Massive California Wildfire Triggers Evacuations, Closes Highway

A 1,500-acre fire near the coastal community of Big Sur, California has triggered evacuations and the closure of the section of a major highway, state and local officials said on Saturday.

The Colorado Fire, which has been active since Friday, was 5 percent contained, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) said.

About 430,000 people live in the area where the fire is blazing in Monterey County. It was not immediately clear how many people lived in the evacuation area.

The American Red Cross opened a shelter in a local school late on Friday, county officials said.

California has long had an active wildfire season, but in recent years it has grown longer and more punishing.

Last year, the wildfire season started unusually early due to an ongoing drought and low reservoir levels, Cal Fire said. In January 2021 alone, the state battled 297 fires on 1,171 acres, the office said.

The Colorado Fire is the only fire listed on Cal Fire’s incident list so far in 2022.

This year, California is also grappling with the Santa Ana winds. A high wind warning was in effect for the area, with possible gusts of up to 70 miles per hour, according to the National Weather Service.

By Makini Brice