CalFire operations chiefs had good news for southern San Mateo County at their 6 p.m. briefing: The communities of Loma Mar, La Honda and Pescadero are “reasonably safe” from the CZU August Lightning Complex fires.
“On the northern end, we really haven’t seen a lot of forward progress,” said Operations Chief Mark Brunton from the incident center in Scotts Valley. He credited favorable weather conditions throughout Saturday for the progress fighting a 67,000-acre fire that is known to have consumed 115 structures in two counties. More damage is likely to emerge as crews continue their assessment.
“A good day of firefighting today,” he said. “We’re unable to make a lot of production with those control lines, but we are meeting our objectives.”
There are more firefighters on the line now. There are 1,349 firefighters working the CZU August Lightning Complex fires — up about 200 from the morning briefing.
“Not a lot of changes for San Mateo County,” said San Mateo County Sheriff’s Detective Rosemerry Blankswade. One minor change: The roadblock on Highway 1 has shifted from Highway 84 to Tunitas Creek.
Blankswade took the opportunity to plead once more for visitors to avoid the coast for the time being. Fire officials also warned those who have evacuated to stay away.
“Please avoid these coastal towns,” she said. “We truly need to keep these coastal areas clear and the roads open.”
While firefighters were upbeat, they were very concerned about what may be coming. Weather forecasters are saying more dangerous lightning may be on the way as early as Sunday morning. A Red Flag Warning is in place for the entire Bay Area from 5 a .m. Sunday through 5 p.m. on Monday. Forecasters say Sunday night could be the most active period for lightning.
High winds are expected over the fire area.
“With this wind event and the dry lightning that is predicted, it could be a very volatile situation,” said Unit Chief Ian Larkin. He urged those who have not evacuated from areas where orders are in place to do so now. “People who are running around on motorcycles or cars need to get out of there.”