More than 2,000 Evacuated in Santa Cruz Mountains

August 15, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
A state of emergency was declared Friday for Santa Cruz County and Saturday Governor Schwarzenegger is set to visit the fire zone there to see the damage first hand.At least 4,000 acres have burned in the Santa Cruz Mountains and more than 2,000 people have been evacuated. In this rugged terrain, firefighters say wind trumps everything. It can turn a smoldering fire into a raging inferno.

We rode with Cal-Fire Captain Tony Aiken, a 30 year veteran, on a single lane dirt road deep into the woods. "I'm kind of looking to see the intensity its burning, I like the way its burning on the ground, and not up into the trees, it is trying to get up into the trees a little bit, not yet but it's getting close."

As the heat of the day approached, the winds increased.

Unpredictable spot fires part of the problem firefighter's face in the heavily wooded backcountry. These are unpredictable fires that can erupt in an instant. Crews douse one small blaze, knowing another one waits just around the bend.

The fire has forced hundreds from their homes, but not Janet Webb. "It's been wearing, we've been up all night, we've only had a few hours of sleep."

For Webb and the other residents in peril they hope firefighters soon will have a handle on this blaze.

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