Crews fighting a wildfire along the central coast of California near the iconic Highway 1 made progress Saturday in containing the blaze, but dozens of homes remain under evacuation orders.
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Published: 2022-01-23 02:47 am
Part of California's iconic Highway 1 remains closed as crews make progress on wildfire
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(CNN)Crews fighting a wildfire along the central coast of California near the iconic Highway 1 made progress Saturday in containing the blaze, but dozens of homes remain under evacuation orders.

The Colorado Fire ignited Friday evening in Palo Colorado Canyon in the Big Sur region of Monterey County and swelled to 1,050 acres Saturday, up from 100 acres a day prior, officials said. Firefighters contained 20% of the blaze, Cal Fire said in an update.

"Pictures on social media suggest some pretty surreal fire behavior given the wet (October) and (December) that was observed across the region," The National Weather Service (NWS) in San Francisco said in a Saturday forecast.
Part of Highway 1 in the region was closed in both directions Saturday, the California Department of Transportation said in a tweet. The road, which provides stunning views for those traveling along California's coastline, was closed between Andrew Molera State Park and the Granite Canyon Bridge, the transportation department said.

Evacuation orders were issued Friday for all areas West of 3800 Palo Colorado Road to Highway 1 and south to Bixby Creek. About 75 homes were impacted but many residents chose not to heed the order, Monterey County officials said.

Cal Fire reported the fire had damaged one structure.

Strong winds and extremely low humidity seem to have fanned the flames, the NWS explained.

Although the strongest winds ended early Saturday morning, the area is still expected to see light winds ranging from 5 to 10 mph through the weekend, the NWS said.

"These light south winds will represent a potential change that residents and firefighters should monitor today," NWS warned in the forecast.

On Friday, flames from the Colorado Fire were visible about 70 miles away in Santa Cruz County, Cal Fire said.

The fire comes as drought conditions have been improving in California, thanks to the recent heavy rains across the state. The rainfall helped eliminate the highest level of drought and greatly reduced the level 3 out of 4 "extreme drought" from 80% of the state in mid-December to 1% this week.

But drought remains a likely culprit behind the spread of the Colorado Fire, the NWS said.

"Anecdotally it seems as though the long term drought is acting like a chronic illness where even recent rains and cold winter wx (weather) isn`t helping to keep fires from developing," the NWS said.

CNN's Melissa Alonso, Andy Rose and Haley Brink contributed to this report.

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