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UPDATE: Crews Make Progress in Big Sur Firefight; Containment at 35 Percent

CARMEL (CBS SF) -- Hundreds of residents awoke Sunday morning with the hopes of returning to their homes soon as firefighters were gaining control of a rare January wildfire that has burned in the coastal mountains near Big Sur.

Cal Fire reported at 7:38 p.m. Sunday the Colorado Fire, off Palo Colorado, south of Carmel-by-the-Sea, is 35 percent contained with about 700 acres still burning.

Officials say better map management shows the fire is smaller than the 1,050 acres reported Sunday morning, when the blaze was reportedly 25 percent contained.

Fire Burns Near Bixby Bridge on Big Sur Coast Jan. 22, 2022
Colorado Fire on the Big Sur Coast. (CBS)

Cal Fire described the fire behavior as "moderate and made wind-driven runs late Saturday night and into Sunday morning. With some isolated tree torching."

The fire started at 5:19 p.m. Friday in the Palo Colorado Canyon area of the county, was initially reported to have burned 1,500 acres.

One structure has been damaged, so far. An emergency shelter opened late Friday evening at the Carmel Middle School, 4380 Carmel Valley Rd., Carmel-by-the-Sea but only two people needed assistance, according to the Monterey County Office of Emergency Services.

As of 7:50 p.m. Sunday, Highway 1 in both directions was still closed, from Molera Park Entrance to Granite Canyon Bridge. There's no estimated time of reopening, Caltrans said.

Caltrans is patrolling the highway for rockfall and will be inspecting drainage facilities. Road status information is available at

The unusual January wildfire was fanned by strong winds in the region, pushing flames from rugged terrain to the Pacific Ocean. The winds have since died down.

The Monterey County Sheriff's Office on Friday issued a mandatory evacuation order for all areas West of 3800 Palo Colorado Rd. to Highway 1 and South to Bixby Creek. About 75 homes were given evacuation orders but many decided not to leave.

The cause of the fire has not been determined.

© Copyright 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. Bay City News contributed to this report


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