MONTEREY (CBS/AP) — Fire officials say a wildfire burning near California’s dramatic Big Sur coast has destroyed at least 57 homes and is threatening 2,000 more.
The fire has been dubbed the Sobranes wildfire.READ MORE: Two Women Die In Horrific Saturday Evening Rohnert Park Crash
The week-old blaze has also scared away tourists who are cancelling bookings after fire officials warned that crews will likely be battling a wildfire raging in steep, forested ridges just to the north for another month.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Saturday that the blaze has grown to 52 square miles (134 square kilometers).
The blaze a few miles north of Big Sur has also killed a bulldozer operator working the fire line.
More than 5,000 firefighters are battling the wildfire that officials expect to linger until the end of August.READ MORE: San Francisco Bay Area Residents Prepare For California's 'COVID Independence Day'
Officials say flames are concentrated in forested ridges above the summer fog line along the coast. Many patches of fire were in areas too steep to be reached.
Big Sur establishments were already reporting as much as a 50 percent drop in business, said Stan Russell, executive director of the chamber of commerce. That’s even though the only signs of the blaze were fire trucks and an occasional whiff of smoke along the famously winding and scenic Highway 1.
Normally, this time of year “is when everybody really runs at 100 percent,” Russell said Friday about tourism in the area. “This is when we make our money.”
“We’re juggling and accommodating staff who have lost housing, and trying to assist them because of the fire, in terms of what their needs are, as well as preparing the property for the fire, if it starts coming our direction,” says business owner Kirk Gafill.MORE NEWS: COVID Recovery: Businesses Hoping End Of COVID-19 Restrictions Will Bring Crowds Back To Ferry Building
On Saturday, Highway 1 remained open, but signs along the narrow route warned travelers that all state parks in the area were closed because of the fire.