Thursday, May 22, 2008

Summit Fire Update

Summit Fire threatens structures along Eureka Canyon Road
Modified: Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

Five to 10 structures had been destroyed by noon Thursday as the Summit Fire crept south along Eureka Canyon, burning up to 2,000 acres, Cal Fire reported.

Flames had begun traveling to the southwest toward Corralitos, working their way down Eureka Canyon Road, Cal Fire stated in a noon update.

The fire, which started around 5:30 a.m., began spreading with 50-mile-per-hour winds coming in heading to the south and southwest, Cal Fire reported.

Two evacuation sites have been set up, one on the north end of the fire at the Los Gatos Town Center and another on the south end at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds, Cal Fire stated. The Browns Valley Road area in Corralitos was being evacuated Thursday morning — a church in Corralitos was helping people, and many other residents were being sent to the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds.

The fairgrounds and Christmas Hill Park in the Gilroy area were becoming staging areas for Cal Fire, officials reported as they gathered at the fairgrounds.

Mandatory evacuations had begun by noon. One major evacuation area was Laurel Road off Highway 17 and Bald Mountain toward Hecker Pass, Cal Fire reported at noon.

To protect a residence, firefighters are advising homeowners to create 100 feet of clearance around the home and above the structure — but the major emphasis was to evacuate in the Eureka Canyon Road area and Ormsby Cutoff Road and Summit Road.

Cal Fire Battalion Chief Mike Marcucci said CDF expected 4,000 acres to be burned by the end of the day. By noon, he said there were eight air tankers, nine helicopters and about 900 personnel working on the fire.

"People really come out when it matters," said Steve Mouw, material support co-chair for the American Red Cross, Santa Cruz County. Mouw and about 20 other volunteers planned to muster their forces at the fairgrounds as updates on the fire's advance came in. Mouw said the Red Cross can always use more volunteers and donations.

The last fire like this was the Los Gatos fire, the Lexington Fire, in 1985, Mouw said.

"I would expect people from Santa Clara County or Carmel Valley chapter to come here today," he said.

Area residents seem well equipped to deal with a wildfire, Mouw said.

"We live in earthquake country, we live in fire country, I think we're pretty aware," he said.

Source: Register Pajaronian News

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