BOULDER CREEK (CBS SF) — Flames from a series of lightning-caused fires in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties expanded across the region amid high heat and windy conditions, and additional evacuations were underway Wednesday afternoon.
Cal Fire ordered new evacuations in Santa Cruz County for areas west of Highway 9 to Empire Grade, and south of Bear Creek Road to Felton and Ben Lomond. The entire evacuation zone is so large it encompasses all of California’s oldest state park – Big Basin Redwoods.
The group of fires in Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties is called the CZU August Lightning Complex (map). At least 8,500 homes were threatened by the advancing flames which have zero percent containment as of Wednesday afternoon.
- EVACUATIONS AND ROAD CLOSURES (updated 10:00 p.m.)
“Last night saw a major increase in fire activity,” Cal Fire Capt. Jonathan Cox, head of the San Mateo-Santa Cruz division, said at a Wednesday morning briefing. “We saw several of the fires merge together. It’s 10,000 acres and we have been conducting significant evacuations.”
During a 6 p.m. update, Cal Fire officials said smoke from the fires threatening the area of Bonny Doon and Boulder Creek made it nearly impossible to use fixed-wing aircraft to provide support on the fires. Poor visibility is expected to persist over the next couple of days.
Thousands of residents clogged the roadways heading out of Boulder Creek late overnight, forced from their homes by an advancing wildfire, one five large blazes raging out of control in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties.
Cal Fire, Santa Cruz County, Boulder Creek and fire crews from neighboring communities roared through the downtown streets, heading to do battle with the wall of flames.
Related: Bay Area Fires
- LNU Lightning Complex Fires: Firefighters Waging Desperate Battle As Wildfire Blazing Toward Vacaville; Several Homes Burning
- Fire Resources Spread Thin As Napa Wildfire Explodes In Size Forcing Mandatory Evacuations
- Firefighters Battling 700-Acre Fire In Point Reyes National Seashore; Evacuation Warning
- SCU Lightning Complex: Wind-Whipped Flames Straining Fire Lines; Residents Forced To Flee Homes
Cox said 22,000 people have been moved out of their 6,000 mountain homes stretching from Pescadaro to Boulder Creek. Officials said some homes have burned. At least two firefighters have been injured.
“The fire itself is heading in a southeasterly direction,” he said. “It’s headed from San Mateo County line into Santa Cruz County…This is a very serious timber fire burning in two counties. This is a very serious threat to public safety.”
The current large fires are:
San Mateo County
5-14 Fire – 3,000 acres 0% contained, Olmo Truck Trail & Butano Fire Road
5-15 Fire – 3,000 acres 0% contained, N. Butano Truck Trail & Dearborn Park Road
5-18 Fire – 3,000 acres 0% contained, N. Butano Truck Trail & China Grade Road
Santa Cruz County
Warrenella – 120 acres 5% contained, Cement Plant Rd. & Highway 1
Waddell – 500 acres 0% contained, Old Coast Road & Highway 1
*Plus additional smaller fires in the two counties
Evacuation Orders, San Mateo County:
• Communities of Loma Mar and Dearborn Park Area (Zone SMC E018)
• Pescadero Creek County Park Area (Zone SMC E024)
• Butano Community Area (Zone SMC E098)
• Butano State Park Area including Barranca Knolls Community (Zone SMC E019)
• Butano Creek Drainage (Zone SMC E055)
• South Skyline Blvd. Area near Highway 9 (SMC E049)
• Russian Ridge Open Space Reserve Area (Zone SMC E027)
• Middleton Tract Area (Zone SMC E044)
• Portola Redwoods State Park and the Portola Heights Community Area (Zone SMC E048)
• Pescadero Beach Area (Zone SMC E073)
• Pescadero Creek County Park Area (Zone SMC E075)
• Bean Hollow Area (Zone SMC E042)
• Pescadero Area (Zone SMC E043)
• San Gregorio Area (Zone SMC E022)
• La Honda Area (Zone SMC E028)
• Red Barn Area (Zone E010)
• Russian Ridge Open Space Area (Zone SMC E027)
• Skylonda Area (Zone SMC E012)
• Langley Hill Area (Zone SMC E10)
An evacuation center is located at Half Moon Bay High School, 1 Lewis Foster Drive, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019.
Evacuation Orders, Santa Cruz County:
• Areas of Alba Road, Hubbard Gulch and Fanning Grade (ZONE BEN 1)
• Areas west of Highway 9 to Empire Grade, and south of Bear Creek Road to Felton and Ben Lomond.
• Waterman Gap Loop, Upper HWY 236, Boulder Creek Golf Course, Heartwood Hill, Lodge Road, Community of Little Basin, Lower China Grade, Upper China Grade, Community of Kings Hwy, Lower Jamison Creek, Gallion Heights, Fallen Leaf Neighborhood, Foxglove Lane (Zones CRZ10, CRZ13, BOU36, BOU20, BOU30, BOU31, BOU36, BOU37, BOU21)
• Saratoga Toll Road, San Lorenzo Park, Riverside Grove-Community of Teilh Drive, Wildwood Road (BOU38, BOU39, BOU40, BOU41, BOU42, BOU43)
• Everyone on Empire Grade Road, from Felton Empire north, all of Pine Flat Road, all of Ice Cream Grade, Bonny Doon Road, in between Pine Flat Road, Martin Road, and all associated side streets are under an evacuation order. (CRZ1, CRZ2, CRZ3, CRZ4, CRZ5, CRZ10, CRZ11, CRZ12, CRZ13, CRZ14, CRZ15)
• Bonny Doon south of Ice Cream Grade, to include Pine Flat Road South is now under an evacuation order. (CRZ7, CRZ8)
Evacuation Warnings, Santa Cruz County:
• All areas adjacent to the Bonny Doon and San Lorenzo Valley should be prepared to evacuate if necessary. (CRZ7, CRZ8)
• Areas west of Highway 9 to Empire Grade
• South from Bear Creek Road to Felton, this includes Ben Lomond.
Evacuation Centers are located at the Santa Cruz County Fairground, 2601 E. Lake Avenue in Watsonville and Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, 307 Church Street, Santa Cruz.
San Mateo County
• Pescadero Creek Road between Alpine and Cloverdale Rd.
• Cloverdale Road between Pescadero Creek Road and Gazos Creek.
• Alpine Road between Pescadero Creek Road and Skyline
• Whitehouse Canyon Road at Highway 1
• Portola Heights Road at Skyline
Santa Cruz County
• Highway 236 between Highway 9 and Jameison Creek
• Highway 9 between Skyline and Western Avenue