Shifting winds and increased humidity have helped firefighters make progress against a blaze burning in rugged mountains near California’s Big Sur coast, authorities said.
The Colorado Fire was 50% contained on Tuesday, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire.
It erupted Friday evening as strong, dry, offshore winds raked California with damaging gusts. Investigators determined that the fire was caused by the winds blowing hot embers from a pile burning operation into nearby vegetation, causing the blaze, Cal Fire said Tuesday.
The operation, which involved burning a pile of brush or debris, apparently began on a homeowner's property, authorities said.
Whether the residents had a burn permit that is required in the area where the fire began, Cal Fire Battalion Chief Jon Heggie told the San Francisco Chronicle.
Since the fire began, winds have calmed and changed direction.
“The onshore winds have increased humidity along the coast,” a Cal Fire statement said. “Firefighters will continue strengthening control lines and mopping-up hot spots.”
Improved mapping on Sunday reduced the fire’s size to about 700 acres (283 hectares), officials said.
Named for its starting point in Palo Colorado Canyon, the fire triggered evacuation orders for about 500 people in the lightly populated area about 100 miles (160 kilometers) south of San Francisco.