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Wildfire sparks decline in tourism business in Big Sur

Lodge managers and cafe owners along California's dramatic Big Sur coast were looking at a summer of jittery guests and cancelled bookings after fire officials warned that crews will likely be battling a wildfire raging in steep, forested ridges just to the north for another month.

Big Sur establishments were already reporting as much as a 50 percent drop in business, said Stan Russell, executive director of the chamber of commerce. That's even though the only signs of the blaze were fire trucks and an occasional whiff of smoke along the famously winding and scenic Highway 1.

Normally, this time of year "is when everybody really runs at 100 percent," Russell said...

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