Colorado wildfire burns near California's Highway 1, prompting evacuations, US
A wildfire near California's scenic Highway 1, which winds along the Pacific coastline, prompted evacuation orders in Monterey County on Friday night, 21 January 2022. The Colorado Fire was sparked in Palo Colorado Canyon in the Big Sur region, according to the county's office of emergency services. A California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) unit said it sent four engines to help fight the fire. And there 13 agencies responding to help fight the fire. The Colorado Fire was 25 percent contained as of early Sunday and burning across just over 1 000 acres, Cal Fire said.
This fire can be seen from Santa Cruz County, even though it is about 70 miles away in Monterey County, CalFire said.
The Red Cross is assisting with shelter at Carmel Middle School for those affected by the wildfire, county officials said in a tweet. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals also tweeted that it will provide emergency pet supplies at that shelter.
Monterey County is home to about 430 000 residents.
A portion of Highway 1 was closed in both directions, the Department of Transportation said in a tweet Saturday. The road is closed for about 21 miles, between the entrance to Andrew Molera Park in Big Sur to Rio Road in Carmel.
Evacuation orders are mandatory for "all areas West of 3800 Palo Colorado Rd to Highway 1 and south to Bixby Creek," Monterey County officials said. It's unclear how many residents are impacted by the order. The evacuation order has subsequently been lifted.
The fire had burned around 100 acres when the evacuation order was issued Friday, CNN affiliate KCRA reported. By Saturday morning, it had burned through 1 500 acres in Monterey County and was only five percent contained, according to Cal Fire.
Dry winds were pushing the fire toward the highway, according to the local National Weather Service. "The strongest offshore (northeast) winds have peaked and expected to ease after midnight through sunrise. Humidity should trend higher by 4-6 am. Need to be on the watchout for some light southerly winds early Saturday morning," the NWS said in a tweet.
California has experienced severe drought last year, which made for a devastating wildfire season. Recent heavy rains across the state have eradicated the highest level of drought and greatly reduced the level 3 out of 4 "extreme drought" from 80 percent of the state in mid-December to one percent this week.
Still, NWS says the drought is impacting fires, which it described as "stubbornly active" in a forecast Saturday. "Anecdotally it seems as though the long term drought is acting like a chronic illness where even recent rains and cold winter weather isn`t helping to keep fires from developing," the NWS office in San Francisco said.
Sources: CalFire, CNN, Accuweather