bay area air quality

Smoke from Wildfire Near Big Sur Affecting Bay Area Air Quality

Willow Fire has scorched about 2,400 acres in remote area of Los Padres National Forest

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A wildfire that forced the evacuation of a campground and Buddhist retreat center has burned more than 3.2 square miles of dry brush in inaccessible terrain on California's central coast, officials said Sunday.

The Willow Fire also has sent a lot of smoke drifting up to the Bay Area, causing poor air quality throughout the region.

There's zero containment of the blaze in the Los Padres National Forest, about 15 miles southeast of Big Sur, the U.S. Forest Service said.

The fire broke out Thursday evening and burned east toward the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, a Buddhist monastery located in a remote valley. However, no buildings burned.

The center was evacuated along with the nearby Arroyo Seco Campground.

The steep, remote area meant that more than 450 firefighters had to hike in to battle the flames, officials said. They're aided by water-dropping aircraft.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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