SCOTTS VALLEY (CBS SF) — As firefighters continued to battle an 86,509-acre wildfire burning in the timber-rich forests of the Santa Cruz Mountains Saturday, a symbol of the devastating toll the blaze has taken on the native wildlife has emerged from the smoke and flames.
On Friday, a California Highway Patrol officer discovered a badly burned bobcat sitting in the middle of the road near Empire Grade and Alba. The cat’s fur was singed, the pads on its feet badly burned. Visible signs of its frantic attempt to flee the flames.
“It’s in bad shape. Singed coat, severely dehydrated and thin,” said Rebecca Dmytryk, President and CEO of Wildlife Emergency Services in an email.
The injured animal was taken to a local veterinarian for evaluation and supportive care including fluid and pain medication.
By Friday evening, Cal Fire said the blaze had to grown to 86,509 acres and containment was at 86 percent. The blaze has destroyed 925 homes and damaged 90 others — mostly in Santa Cruz County.
The fire was also proven to be deadly — the body of 73-year-old Tad Jones was found days after the blaze erupted in the Last Chance area near Davenport.
“Winds are expected to remain light,” Cal Fire officials said in a Friday night release. “A thick layer of smoke will maintain cooler than normal temperatures, particularly inland, through at least Saturday. Crews continue to mop up and control hot spots throughout the fire area in an effort to support repopulation efforts. Hazards, like compromised trees still exist in the area.”
Thousands of residents who were forced from their homes have been allowed to return. As of Friday night only a handful of evacuation orders remained in effect.
EVACUATION ORDERS FOR SAN MATEO COUNTY:
- Butano Community area (Zone: SMC-98B)
- Butano State Park including Barranca Knolls Community (Zone: SMC-19)
- Western areas of San Mateo County (SMC-38C)
EVACUATION ORDERS FOR SANTA CRUZ COUNTY:
- Upper HWY 236 past Waterman Gap Loop, Heartwood Hill, Lodge Road,
Community of Little Basin, Lower China Grade, Upper China Grade, Gallion
Heights, Fallen Leaf Neighborhood, Foxglove Lane (Zones: CRZ-10B, BOU-36,
- Riverside Grove-Community of Teilh Drive, Wildwood Road (Zones: BOU-38)
- Acorn Road (Zone: BOU-16)
- Chalk Mountain (Zone: CRZ-1)
- Waddel Creek, Swanton, Last Chance Road, Molina Creek (Zones: CRZ-2B,
On Friday evening, Santa Cruz County officials said they had closed all but one of their evacuation centers. For the time being, the center at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds, 2601 East Lake Avenue, in Watsonville will remain open.
As repopulation has continued for many of the affected areas, there were only 188 residents still being served by the shelters, compared to a high of 2,500.