Crews work to contain large forest fire south of Big Sur

California

BIG SUR, Calif. (AP) — California’s weather began cooling Monday after a lengthy heat wave but firefighters still faced the difficult task of trying to contain a large forest fire in rugged coastal mountains south of Big Sur.

The Willow Fire covered 3.7 square miles of Los Padres National Forest as of late Sunday night, the U.S. Forest Service said. More than 450 firefighters were on the lines, aided by planes and helicopters.

The fire broke out Thursday evening in the Ventana Wilderness and burned near the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, a Buddhist monastery located in a remote valley. The center was evacuated along with the nearby Arroyo Seco Campground.

It’s the largest of several wildfires that erupted during days of dangerously high heat up and down the state.

The moderating conditions were being produced by an area of low pressure off the coast, the National Weather Service said.

While coastal cities cooled down under widespread clouds, the interior was expected to be “not as hot,” the service said.

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