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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

CA-CZU- ORMAN? Boulder Creek Wildfire yesterday

Boulder Creek wildland blaze a reminder that fire season isn't over

Jennifer Squires - Sentinel Staff Writer
Santa Cruz Sentinel - Link

BOULDER CREEK -- Firefighters quickly extinguished a quarter-acre fire Tuesday afternoon, but the small blaze gave residents north of Boulder Creek quite a scare.

Fire officials said the blaze serves as an important reminder that the fire season is not over, even though the three major wildfires in the county this year burned in May and June.

"This is pretty normal for us until there's any significant rain on the ground," Cal Fire Battalion Chief Kay Price said Tuesday. "We're not out of any danger."

Price said September and October are the months that typically carry a high fire risk in the region, as well as in other parts of the state. A wildfire burned most of Angel Island in San Francisco earlier this week and "strike teams" of firefighters from the county have been sent to blazes in Napa and Los Angeles counties this month.

Tuesday's fire, which started at 2:20 p.m. off Dorrance Road, began near a hot tub and spread to a nearby structure before burning up a steep slope between several homes.

Dispatchers called for a full wildland response and firefighters credited fire retardant drops with keeping the blaze under control until crews got to the scene and extinguished it.

"We made a full attack of the whole thing and were able to knock it down," Price said. "It could have been a lot worse."

Early on, sheriff's deputies and highway patrol officers went door-to-door to evacuate homes on five surrounding roads, and the county's equine rescue group removed horses from the area.

The evacuation order was quickly lifted, but residents were still shaken.

"I was in town and I knew I had to come back," Dorrance Road resident Erin Blackworth said.

A member of the equine rescue got her four horses out, but she drove in to her property to rescue her dog, Zoe. Blackworth said her family has lived in Boulder Creek for years, but recently moved to Dorrance Road, which is off Bear Creek Road. They worry about the threat of wildfire.

"We're trying to clear the forest around us," she said.

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IA: 14:20hrs - 480 ORMAN RD, BOULDER CREEK

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****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.
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