to 52 percent on Wednesday, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

Crews said the fire spread a little bit since Tuesday and some new sections burned in remote areas. The fire is now 107,375 acres.

Firefighters are also explaining where a big chunk of the cost to fight the fire is being spent.

KION's Mariana Hicks will have more, as she heads to a helibase.