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The Pfeiffer Fire in Big Sur!

Big Sur, Bixby Creek Bridge

Big Sur is one of my favorite places in California.

It is ALSO on fire.

The Pfeiffer Fire has devoured 769 acres (a little over a square mile) and is now 20% contained. The fire has destroyed 22 structures, 13 of which were homes. The homes included the home of the Big Sur Fire Chief. With luck, the fire may be fully contained by Friday.

The GOOD news is that the weather is changing. According to

“We’re cautiously optimistic that we’re going to get this nailed down by then,” Los Padres National Forest spokesman Andrew Madsen said. “We have temperatures going down as a cold front has come in and cooled things down dramatically.”

Big Sur is remote. Big Sur is steep terrain. Neither of these facts helps fire fighting.

U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Lynn Olson reports that 900 firefighters are coping with VERY steep terrain and poison oak to battle the blaze, which is extremely UNUSUAL for this time of year. The reason for the fire is the EXTREMELY dry condition of California, in general, this fall. continues:

“Usually it’s wetter by this time of year, but we’re in a dry cycle. We’ve had very little rain. We have some other conditions such as sudden oak death in this part of the forest,” Olson said. “The warm winds, the warm weather, the dry conditions just line the pins all up.”

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.

The Monterey County Sheriff’s Department issued an evacuation watch Tuesday afternoon for the area west of Highway 1 between Fernwood Resort and River Inn, but no more mandatory evacuations were ordered. Highway 1 remains open, Olson said.

Big Sur has received only 16% of its usual rain this year. We are all keeping our fingers crossed for more, soon!

-Bill at

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