Hundreds evacuated, stretch of Pacific Coast Highway closed as wildfire rages near Big Sur

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Hundreds of residents remained evacuated from the California coast Sunday as a wildfire burned up from a canyon near Big Sur, shutting part of the state's historic Pacific Coast Highway in both directions.

A reduction in strong winds allowed firefighters to gain better control of the flames early Sunday, Cecile Juliette, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, told The Associated Press. The blaze, known as the Colorado Fire, has burned through 700 acres and was 35% contained as of Sunday evening , according to CalFire.

Only one structure has been damaged by the fire, CalFire said.

The wildfire started in the Palo Colorado canyon late Friday before wind gusts of up to 50 mph pushed it toward the coast. One structure was damaged as a result of the fire, according to CalFire. A stretch of Highway 1 between Garrapata Creek to Point Sur was closed in both directions.

"The fire behavior was moderate and made wind-driven runs late Saturday night and into Sunday morning, with some isolated tree torching," Cal Fire wrote in a status update on its website. "Crews will continue building and improving containment lines and mopping up hot spots Sunday."

The wildfire started in the Palo Colorado canyon in California late Friday before wind gusts of up to 50 mph pushed it toward the coast. The blaze has burned through 1,050 acres.
The wildfire started in the Palo Colorado canyon in California late Friday before wind gusts of up to 50 mph pushed it toward the coast. The blaze has burned through 1,050 acres.

On Saturday, photos shared on social media showed flames visible from the iconic Bixby Bridge, featured in television shows and movies including HBO's "Big Little Lies."

California has struggled with wildfire threats since November brought fierce Santa Ana winds. Seasonal dry winds produced intense gusts and led to wildfire warnings for more than 17 million people and tens of thousands of power outages across the region.

Last summer, the state battled the Dixie Fire, which started July 13 and went on to become the second-largest single fire in state history, burning 963,309 acres until fully contained in late October. California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection officials concluded this month that the Dixie Fire was started by electrical lines owned by Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

The cause of the Colorado Fire is under investigation.

Contributing: The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Big Sur, California wildfire shuts down Highway 1, forces evacuations