3,870-acre summit fire 50 percent contained

May 25, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Crews are making major progress against the summit fire but residents are not allowed to return to their homes. Cal Fire expects to have full containment on the fire by Tuesday.

Nearly 3,900 acres and 20 homes have been destroyed. The cost of the fire grew to $6 million. Despite the progress, residents learned they will not be allowed to return home for at least several more days.

The latest estimate is that it will take two to three days before residents are allowed back to their homes and that is barring any drastic change in the weather. The reason for the delay is simple because the fire is still creeping up alongside of the mountain. There are narrow roads clogged with firefighters and officials don't want to bring everybody back and have the fire jump a line and have to evacuate all over again.

The Santa Cruz County Sheriff broke the news as gently as possible and says it will be days before many people are allowed back into their homes for good.

"Eureka Canyon could be a couple days or three days. That's because there still are active plumes of smoke up there and firefighters are still fighting it," says Sheriff Steve Robins.

An overflow crowd filled Corallitos Community Church for a briefing. They didn't all leave with the all clear they were hoping for.

"I wanted to hear 'tonight'. Just basically staying with friends, trying to keep our son occupied and just trying to get by," says fire evacuee Bredette Dyer

The Sheriff has been letting some people to check on their property to get necessities but not to settle back in.

"We're okay, our water lines are melted, about 30 to 40 houses are directly related to those water lines. When they get them up and running they'll have ash and fire retardant in our water. But the firefighters did an amazing job, it was a bubble over our home. Thank god," says fire evacuee Tiffany Wolters.

One fire official says that things are looking good, but the mop up could take weeks and officials said that some areas will probably smolder until the autumn rains.

CAL FIRE says the fire is at 25 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 3,200 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.

MAP: Summit fire location


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