FELTON (KPIX) — Evacuations orders grew as the CZU August Lightning Complex Fire exploded with zero containment Thursday.
As of 7:47 p.m., the fire had grown to 48,000 acres and destroyed 50 structures in both Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties.
Felton was among the many communities evacuated on Thursday as the thick smoke enveloped homes and businesses.
RELATED: CZU August Lightning Complex Fire
“The fire’s right up the hill,” said Damien Mason. ”We’re getting out of here.”
Just like many evacuees, Mason grabbed what he could fit in his vehicles before heading to family in the Bay Area.
“I’ve been in the mountains almost all of my life and never had to evacuate,” he said.
Danielle Banks said deciding what to take and leave behind was difficult.
“You know that you need the bare essentials and everything else could be replaced,” Banks said. “It’s overwhelming, you just want to grab one more thing and you can’t.” Susan Thompson and her husband Wayne Thompson packed their car with their animals and belongings before Scotts Valley was officially evacuated Thursday evening.
“We’re thinking about what’s not replaceable, what has meaning,” Susan Thompson said.
Wayne said he has lived in their home for six decades.
“Just like everybody, we’re hoping for the best,” he said.
During a press conference, firefighters said that the weather worked in their favor. However, they expected fire activity to increase overnight.
The CZU August Lightning Complex Fire began when lightning struck both counties Monday night and the fires merged.
Allen Strong, who decided to stay at a friend’s business in Ben Lomond, said he refused to heed evacuation orders.
He said he had been dousing his friend’s bakery and other nearby buildings to save what structures he could.
“I’ll run to the house all the way in the back, there’s a swimming pool there and me and my dog will be in that pool sipping for air,” he said. “This is real, I mean look at it, it’s pretty crazy.”
Cal Fire said the following information about on the blazes known collectively as the CZU Complex was current as of 7 p.m. Thursday.
Injuries: 2 first responders
Acres burned: 48,000
Structures destroyed: 50
Structures still threatened: 20,952
The most current evacuation information for this area can be found at smco.community.zonehaven.com. Residents who would like to receive e-mail updates about this complex of fires can opt in at http://tinyurl.com/czulightning
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