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Part of California’s iconic Highway 1 remains closed as crews make progress on wildfire

<i>Karl Mondon/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News/Getty Images</i><br/>Firefighters battle the Colorado Fire burning along Highway 1 in Big Sur
MediaNews Group via Getty Images
Karl Mondon/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News/Getty Images
Firefighters battle the Colorado Fire burning along Highway 1 in Big Sur

By Aya Elamroussi, CNN

Crews fighting a wildfire along the central coast of California near the iconic Highway 1 made progress Sunday in containing the blaze, but dozens of homes remained under evacuation orders.

The Colorado Fire ignited Friday evening in Palo Colorado Canyon in the Big Sur region of Monterey County and swelled to 1,050 acres Saturday, up from 100 acres a day prior, officials said.

Firefighters had contained 25% of the blaze as of Sunday evening, Cal Fire said in an update.

“The fire behavior was moderate and made wind-driven runs late Saturday night and into Sunday morning, with some isolated tree torching. Crews will continue building and improving containment lines and mopping up hotspots Sunday,” the update from CAL Fire said.

Part of Highway 1 in the region remained closed in both directions on Sunday, the Monterey County Office of Emergency Services said in post on its Facebook page.

The road, which provides stunning views for those traveling along California’s coastline, was closed between Andrew Molera State Park and the Granite Canyon Bridge, the transportation department said.

Evacuation orders were issued Friday for all areas west of 3800 Palo Colorado Road to Highway 1 and south to Bixby Creek. About 75 homes were impacted but many residents chose not to heed the order, Monterey County officials said.

Cal Fire reported the fire had damaged one structure.

Strong winds and extremely low humidity seem to have fanned the flames, according to the National Weather Service.

On Friday, flames from the Colorado Fire were visible about 70 miles away in Santa Cruz County, Cal Fire said.

The fire comes as drought conditions have been improving in California, thanks to the recent heavy rains across the state. The rainfall helped eliminate the highest level of drought and greatly reduced the level 3 out of 4 “extreme drought” from 80% of the state in mid-December to 1% this week.

But drought remains a likely culprit for the spread of the Colorado Fire, the NWS said.

“Anecdotally it seems as though the long term drought is acting like a chronic illness where even recent rains and cold winter wx (weather) isn’t helping to keep fires from developing,” the National Weather Service said.

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CNN’s Joe Sutton, Melissa Alonso, Andy Rose and Haley Brink contributed to this report.

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