Wildfire in California's Big Sur area leads to evacuations; 1 structure damaged

A wildfire burning in the Big Sur area on Monday forced evacuations as it burned through dry vegetation toward the ocean.

The fire had burned as many as 500 acres after starting around midnight in the Pfeiffer Ridge area of the Los Padres National Forest near Highway 1, officials said.

At least one structure had been damaged and crews were still working to determine how many people were evacuated and how many homes were threatened, state fire spokesman Jonathan Pangburn said

Big Sur is a popular tourist destination along the Central California coast with high-end resorts and beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. No injuries have been reported.

Pangburn said residences were scattered in the path of the fire that was battled overnight by about 130 firefighters. Officials expected to bring in air resources as well.

A wildfire so late in the year is unusual but not surprising this year given that California is in the midst of the driest calendar year on record.

A lightning-sparked wildfire in 2008 forced the evacuation of Big Sur and blackened 250 square miles before it was contained. The blaze burned more than a dozen homes.