The Colorado Fire, which has burned about 700 acres in Big Sur, was caused by hot embers from a “pile burning operation,” Cal Fire said Tuesday evening.
“High winds blew the embers onto nearby vegetation, which ignited the fire,” officials said in a news release.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that fire officials said the burn operation appeared to be on a residential property, and whether the residents had a burn permit is under investigation.
The fire was 45% contained as of Tuesday afternoon and has been burning since Friday evening.
Between 200 and 500 people have been evacuated, and Highway 1 remains closed from from Garrapata Creek to Point Sur. One structure has been destroyed.
Cal Fire has dispatched 476 firefighters, 53 fire engines and 15 crews to fight the fire. Three helicopters, nine water tenders and four dozers are also helping battle the blaze.
Evacuation orders remain in place. Monterey County evacuees can call 211 for assistance to find shelter.