Wildfire in California’s Big Sur 79% Contained

December 20, 2013
Fire

Rain and higher humidity on Thursday helped firefighters battling a wildfire in California’s Big Sur region that has destroyed an estimated 22 homes.

The fire in the Los Padres National Forest was 79 percent contained, up 5 percent from the previous day, after having burned about 1.4 square miles, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

The hundred or so people who were evacuated should be allowed back in their homes on Friday, the U.S. Forest Service said.

Officials estimated that 22 homes were destroyed, but said crews were planning to head into the fire zone on Thursday to get an exact count. Flames were no longer visible from Highway 1 in the morning, as it continued to drizzle in the area.

The blaze began Sunday and was fueled by dry vegetation and winds. The cause is under investigation.

Two firefighters suffered minor injuries. One hit his knee on a rock in the rough terrain and another suffered from heat exhaustion, officials said.

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 ocean.

A wildfire so late in the season there is unusual, but conditions have been particularly dry this year. The area received less than 20 percent of its average rainfall in 2013, officials said.

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