Colorado Fire off the coast of Big Sur 100% contained as another wildfire reported along Highway 1
Firefighters fully contained the Colorado Fire off the Palo Colorado Canyon on Wednesday, 12 days after the blaze first sparked from a pile burning operation along the Big Sur coast, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
“There are still engines on patrol,” said Cal Fire spokesperson Cecile Juliette. “The fire is on patrol status which means they just want to make sure there’s no smoke, especially with the high wind they’re experiencing right now.”
Another wildfire was reported Wednesday morning along Highway 1, south of Big Sur near the Plaskett Creek campground in the Los Padres National Forest, according to Cal Fire. The Jade Fire was contained shortly after it started and burned around two to two-and-a-half acres south of Sand Dollar Beach near Jade Cove.
Cal Fire is tentatively planning to stop patrolling the region of the Colorado Fire on Sunday and will have resources monitoring the area until Saturday night, according to Cal Fire Fire Captain Jody Geare, adding that there isn’t active burning on the fire or any hotspots.
The Colorado Fire ignited on Jan. 21 during strong, offshore winds before scorching 687 acres, damaging one yurt and threatening 225 structures. Evacuation orders were in place for 500 people and Highway 1 was temporarily closed from Garrapata Creek to Point Sur.
Swirling winds continued to lash the Bay Area this week, knocking out power for some residents, but the gusts weren’t as strong in the Monterey region, ranging from 20-25 miles per hour in the Monterey Bay on Wednesday and hovering around 35 miles per hour in Big Sur, according to National Weather Service forecaster Sarah McCorkle. Winds are expected to drop off to around 10 to 12 miles per hour in Monterey on Wednesday. The weather service issued a high wind watch from Monday through Thursday morning for the Bay Area and the Santa Cruz mountains.
“We’re on a downward trend for sure” McCorkle said. “It peaked this morning so that’s the good news.”
Atmospheric river storms in October and December kicked off the water year, which began on Oct. 1, on a high note, helping to replenish the statewide Sierra Nevada snowpack to 168% of normal on New Year’s Day compared to historic averages. Big Sur received more than 14 inches of rain in December, compared to the 9.18 inches it usually receives in that time period. But after a bone dry January, in which Big Sur got less than an inch of rain, the weather service warned of the potential for wildfires during the strong winds and told residents they should refrain from any outdoor activity that could spark a blaze.
“When we get strong winds like this, especially out of the north, and with how dry it’s been this past month, it’s always best be careful and stay alert because fires can pop up and be potentially dangerous,” McCorkle said.
The next possibility for precipitation in the Bay Area won’t be until mid-February and the system is looking more like a drizzle than a torrential downpour.
“It’s nothing like an atmospheric river,” McCorkle said. “It would probably just be a run-of-the-mill winter system and would only be less of an inch of rain. It would still be beneficial for sure, but it’s not going to be anything crazy.”