California wildfires trigger evacuations and close the freeway

Jan 22 (Reuters) – A 1,500-acre fire near California’s Big Sur community has prompted evacuations and closed part of a main road, state and local officials said on Saturday.

The Colorado Fire, active since Friday, is 5% under control, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire).

State Highway 1 is 20 miles long and the beautiful north-south route along the Pacific Coast leads from the seaside town of Carmel-by-the-Sea to Andrew Molera State Park.

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About 400 people in Montreal County were evacuated from 1,100 buildings, an American Red Cross spokesman said, citing county reports.

The Red Cross said four people and a pet were staying at a local school.

Wildfire burns at Rocky Point in Monterey County, California in this manual photo taken on the night of January 21-22, 2022. Lead by DEBI LORENC / REUTERS

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California has had a long wildfire season, but in recent years climate change has fueled it somewhat, becoming longer and more punishing.

Last year, the wildfire season started unusually early due to drought and low reservoirs, Cal Fire said. In January 2021 alone, the state fought 297 fires across 1,171 acres, the bureau said.

The only fire to date on Cal Fire’s 2022 incident list is the Colorado fire.

This year, California is also struggling with the Santa Ana wind. According to the National Weather Service, the area is experiencing high winds of 70 mph (112.65 km/h).

But the Red Cross said winds had improved and were mild throughout the weekend.

Report by Magini Price in Washington; Edited by Diane Kraft and Cynthia Asterman

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust-Prinzipien.

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