Big Sur wildfire destroys 15 homes, spreads across 550 acres | Monterey News – KSBW Home
Growing up in Southern California wildfires were common. In some years they were a monthly event. By the time I was 25 I had witnessed via newscasts and from a top hills miles away numerous fire storms. Nothing prepares anyone for a fire storm and for us wild fires were fire storms only stopped by prayer and luck. They are fast, hot and scary to say the least. When one walks the damage, after, the wreckage tells a story few can hear. Metal heated so hot it broke and twisted into its self trying to escape. memories scattered to the wind, and lives changed by a breath of air in seconds.
Are you ready? Could you leave in seconds? Do you have a plan to escape and more than one way out? Did you plan for your family members and pets? Did you practice?
Over the years it has led me to be prepared. Expect to have to evacuate, expect to only take what you can carry, expect to be heart-broken, expect to not recognize the home you left behind and expect to be grateful that the house is all the fast-moving fire took.
We had been planning a trip to Big Sur for New Years – stopped last year by landslides we thought maybe this was our year. Being highly allergic to smoke; this isn’t my Big Sur year either. May you heal old mountain from this pain.
Firefighters are battling a 550-acre fire in Big Sur that’s scorching rugged mountains between Pfeiffer State Beach and Highway 1.
At least 15 homes were destroyed Monday morning, fire and county officials said. One house that burned to the ground on Pfeiffer Ridge Road belongs to Big Sur Fire Chief Martha Karsten.
“I were there by myself for most of the time. I finally got some people there and everybody tried really hard. It was too much fire too fast, and we couldn’t save the house,” Karsten said.
Other residents who lost homes said they were also overcome by a wall of fire and had to flee.
“Flames jumping from tree to tree, spreading the fire one canyon to the next,” Fabian Perez said.
The wildfire, now officially named the Pfeiffer Fire, was zero percent contained as of 4:40 p.m., the U.S. Forest Service said. Highway 1 remains open.
Firefighters believe the blaze broke out at midnight on a hiking trail called Buzzards Roost Trail. Investigators suspect it could have been caused by an illegal campfire.
Hundreds of firefighters, four air tankers, and four helicopters fought the fast-moving fire in Los Padres National Forest Monday. Large homes perched on steep cliffs were challenging for fire crews to reach before the wildfire reached them.
“Standing here at the base to Pfeiffer Ridge and hearing propane tanks blowing up and seeing the ugly thick dark smoke indicating more properties have been destroyed. It’s the saddest moment imaginable,” Big Sur resident Toby-Rowland Jones said.
Monday morning’s offshore winds blew flames along Pfeiffer Ridge Road and Sycamore Canyon Road toward the ocean, and the fire did not cross from the west side of Highway 1 to the east side.
Mandatory evacuations were ordered for residents living on Pfeiffer Ridge Road and Sycamore Canyon Road. The Red Cross set up an aid center at Big Sur Grange Hall, and some hotels in Big Sur and Monterey are offering free rooms for evacuated residents.
Even though it’s December and California is not in fire season right now, the state is in the midst of the driest year on record. On Monday, it was 81 degrees in Big Sur.
KSBW’s Felix Cortez is reporting live from Big Sur and will have updates tonight.