CalFire officials say they continue to make progress on the CZU August Lightning Complex of fires, which is now 19 percent contained. It has burned 80,137 acres and consumed 538 structures. They are now considering lifting evacuation orders in some places.
The vast majority the property damage has been south of the Santa Cruz County line. Officials say 11 structures have burned in San Mateo County. However, more than 24,000 structures remain in danger, according to the state fire agency.
Another Santa Cruz Mountains death has been reported. Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office says a 63-year-old Felton woman was found dead in her home and presume she died of natural causes. They are also actively looking for a local man whose friends haven’t heard from in days.
Fire officials were particularly encouraging about the progress on the north and western edges of the fire in San Mateo County.
“In the past couple of days, we have made significant progress on our firefight,” said incident operations chief Mark Brunton. He said the fire has been extinguished in some western stretches and that fire lines are holding to the north, closest to Pescadero and Loma Mar.
CalFire assistant chief Billy See acknowledged that residents in the evacuation area desperately want to get back to their homes.
“We’ve started to identify areas where we can lift the evacuation orders,” he said. “Please be patient. It’s a process. We’re going to work through it.”
See said repopulating affected areas require safe utilities and water as well as an assessment of local roads. He said some roads will have to be repaired.
"We think in four to five days we can start to return people to some sense of normalcy," See said.
Fire officials say there could be more smoke in the vicinity as they ignite their own controlled burns to keep the fire at bay. They say there could be some increase in the intensity of the fire as drier weather returns this weekend, however, they think they have it under control.