A fire that broke out early Sunday morning has razed one mobile
home and two outbuildings and threatened 160 structures in the
mountains northwest of Gilroy, according to Cal Fire. The fire was
20 percent contained as of 7 a.m.
A fire that broke out early Sunday morning has razed one mobile home and two outbuildings and threatened 160 structures in the mountains northwest of Gilroy, according to Cal Fire. The fire was 20 percent contained as of 7 a.m.
The Loma Fire, which started at 3 a.m. Sunday and the cause of which is unknown, hovered at 600 acres in the Maymens Flat Road area of the Santa Cruz Mountains as of 7 a.m. today, according to Cal Fire. More than 100 fire engines, nine planes and five helicopters, helped the 937 firefighters battle the blaze.
About 150 other homes stand within an area that emergency officials have blocked off to through traffic. This includes 85 homes along Ormsby Cutoff that were issued evacuation notices. Many residents in the threatened structures have opted to stay at home rather than to evacuate, Calfire spokesman Battalion Chief Jim Crawford said. Residents have a right to stay, but it creates further challenges for firefighters because they must concentrate on protecting people as well as the structures, he said.
“We’re always concerned about life safety,” Crawford said.
Mount Madonna School, 491 Summit Road in Watsonville, is being used as an evacuation center.
The area where the fire is burning stands along the border of Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. The fire is about 6 to 10 miles west of Gilroy and Morgan Hill, and was moving southward toward Watsonville this afternoon, Crawford said. However, the fire was not anywhere near Watsonville, he said.
The fire was fueled by 40 mph winds, high temperatures and low humidity, leading to the closure of Maymens Flat Road, Highland Way, Ormsby Cut, Loma Prieta Way, parts of Mount Madonna Road, Spanish Ranch Road and Summit Road at San Jose/Soquel Road, according to Cal Fire.
The fire had been about 5 percent contained as of 3 p.m. Sunday, and Crawford attributed firefighters’ ability to further contain the fire Sunday afternoon with lighter winds and successful work with air tankers. Firefighters had the fire 20 percent contained by 6 p.m. Sunday.
Winds were expected to pick up Sunday evening, so firefighters prepared for a challenging battle, Crawford said. However, the fire remained 20 percent contained as of this morning.
California Highway Patrol, the Office of Emergency Services, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Department and fire departments in Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties are helping with the firefighting efforts. Assistance from the various agencies is vital in battling the blaze, Crawford said.
“We really can’t do it without them,” he said.