A raging wildfire approached a tourist town in California Thursday, leaving the popular region mostly deserted.
are working to contain the blaze, which has burned more than 20,000
hectares near the scenic coastal area of Big Sur in central
California. Many hotels and restaurants in the area have been
Authorities ordered an evacuation of the area on Wednesday.
blaze is one of nearly 2,000 wildfires that have erupted across
California since June 20. Most of the fires have been ignited by
No deaths have been reported, but health officials have raised concerns over poor air quality.
week, President Bush declared a state of emergency for California and
ordered federal aid to assist in firefighting efforts.
is often hit by wildfires due to its arid climate and hot, dry winds.
Last year, fires destroyed more than 200,000 hectares and some 2,000
homes in southern California.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.