CalFire managers say they are making good progress on the CZU August Lightning Complex fires, aided by relatively calm weather and help from afar and above.
The state fire agency says it has fine-tuned its estimate on the burn area to 78,684 acres. It remains 13 percent contained, which is unchanged from 12 hours earlier. It counts 276 structures destroyed, the majority of which are in Santa Cruz County. In all, 25,000 structures remain threatened.
There are now 1,609 firefighters on the job in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties, up by about 500 from earlier estimates. Significantly, fire managers are now able to drop fire repellent from above as the air clears a bit.
CalFire operations chief Mark Brunton said crews dropped 200,000 gallons of fire suppressant from the air on Monday. “Great day,” he said.
“Today, with the weather we had it really let us get in there and do a lot of good work,” he said.
Fire officials say lines are holding on the southern edge, for now easing worries about flames finding the University of California, Santa Cruz, campus. And they are holding to the north. The fire threatened Pescadero and Loma Mar late last week, but hasn’t advanced much the last 48 hours.
The fire has claimed one life, that of a 73-year-old man who was apparently trying to flee along Last Chance Road, southeast of Año Nuevo State Park. Six people have died in the Bay Area as a result of fires that began with lightning strikes on Aug. 16.
CalFire was concerned about weather overnight on Sunday, and 300 lightning strikes were counted across the state in the period. But they did not spark significant fires and high winds never materialized.
The Review has been providing breaking news alerts from the twice-daily CalFire press conferences in Scotts Valley. We will continue to monitor those press events and will immediately report events if warranted.