A wind-driven wildfire broke out late Friday in the rugged mountains above Big Sur, forcing residents to evacuate from their homes and authorities to shut down a stretch of Pacific Coast Highway.
The fire started in a canyon and was pushed by 35 mph winds to the sea, jumping the highway and burning on the west side. It burned at least 2.3 square miles (6 square kilometers) and was 5% contained, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Saturday.
The Monterey County Sheriff's office ordered evacuations in the Palo Colorado Canyon around 9:30 p.m. and shut down an iconic stretch of the twisting Highway 1.
Evacuees shared on social media dramatic images of burning flames behind iconic Bixby Bridge. 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 the HBO drama "Big Little Lies."
Strong winds were recorded in higher elevations across the San Francisco Bay Area overnight. The National Weather Service said a similar windy event happened nearly a year ago on the night of Jan. 18. A red flag warning of extreme fire danger was issued then due to the strong winds and much drier conditions.
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