Monterey’s Classic Car Week is getting the green light from various agencies fighting the Soberanes Fire.
On Thursday, officials with the Joint Unified Command, which includes Cal Fire, U.S. Forest Service, the California Highway Patrol and Monterey County, said based on current conditions, Car Week’s private events can move forward as planned.
As the fire puts more stress on several already congested local roadways, some people at Thursday night’s community meeting were concerned.
"I think everybody is concerned about the traffic on Carmel Valley Road and on Highway 1 with all the emergency equipment," Carmel Valley resident Richard Rosen said. "The fire's gotta be the top priority."
With Car Week going forward as planned, some are worried about resources and the crowds.
"If we still have as many firefighters that we have right now, it could be difficult, you know, we need to keep the roads open," Monterey County Sheriff Steve Bernal said.
Still, Bernal says it's just too early to make a call.
"We don't want to have anybody cancel anything, and two weeks from now, the fire is at a even better stage, you know, more containment, and look back and wonder why we canceled something when we didn't have to," Bernal said.
Cal Fire doesn't expect Car Week to interfere with their efforts.
"It is into Carmel. The majority of our containment is in the northern portion of the fire, and the fire is burning away from that area," Cal Fire Public Information Officer John Clingingsmith said.
Many residents trust officials to make the right decision.
"Our economy depends so much on this week. We really, really have to think this through carefully,” Carmel Valley resident Paul Ingram said. “There are a lot of concerns about the traffic and for the fire efforts. We really need to let the authority make the decision on that."
The annual car event will be held August 13-20 at various locations around the Monterey Peninsula.
Incident commanders said their top priorities are public safety and the safe movement of fire personnel and vehicles. The county will continue to meet with event organizers to discuss the issues of traffic circulation, hotel availability and emergency services.