3,400-acre summit fire 25 percent contained

May 23, 2008 9:44:24 PM PDT
A 3,400-acre blaze in the Santa Cruz Mountains has destroyed at least 28 structures, and 17 on those are homes. About 500 homes and 20 businesses are considered threatened. There are 350 homes under mandatory evacuation orders and residents of 1,400 homes are being asked to evacuate voluntarily.

CAL FIRE investigators have pinpointed the fire's origin, to an empty lot at Summit Road and Loma Prieta, where it appears someone had been clearing away brush.

Governor Schwarzenegger has declared a state of emergency for the area. He visited the Santa Cruz Mountains today to assess the damage from a wildfire that chewed through centuries-old redwoods and pushed hundreds out of their homes.

Gov. Schwarzenegger arrived at the CAL FIRE base camp in Gilroy shortly after 11:30 a.m.on Friday for a briefing on the progress of the Summit Fire.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today issued the following statement and proclamation:

"I want to extend my deepest appreciation to the brave firefighters. As I've said many times before, we have the most courageous, talented and best trained firefighters in the world. They are doing a great job fighting the Summit Fire.

Following the briefing Schwarzenegger met with reporters then greet and thank firefighters at the base camp for their efforts.

A favorable weather pattern is helping the firefighters. Winds will pick up Friday afternoon, but it is expected to be a cooling wind out of the west with humidity. The winds died down overnight which helped the crews get more containment.

There are now 1,000 crews on site - about 500 will battle the fire while the other 500 are given a break after fighting the fire overnight. The strike teams are being coordinated in Gilroy. Air tankers and helicopters were rested for the night and will start up later on Friday. Crews are hoping to create a 9-mile perimeter around the fire. Since Thursday morning, the wildfire has scorched close to five square miles. The cost of fighting the fire has reached about $860,000.

CAL FIRE says the fire is at 15 percent containment.

The fire is currently burning in a four-mile stretch in Eureka Canyon, near the town of Corralitos.

It is burning in the mountain range that separates Santa Cruz County from Santa Clara County about 40 miles south of downtown San Jose and about 10 miles west of Gilroy.

The fire began at 5:30 Thursday morning. Some 1,000 acres burned by 9:00 a.m. and by noon the fire had exploded to over 2,200 acres.

The fire was first reported near Summit and Ormsby roads and is in the mountain range that separates Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties.


Load Comments