California wildfire prompts evacuations, highway closure

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A wildfire broke out late Friday in the area of Big Sur, Calif., prompting evacuations and the closure of part of the Pacific Coast Highway, The Associated Press reports.

As of Saturday afternoon, the fire had burned across 1,500 acres and was 5 percent contained, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The Monterey County Sheriff's Office ordered residents in an area between Carmel and Big Sur to evacuate due to the spreading wildfire, according to the AP.

A stretch of Highway 1 was also shut down due to the fire, per the wire service.

A smaller fire also broke out on Geyser Peak due to strong winds in the area, growing to five acres before being extinguished by firefighters.

Power outages occurred in a number of locations after trees and power lines were knocked down by gusts, according to the AP.

Similar winds engulfed the area in January 2021, according to the National Weather Service. A red flag warning for extreme fire danger was issued on Jan. 18 because of the weather.

Strong wind warnings will go into effect in Southern California Saturday, according to the AP.

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