Evacuations in Big Sur, Calif., as Colorado Fire rages

By Jessica Storm, AccuWeather,

A brush fire called the Colorado Fire burned 1,500 acres in California on Friday night and Saturday morning, forcing those in several California cities to evacuate their homes.

The fire began late in the evening on Friday, first reported at about 7:15 to 7:30 a.m. Mandatory evacuations were issued on Palo Colorado Road, and evacuation advisories were in effect along Highway 1 at 10 p.m. Less than an hour later, Highway 1 was closed in both directions near the entrance to Andrew Molera State Park in Big Sur to Rio Road in Carmel. Gusty winds were blowing 25-30 mph across the area at the start of the fire.


The fire was in an area difficult to access for crews and was burning west toward Highway 1, Cal Fire told KCRA 3, and the 13 agencies that were fighting the fire.

The fire continued to burn and spread late Friday night as humidity levels stayed in the teens, but The National Weather Service of the Bay Area noted that the heat signature on satellite was decreasing between 11 and 11:30 p.m. as offshore winds began to ease. It was then reported that winds had calmed to 20-25 mph, but even the slightest wind gusts can loft embers into the air and continue to spread the fire and fan the flames.


The American Red Cross opened a shelter in Carmel Middle School late Friday evening for residents who received mandatory evacuation orders as the fire spread dangerously close to the community.

Several residents of neighboring towns reported seeing the fire from their houses in coastal Southern California.

By Saturday, the fire had burned over 1,500 acres and was 5% as officials went door to door to ensure evacuation orders were followed. The fire was heading to the southwest toward Rocky Creek and Bixby, Calif., which were also being evacuated.

This wildfire is occurring while Santa Ana winds impact Southern California, which are high-speed and dangerous winds that periodically kick up and blow from the mountains to the coast in Southern California and cause wildfires to spread rapidly.

High wind warnings and wind advisories remain in effect from the Sierra Nevada into Southern California into Saturday afternoon, with wind expected to ease by Sunday across the region.

Unfortunately for the residents of Big Sur, no precipitation is in the forecast through early next week as a dry, stagnant pattern takes hold of the western United States. With high pressure taking hold, winds are forecast to be calm through the coming days, which will help firefighters in containing the Colorado Fire.


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