A wildfire that erupted in a scenic stretch of California's central coastline late Sunday night has destroyed at least 15 homes and forced many residents to evacuate, county and fire officials said.
The fire in Big Sur -- the stunning, mountainous region south of the Monterey Peninsula that reaches into the Los Padres National Forest -- grew to 550 acres (223 hectares) by late Monday afternoon.
No injuries have been reported in the blaze, which started near the Big Sur Lodge and was fueled by dry brush and high winds, U.S. Forest Service spokesman Andrew Madsen said.
By late Monday, the fire was mainly burning on Big Sur's Pfeiffer Ridge on the west side of State Route 1, the highway that runs north and south along the Pacific Coast in California. Because of its location, firefighters dubbed it the Pfeiffer fire.
The coast road had not been closed as of late Monday, Madsen said.
Hikers, campers and sightseers visit Big Sur for its sweeping views and lush beaches. It is home to wealthy permanent and part-time residents as well as those living off the grid in "eclectic residences," Carroll said.
Madsen said the fire started near Big Sur Lodge, but the cause of the fire is still under investigation.