UPDATE: Big Sur fire destroys fire chief's home

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

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Firefighters are making gains against an unusual fall wildfire that has destroyed 15 homes and forced about 100 people to flee the forested mountains of California's scenic Big Sur region overlooking the Pacific.

Among 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.

The U.S. Forest Service says the fire in Los Padres National Forest near state Highway 1 grew by only 50 acres overnight to 550 acres, and was 5 percent contained.

Additional firefighters were brought in, bringing the total force to about 400. The fire is also being fought from the air.

The fire began Sunday near midnight, fueled by dry vegetation and fanned by winds.


Previous story:

At least 15 homes have been destroyed and about 100 people have been forced to evacuate as a wildfire burns in the Big Sur area of California, a popular tourist destination along the state's central coast. No injuries were reported.

Los Padres National Forest spokesman Andrew Madsen says the fire broke out early Monday near Pfeiffer Ridge Road and state Highway 1, about 1.4 miles from the Ventana Inn. He says it has burned about 500 acres by late afternoon.

Madsen says the fire destroyed the home of Big Sur Fire Chief Martha Karstens. Officials were hopeful that they could contain it within the next couple of days.

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

The cause of the fire is under investigation.


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