Wildfire near Big Sur prompts evacuations, closes major highway, California


The Colorado Fire near Big Sur in Monterey County, Palo Colorado Canyon, California has so far consumed 283 ha (700 acres) of land as is 35% contained, as of 04:25 UTC on January 24, 2022.

The fire started on January 21 in a steep canyon and quickly spread toward the sea, prompting the Monterey County officials to order evacuations for about 500 residents living areas West of 3 800 Palo Colorado Rd. to Highway 1 and south to Bixby Creek. 

A stretch of two-lane Highway 1 near Big Sur was closed and there is currently no estimated time for reopening. This highway is prone to closures due to fires and mudslides caused by heavy rains.1

The Monterey County Health Department advised residents to boil their tap water due to potential water system infrastructure damage.

At least 1 structure was destroyed.

Colorado Fire, California on January 22, 2022. Credit: CAL FIRE, David Hudson

The fire was driven by strong winds affecting the entire state. NWS Bay Area station near Healdsburg Hills registered a wind gust of 155 km/h (96 mph) on January 22.

Cecile Juliette, a spokesperson for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said it's unusual to have a fire of this size here on the coast at the end of January.

"The fact that it's January and we had a fire of this size so close to the coast is of great concern. This just needs to get everybody's attention that there is no longer a fire season."

"We have fires all-year-round in California."

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1 Colorado Fire Burning Along California's Big Sur Coast Now 35% Contained – NBC Bay Area

2 Colorado Fire Incident – CAL FIRE

Featured image: Colorado Fire, California on January 22, 2022. Credit: CAL FIRE, David Hudson

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