Colorado fire
The Colorado fire burns in Rocky Point, Monterey County. REUTERS

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

The Colorado Fire, which has been active since Friday, was 5% contained, according to Cal Fire. The blaze broke out in Palo Colorado Canyon, south of Carmel.

About 430,000 people live in surrounding Monterey County, but the fire is currently far from populated areas.

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

Firefighters are grappling with 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.

California has long had an active wildfire season, but in recent years, amid climate change, 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.

Reuters contributed to this article.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.