A winter wildfire has forced evacuations and road closures in the Big Sur area of Monterey County, Saturday.
Monterey County officials ordered the evacuations late Friday after the wildfire started in the Palo Colorado canyon.
Authorities issued evacuation orders for about 500 residents and shut a stretch of Highway 1, including Bixby Bridge, the tall concrete bridge that has been featured in car commercials, movies and TV shows. Strong winds were recorded across the San Francisco Bay Area, knocking down trees and power lines and causing outages to at least 18,000 Pacific Gas & Electric customers.
Officials have shut down Highway 1 in both directions from Andrew Molera State Park in Big Sur to the Granite Canyon Bridge in Carmel.
The American Red Cross set up a shelter at a middle school.
In a Twitter post Saturday morning, the National Weather Service's (NWS) Bay Area office said the fire "remained stubbornly active overnight." The NWS adds that pictures from social media suggest "surreal fire behavior given the wet October and December."
A wind advisory had been issued in the Bay Area for Friday night through Saturday morning, though meteorologists said strong winds were most likely in higher elevations.
The fire ignited during the peak of offshore winds and low humidity, according to the NWS.
Officials expect wildfire smoke to be observed mostly in the Monterey Peninsula and Salinas areas Saturday.
For current state highway/route information visit roads.dot.ca.gov.
- Highway 1 is closed in both directions from Andrew Molera State Park in Big Sur to the Granite Canyon Bridge in Carmel.
Accounts to follow
All areas west of 3800 Palo Colorado Road to Highway 1 and south to Bixby Creek are under a mandatory evacuation order.
Residents in Monterey County can text "MCWILDFIRE" to 888777 for fire information from the Monterey County Office of Emergency Services.
The Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau has created a Google Sheet with special and discounted hotel rates for those displaced by the fire.
If you live in a wildfire-prone zone, Cal Fire suggests creating a defensible space around your home. Defensible space is an area around a building in which vegetation and other debris are completely cleared. At least 100 feet is recommended.
The Department of Homeland Security suggests assembling an emergency kit that has important documents, N95 respirator masks, supplies to grab with you if you’re forced to leave at a moment’s notice. The agency also suggests signing up for local warning system notifications and know your community’s evacuation plans best to prepare yourself and your family in cases of wildfires.
Some counties use Nixle alerts to update residents on severe weather, wildfires, and other news. To sign up, visit www.nixle.com or text your zip code to 888777 to start receiving alerts.
PG&E customers can also subscribe to alerts via text, email, or phone call. If you're a PG&E customer, visit the Profile & Alerts section of your account to register.
Watch More from ABC10: California's growing wildfire crisis | Scorched Earth