A widespread wildfire in Monterey County has led organizers to cancel the Salinas Valley Half Marathon this weekend over air quality concerns, race officials announced Wednesday.
The half-marathon was set for Saturday morning, but smoke from the extensive fire has led to unhealthy air quality on the race course, officials said.
"It is with regret that we announce this cancellation," said Doug Thurston, executive director of the Big Sur International Marathon, which is the parent organization for the half-marathon.
"However, our first commitment is always to the health and safety of our runners and volunteers," he said.
Anyone registered to the half-marathon can defer their entry to next year's event or attend the Big Sur Half Marathon on Monterey Bay in November, race officials said.
Water, food and other supplies will be given to firefighters working to extinguish the blaze, according to race officials.
The Soberanes Fire has burned through 51,200 acres and was 30 percent contained as of Thursday evening, Cal Fire officials said.
The blaze started on July 22 in Soberanes Creek at Garrapata State Park and was caused by an illegal campfire left abandoned, according to Cal Fire.
Monterey County is under a state of emergency issued on July 26.
The fire killed 35-year-old Robert Oliver Reagan III of Fresno County, a private contractor operating a bulldozer that rolled over sometime between July 26 and 27, according to Cal Fire.
There are 5,552 firefighters working to extinguish the blaze burning through steep, rugged land north of Big Sur that's difficult to access. Full containment is estimated for Aug. 31, Cal Fire officials said.
The blaze has destroyed 57 homes and 11 outbuildings, while three structures and two outbuildings were damaged. The fire has also threatened 2,000 structures, according to Cal Fire.
About 300 residents have been forced out of the area and can receive assistance at an evacuation center at All Saints' Day School at 8060 Carmel Valley Road in Carmel-by-the-Sea, agency officials said.
State park property and National Forest System lands within the fire area have been closed to the public.
As of Thursday morning, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for Monterey County is taking care of 178 pets taken away from the fire, including 65 chickens, 44 cats and 33 dogs, shelter officials said.
The SPCA is also providing emergency services for free and rescuing animals from evacuated areas, according to shelter officials.
Anyone who needs the SPCA's assistance is asked to call (831) 373-2631.
Donations to help people affected by the fire can be made at the Big Sur State Park Multi-Agency Building at 47555 Highway 1 in Bug Sur, over the phone at (831) 667-3173 or by email at Montereyco.recovers.org.