Big Sur Fire Shuts Highway 1

Winds up to 70mph are expected in Southern California, as well
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 22, 2022 2:30 PM CST
Wildfire Shuts PCH at Big Sur
The Colorado Fire burns Saturday behind a house off Highway 1 near Big Sur, Calif.   (AP Photo/Nic Coury)

(Newser) – A wind-driven wildfire broke out late Friday in the rugged mountains above Big Sur, forcing residents to evacuate their homes and authorities to shut down a stretch of Pacific Coast Highway. The fire started in a canyon and was pushed by 35mph winds to the sea, jumping the highway and burning on the west side, the AP reports. It burned at least 2.3 square miles and was 5% contained, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Saturday. The Monterey County Sheriff's office ordered evacuations in a sparsely populated area between Carmel and Big Sur and shut down a stretch of Highway 1.

Evacuees shared dramatic images of burning flames behind iconic Bixby Bridge on social media. The concrete bridge spans the deep and wild canyon along the highway and has been the backdrop of many car commercials, movies, and TV shows, most recently HBO's Big Little Lies. Strong winds were recorded across the San Francisco Bay Area and a swath of the Sierra Nevada overnight, knocking down trees and power lines and causing outages. Many areas were subject to wind advisories. In Sonoma County, firefighters extinguished a 5-acre fire on Geyser Peak, where gusts above 90mph were recorded. Warnings of gusts from 50mph to 70mph were set to go into effect in much of Southern California by midafternoon Saturday. (Read more California wildfires stories.)

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