TODAY   |  December 18, 2013

Two days later, California wildfire still live

The wildfire burning an area of the state known as Big Sur is quickly becoming a firefighter’s nightmare, burning for two days straight and leaving some people in the area homeless. NBC’s Katy Tur reports.

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>>> morning in the fight against the dangerous wildfire burning in the popular big sur area of california. officials are now saying the weather is cooperating and helping firefighters with containmen containment. katie is there. good morning to you.

>> reporter: good morning, matt. 2013 has been the driest on record here in california. you can see the results of that behind me. these flames have been burning here since sunday. they already destroyed 15 homes on this ridge and they're still threatening 40 more. night 2 and the fire continues to eat away at the ridge line. big sur is a firefighter's nightmare. steep rugged terrain that's uniquely beautiful and uniquely treacherous. also night two without a home. he only had minutes to get out of bed and run before he lost everything, including two cats.

>> we didn't have time to grab anything basically out of the house because it was coming so fast.

>> reporter: one of at least 15 homes turned to ash. his parents home was among them.

>> everything is gone. their house, their workshop, one of their cars. everything.

>> reporter: big sur is about as closely knit as small communities come. when the offshore winds drove the blaze up their mountain, they rallied together feeding the hungry and housing the now homeless. even the town's fire chief wasn't safe. despite her best efforts, martha ca carston's home was first to go.

>> by the time other people got there, it was just too late.

>> reporter: she captured it all on camera, from the fire engulfing her homes to the charred remains. now she is fighting to save her neighbors as her loss is only beginning to sink in.

>> i've lived here for almost 43 years. i don't know what else i would do. i will, at some point, when this is over.

>> reporter: what's fuelling the fire? very dry vegetation, very dry and warm weather and wind. so far it's 20% contained and firefighters hope that if the weather cooperates can they have it fully contained by friday, matt.

>> that would be great news for a lot of people. katie, thank you very much.