Major wildfire burns in Santa Cruz Co.

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, CA As of 6 p.m. Thursday, the fire was 1.5 miles away form Bonny Doon. The winds have shifted to the southeast, pushing the flames away from most homes.

Over 750 firefighters from all over are now part of the battle, with 2,000 expected by the end of the day. There are 100 strike teams fighting the fire, each with five engines.

"We're throwing everything we've got at it," CAL FIRE spokesperson Julie Hutchinson said. "We've got to get out ahead of this, got to start getting an anchor point, start working that perimeter line around this so we can get some containment."

A northwest wind is pushing the fire towards the town of Bonny Doon. CAL FIRE has ordered mandatory evacuations for all Bonny Doon residents and recommends residents in the Davenport area be prepared to leave. Over 2,000 people have been forced out of their homes today.

About 400 residents in the nearby community of Swanton have also been evacuated.

An evacuation center has been set up at Pacific Elementary School in the town of Davenport. There are no beds set up there, but they are collecting information and providing shelter. Also, the American Red Cross has established a shelter at Vintage Faith Church located at 350 Mission St. in Santa Cruz.

Sheriffs were going door-to-door in the area, but were very concerned they may not reach all of the residents who are off the grid and wouldn't have received the emergency calls. Because the area is so remote, many people rely on their own well water and backup generators.

Some residents are trying to help as best they can. Many began packing up and leaving within minutes if receiving the order to evacuate. One man who had a 30,000 gallon pond on his property posted a sign out on the road letting fire crews know there was a source of water nearby.

CAL FIRE crews are using the nearby Lockheed Martin Space Systems campus as a command center. Swanton Road at Highway 1 has been closed in both directions as well as Bonny Doon Road. There are delays on Highway 17 as crews approach the fire.

The fire started around 7:20 p.m. Wednesday night in the area of Scott Creek Canyon, just west of the Lockheed Martin facility.

There are no reports yet of any homes burned or any injuries.

Firefighters reported the terrain in the fire area to consist of timber and heavy brush with limited access.

The wildfire is at 0 percent containment.

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