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Big Sur residents stuck inside Highway 1 closure

BIG SUR, Calif. (KION) The Colorado Fire hasn't grown in size since Sunday, but Highway 1 is still closed to all non-essential travel. That also applies to those who live in the area.

When the fire broke out in Palo Colorado Canyon Friday night, 500 people were told to evacuate.

"There's almost no one there, it's like a ghost town," said Sierra Severson, who was driving out of the evacuation zone with her sister, Sienna.

Some did decide to stay behind. Others, like the Severson sisters, were not actually under the evacuation order, even though they live within the highway closure.

"The evacuation zone is in the lower part of the canyon. So technically, if it got bad, we would have to go through that zone. So it doesn’t really make sense that we weren't evacuated, because it's the only way out. There's only one road in and out," said Sienna.

"Our other sister has been at our house this whole time. She never really thought of leaving because she knew she wouldn't be able to get back in. And from where our house is, you can kind of directly see the ridge that was burning, or is still burning. So it's kind of easy to gauge how dangerous it is," the sisters added.

Both work in Monterey, but if they leave the closure to go to work, they won't be allowed to drive back in.

"Our sister picked us up, she was just on the other side of this line and they let us get in her car and she took us up yesterday," said Sierra. "We had to help out at our house, and then a neighbor needed their goats taken in and that sort of thing. And then we came back today because we have to work."

Cal Fire says there are still hazards on Highway 1 from the fire, including the potential for falling rocks. Emergency service vehicles are also coming in and out to fight the fire and do repair work.

However, essential services were being let through the closure Tuesday with law enforcement escorts.

One family, who has been staying with friends, stopped by to drop off some supplies over the line.

Another man, who never left, said they had been surviving off supplies they had stocked up for emergencies. And in a selfless act, he says a firefighter offered to drop him off something he needed — feed for his chickens.

A couple of days of inconvenience, but everyone we spoke to say they're just thankful their homes could be saved.

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Lisa Principi

Lisa Principi is a reporter at KION News Channel 5/46.


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