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Deadly Soberanes fire near Big Sur burns more than 33,000 acres

Deadly Soberanes fire near Big Sur burns more than 33,000 acres
A wildfire burns in the Palo Colorado Canyon in the scenic Big Sur region of California's Central Coast. (David Royal / Monterey County via AP)

A massive wildfire burning north of Big Sur has scorched more than 33,000 acres and destroyed 68 structures, fire officials said.

More than 5,000 firefighters are battling the Soberanes fire, which is now just 15% contained, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. It has burned 33,668 acres and claimed the life of a bulldozer operator.

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The fire, which started a little more than a week ago in Soberanes Creek, is still threatening 2,000 homes. Some 57 homes and 11 outbuildings have been destroyed.

The blaze has prompted the closure of six state parks along the Central Coast through Aug. 6, and all trails and roads in the Monterey District of Los Padres National Forest, Cal Fire said.

About 350 residents have been evacuated in Palo Colorado and the areas of Rocky Creek, Weston Ridge Road, Garrapatos Road and Highway 1 at Old Coast Road south to Old Coast Road at Bixby Creek Road.

Palo Colorado, Robinson Canyon Road and Weston Ridge roads at Highway 1 were closed.

Mandatory evacuation orders for all of Carmel Highlands were lifted Friday afternoon.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Times staff writer Veronica Rocha contributed to this report.

For more local and breaking news follow me on Twitter: @sarahparvini

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