Officials declared a state of emergency in the coastal retreat of Big Sur, California as the flames swept past the mountains and neared hundreds of homes. On Wednesday, 1,500 residents were evacuated.

Firefighters had been battling a fire near Big Sur for 12 days and recently the fires suddenly intensified. Seventeen homes have burned, half of the total destroyed by other wildfires throughout the season. Officials blame the blazes on a lengthy drought which created the conditions for fires to thrive. The mountainous landscape has also deterred firefighters’ efforts.

MainStreet’s previous report on California’s wildfires has helpful advice for homeowners whose homes have burned down. Remember, not all is lost.