SANTA CRUZ (KPIX) – It was a harrowing day for homeowners as the CZU August Lightening Fire raged in the Santa Cruz Mountains, burning at least 10,000 acres and the Coast, destroying homes in its path.
The fire it continues to threaten homes in Pescadero.
Homeowner Rita Mancera was racing from early Wednesday morning and all day trying to help neighbors at an evacuation center set up at Pescadero High School.
“We know several homes have burned down,” said Mancera.
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Volunteers from the local non-profit Puente are leading the way at the evacuation site as officials say at least 70 families have come for assistance as of Wednesday morning. Residents and witnesses believe it’s a lot more in the hundreds.
“That major plume of smoke is where my house is,” said Mark Velligan.
Velligan showed us the last pictures he took as he evacuated his home of 15 years.
“I had the sprinklers going on on the roof of my house this morning when I went back in. But I can’t go back in right now,” said Velligan.
Strong winds in the area have made the firefight difficult.
“With all the fire activity going on in the state we are very limited on resources. We are trying to work as hard as we can,” said Calfire Captain Manny Garcia.
Calfire reported more than 6000 structures were threatened Wednesday morning.
“Last night where we stayed we climbed up the mountain to look at the fire and it looked like a volcano,” said Pescadero resident and evacuee Kristine Scully.
“Our home is in the middle of it all. I can’t think much about it right now because we have another job to do right now but it is in the back of my head a little. I hope our home is there tomorrow,” said Mancera.
“It would be a crushing blow if we lost it all. It’s hard,” said Velligan.
The evacuation center changed locations late Wednesday afternoon from Pescadero High School to Half Moon Bay High School because of the fire conditions in the area.