Summit Fire focus shifts to erosion

<div class="meta image-caption"><div class="origin-logo origin-image none"><span>none</span></div><span class="caption-text">The Summit Fire is now contained, but fire concerns are still far from over.</span></div>
May 28, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Conservationists are examining the burned hillsides in the Santa Cruz Mountains, trying to make sure the Summit Fire doesn't trigger more disasters.

Meanwhile, animal rescuers are busy trying to reunite some pets, still separated from their owners. The bulldozers were firefighter's best friends when battling the Summit Fire. Now, the flames are gone, but the marks of the bulldozers and other firefighting tools on the land are still left behind.

When firefighters started battling the fire last Thursday their goal was to get it out. Now that the fire is 100-percent contained they have a new goal - protecting residents from the dangers of landslides and water contamination.

"From the beginning we're cutting line out there, were actually using saws and hand tools to cut trees and bushes and that sort of thing and obviously having an impact on the land," said Capt. Jim Pope, city of Napa fire department.

Land and mudslides are a concern, especially with the Loma Prieta fault line nearby.

"What they'll do is go through and put water bars in and repair fence lines and take care of the landscape, so when the rains return in the fall it will minimize any impact of runoff and mudslides and things like that," said Dave Shew, Cal Fire.

The good news is this fire happened in May instead of the fall. That gives firefighters and workers with the Natural Resources Conservation Services time to protect and clean the hillsides before rain could move some of the contaminants, like the fire retardant, down into the nearby waterways.

"It's possible, especially with the things that were burning outside the forest, the items in the homes and garages and that kind of thing. If that seeps into the well water it could potentially be an issue for them. We encourage homeowners to test their water to make sure that isn't an issue with them," said Pope.

And while firefighters worked on saving the land, many animal control workers helped save 421 animals. Most have been picked up by owners, but a black lab mix has a sad story. He was found by sheriff's deputies Tuesday, sitting on the ashes that used to be his home on Ormsby Cutoff. And while animal control workers are looking for his owner, many in the community have already expressed gratitude for the love their pets received during the fire.

"They are so grateful, and they keep saying thank you, thank you, thank you," said Tricia Geisreiter, Santa Cruz County Animal Services.

Workers at Santa Cruz animal services said they would also like to thank the community. They said they were overwhelmed with donations during the fire.

MAP: Summit fire location

Evacuations and Red Cross Information

  • Main evacuation number for the public: (408) 201-0474
  • If you live in Santa Cruz County and your home was destroyed or damaged - please call 831-454-3137

    The American Red Cross has opened temporary evacuation centers in the Crosetti Building at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds, located at 2601 East Lake Avenue in Watsonville, and at the Los Gatos Community Center located at 208 East Main Street in Los Gatos. The American Red Cross will be providing food, a safe place to rest and counseling until evacuated residents are allowed to return to their homes. Residents should contact CalFire at (831) 335-6717 or (831) 335-6718 for information on whether your home is in an evacuation area. (www.sccredcross.org)

    Cochrane Road Self Storage is offering two months of free storage to anyone in affected areas. For more information contact (408) 782-8883 ( 411 Woodview Ave. in Morgan HIll).

    A Morgan Hill RV company is offering to provide new trailers for families to temporarily stay in for free. Alpine RV said they will have at least three trailers ready this morning for fire victims in need. For more information you can call 1-800-290-9232

    Animal safety

    Residents with animals are encouraged to bring them to Sprig Lake on the eastside of Hecker Pass Highway. Livestock animals can also be brought to the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds. Smaller animals, such as dogs and cats, can be brought to Santa Cruz County Animal Services at 27 Janus Way in Scotts Valley and in Watsonville at 580 Airport Boulevard.

    If you would like to adopt an animal that has been rescued from the fire, contact Santa Cruz Animal Services at (831) 454-7303.

    People needing assistance moving livestock should call (831) 454-7303.

    Summit fire images
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    Friday (5/23) summit fire video

    Thursday (5/22) summit fire video

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