California wildfire leads campground, zen center to evacuate

Wildfire Watch

BIG SUR, Calif. (AP) — A wildfire burning near California’s central coast has forced the evacuation of a campground and Buddhist retreat center, authorities said Friday.

The fire began Thursday night in the Los Padres National Forest, about 15 miles southeast of Big Sur, amid hot and dry conditions and spread to at least 200 acres, said U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Lynn Olson.

About 300 firefighters hiked into the steep and rugged wilderness to contain the blaze. They were aided by two water-dropping air tankers, she said.

An evacuation order was issued for the Arroyo Seco Campground, which was full ahead of the Father’s Day weekend, and the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center.

The cause of the fire was under investigation, though Olson said thunder was observed in the area Thursday.

The fire was sending a plume of smoke that was visible miles away.

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