Wildfire in Big Sur area of California destroys 15 homes and forces 100 people to evacuate - InfoNews

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Wildfire in Big Sur area of California destroys 15 homes and forces 100 people to evacuate

Lucas Handy of the Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigade cuts trees and brush on Sycamore Canyon only a few miles from the Pfeiffer Ridge on Monday, Dec. 16, 2013, in Big Sur, Calif. The wildfire burning Monday in the Big Sur area of California destroyed at least 15 homes and forced about 100 people to evacuate as it chewed through dry vegetation on its way toward the ocean. (AP Photo/Nic Coury)
December 17, 2013 - 5:59 AM

BIG SUR, Calif. - A wildfire burning Monday in the Big Sur area of California destroyed at least 15 homes and forced about 100 people to evacuate as it chewed through dry vegetation on its way toward the ocean. No injuries were reported.

The fire burned about 500 acres (200 hectares) in the Pfeiffer Ridge area of Los Padres National Forest near state Highway 1, with 0 per cent containment, Los Padres National Forest spokesman Andrew Madsen said.

Officials were hopeful that they could contain the blaze this week.

The Red Cross has set up an overnight shelter for people who have been displaced by the fire, Madsen said.

Big Sur is a popular tourist destination along the Central California coast with high-end resorts and beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean.

Residences were scattered in the path of the fire that was being battled by 625 firefighters. Officials also brought in air tankers and helicopters.

Highway 1 is open but traffic is heavier due to the presence of emergency vehicles, Madsen said. Evacuations of the area remained in effect as of 10:30 p.m. Monday.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

A wildfire so late in the year is unusual but not surprising given that California is in the midst of the driest calendar year on record.

A lightning-sparked wildfire in 2008 forced the evacuation of Big Sur and blackened 250 square miles (650 sq. kilometres) before it was contained. That blaze burned more than a dozen homes.

News from © The Associated Press, 2013
The Associated Press

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