The Pfieffer fire burned across dry vegetation as it destroyed at least 15 homes and forced about 100 people to flee flames in the Los Padres National Forest near state Highway 1, officials said. One of the homes destroyed belonged to Big Sur Fire Chief Martha Karstens.
He said ground crews planned to work throughout the night to cut containment lines around the blaze, which broke out Sunday during unseasonably warm weather near Pfeiffer Ridge Road and Highway 1 in Monterey County.
"It looks like a good night to cut some line and fight some fire," Madsen said.
Earlier Monday, fire crews on the ground were aided by water-dropping helicopters as thick clouds of smoke drifted into the sky. Winds were gusting up 20 mph and the temperature was 81, officials said.