Martin Fire almost contained


A composite sketch of the male "person of interest" was released this afternoon, although fire officials could not comment on why they are searching for this individual, Cal Fire spokesman Bill Peters said.

"We're really threadbare on information," Peters said. "That's why we need help trying to get him identified by the public."

Anyone who may recognize the person of interest is asked to call the Cal Fire Arson Hotline at (800) 468-4408. Callers may remain anonymous.

The Martin Fire, reported around 3 p.m. Wednesday near Bonny Doon, was expected to be fully contained Saturday night, but fire officials decided Saturday afternoon that full containment most likely would be declared Monday instead, according to Peters.

The blaze was 90 percent contained at 7 p.m. Saturday, Peters said.

Full containment was delayed because firefighters need to spend more time than initially anticipated removing burned trees from the fire zone before the trees fall down on their own, according to Peters.

"That's what's slowing the process (of full containment)," Peters said of removing the charred trees. "We have to be sure we're not leaving an unsafe area."

Two roads near the fire remained closed today, Martin Road and Quail Drive, according to Peters. Evacuated residents living on those roads are not allowed to return home today and may seek assistance from the American Red Cross, Peters said.

The fire is contained within the perimeter of Empire Grade Road to the east, Smith Grade Road to the south, Pine Flat Road to the west and Ice Cream Grade Road to the north.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

On Thursday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency for Santa Cruz County as a result of the Martin Fire.

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