Local

Pfeiffer Fire Near Big Sur 20 Percent Contained

View Comments
The Pfeiffer Ridge fire burns a home near Big Sur. (CBS)

The Pfeiffer Ridge fire burns a home near Big Sur. (CBS)

Get Breaking News First

Receive News, Politics, and Entertainment Headlines Each Morning.
Sign Up
Trending Now

mobile home park Pfeiffer Fire Near Big Sur 20 Percent Containedhttp://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2014/09/27/growing-list-of-norcal-communities-counties-running-out-of-water-in-just-60-days/

mustache thief Pfeiffer Fire Near Big Sur 20 Percent ContainedAlleged Shoplifter Nicknamed ‘El Mustachio The Magician’ Arrested At Santa Cruz Costco

jung Pfeiffer Fire Near Big Sur 20 Percent ContainedNotorious Ex-Cocaine Kingpin George Jung Out of Prison, Living In San Francisco

hail fall napa Pfeiffer Fire Near Big Sur 20 Percent ContainedWild Weather: Lightning, Hail Strike Napa, Heavy Rain In North Bay

uber Pfeiffer Fire Near Big Sur 20 Percent ContainedSan Francisco Uber Driver Charged With Attacking Passenger With Hammer

BIG SUR (CBS/AP) – An unusual late fall wildfire fueled by drought conditions destroyed more than a dozen homes and forced about 100 people to flee the forested mountains of the scenic Big Sur region overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

The slow-moving fire in Los Padres National Forest near state Highway 1 had consumed 769 acres, or a little over a square mile, by Tuesday night and was 20 percent contained.

It has destroyed 22 buildings, Los Padres National Forest spokesman Lynn Olson said. About 14 of those structures were homes, she said.

No injuries have been reported.

Between 550 and 650 firefighters have deployed to the area, and thus far, weather has been working in their favor, Olson said. But Wednesday would be another matter, depending on which way the wind blows.

“There’s a little weather front coming in,” she said. “It could possibly help us. It could possibly hurt us.”

Big Sur—miles of rugged coast, cliffs and wilderness—is a popular tourist destination about 150 miles south of San Francisco with high-end resorts and beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean.

The fire was burning a little more than a mile from Ventana Inn and Spa, a favorite spot among celebrities where former Facebook president and Napster co-founder Sean Parker got married in June.

In the summer of 2008, a lightning-sparked wildfire forced the evacuation of Big Sur and blackened 250 square miles before it was contained. That blaze burned more than a dozen homes.

California’s fire season traditionally peaks by mid-fall, but the drought of the last several years has given the state essentially year-round danger.

The Big Sur fire began Sunday, fueled by dry vegetation and fanned by winds.

Among the homes destroyed was that of Big Sur Fire Chief Martha Karstens. She tearfully told reporters Monday night that the loss of her home of 23 years had not yet sunk in.

“I’m just trying to function as a chief,” she said.

Other residents anxiously tried to get information about their homes.

Jim Walters, who was up the coast in Carmel when the blaze started, told the Monterey Herald he had gone to entrance to his street, local restaurants and the fire command station but had no luck learning anything about his home.

“I don’t know where else to go,” he said.

The Red Cross set up an overnight shelter for displaced people, said Los Padres National Forest spokesman Andrew Madsen.

The Monterey County Sheriff’s Department issued an evacuation watch Tuesday afternoon for the area west of Highway 1 between Fernwood Resort and River Inn, but no more mandatory evacuations were ordered. Highway 1 remains open, Olson said.

A wildfire so late in the year is unusual in Northern California, where the fire season is generally at its peak over the summer, said Larry Smith, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Monterey.

Smith said the Big Sur area has averaged nearly 45 inches of rain yearly between 1981 and 2010. But the area has received about 7 inches of rain this year, about 16 percent of its normal amount.

“That’s very, very dry,” Smith said.

Still, officials said they were hopeful they could contain the blaze this week as temperatures were expected to be in the 50s on Wednesday and Thursday.

“We’re cautiously optimistic that we’re going to pin this thing down within the next couple of days,” Madsen said.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

View Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 55,692 other followers