Officials Relocate California Condors To Escape Big Sur Fire

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(Sacramento, CA)
Thursday, July 3, 2008
A stubborn wildfire is spreading across the scenic hillsides near Big Sur…leaving the popular tourist region mostly deserted ahead of the holiday weekend. The fire has burned dangerously close to a wildlife refuge where threatened species of birds are raised. Officials fear the fire has destroyed a breeding center outside of Big Sur where endangered California Condors are raised for release in the wild. Near extinction…only 150 of the giant scavengers can still be found in California and Arizona. Sary (sar-ee) Flannagan with the Ventana Wildlife Society says 8 of the animals were airlifted out of the area by helicopter but three condor chicks are still missing in the fire… “We’re just happy that their parents have survived because they can reproduce again next year…” The fire has forced the evacuation of about 850 residents in the Big Sur area…but some business owners refuse to leave. About 36 miles of the Pacific Coast Highway have been closed and 12-hundred homes are threatened along the coast in the Los Padres National Forest.