Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts

Big Sur fire growth small, 5 percent containment
First Published Dec 17 2013 08:43 am • Last Updated Dec 17 2013 01:51 pm

Big Sur, Calif. • A bolstered firefighting force made gains Tuesday against an unusual fall wildfire that has destroyed 15 homes and forced about 100 people to flee the forested mountains of the scenic Big Sur region overlooking the Pacific.

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, U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Lynn Olson said.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

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

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. 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.

The current fire began Sunday near midnight, fueled by dry vegetation and fanned by winds. It was burning a little more than a mile from the Ventana Inn and Spa, a favorite spot among celebrities where former Facebook president and Napster co-founder Sean Parker got married in June.

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.

"I just haven’t absorbed it all yet," she said. "I’m just trying to function as a chief."

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 went to the 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.


story continues below
story continues below

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

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 like the rest of California, 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 is under investigation.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.