Firefighters on Sunday battled a wildfire that broke out in the rugged mountains along Big Sur, forcing hundreds of residents on a questionable stretch of coast in the U.S. state of California to evacuate and authorities to close its highway.
The fire broke out in the Palo Colorado Canyon in Big Sur on Friday night and quickly spread to the sea, fueled by strong winds up to 80 km / h (50 mph).
The fire burned at least 6 square kilometers (2.3 square miles) of brush and redwood trees, said Cecile Juliette, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
“The fire was in line with the wind and the terrain and it gave the fire a lot of energy to make a big run,” she said Saturday.
Authorities contacted about 500 residents and asked them to evacuate the sparsely populated area between Carmel and Big Sur. More than 250 firefighters from various agencies and volunteer groups, assisted by planes dropping water, brought about 20 percent of the fire under control by Saturday night.
“The winds went down and it worked in our favor,” she said.