A California wildfire in Big Sur destroyed 500 acres of land and 15 homes, including the home of Big Sur fire chief, Martha Karstens.
The wildfire burned up land in the Pfeiffer Ridge area of Los Padres National Forest near state Highway 1. California wildfires are rare during the Winter but are not impossible. The Big Sur fire seems to have begun around midnight Monday, due to the dry vegetation in the National Forest area. It has been an unusually dry season in the Big Sur region.
So far, no injuries are being reported, but over 100 people were evacuated from their homes. Wildfires can be devastating, and local fire departments are in a hurry to take care of them. In this case, Chief Karstens was so busy helping take on the California wildfire, she lost her own home in the process.
Los Padres National Forest spokesman Andrew Madsen told the Associated Press, “She left thinking that she was going to go protect other people’s homes, and it turns out that her own home has been consumed.”
The cause of the wildfire has not yet been discovered as firefighters work to contain the blaze. Investigators are working around the clock to discover the source.
“This is a completely wind-driven fire,” Madsen said. “We’re cautiously optimistic that we’re going to pin this thing down within the next couple of days.”
The American Red Cross has set up camps all throughout the area for the displaced residents. Big Sur is a popular tourist destination along the coast of central California. It is home to many five-star resorts and scenic views.
Over 600 firefighters were called in to help in the effort. They are also utilizing air tankers and helicopters. Highway 1 is currently open, but travelers should expect delays as the fight against the California wildfire continues.