Containment edges up on SCU Lightning Complex Fires
Firefighters made some progress on the SCU Lightning Complex of fires with a footprint in six counties, Cal Fire officials said Friday morning. As of 7 a.m., containment was 82 percent, up 2 percent from Thursday evening. Full containment is expected Sept. 12, incident spokesman Jake Miller said.
This weekend officials expect more challenging conditions than in the past week and they’ll be monitoring the well-being of firefighters. “It’s going to be hot out there,” Miller said. There’s an excessive heat warning for Saturday, Sunday and Monday, he said. Temperatures are expected to be in the 90s across most of the fire region, with the chance of 100s, he said. Miller said firefighters will be doing as much work as possible in the morning and evening when it’s cooler and more patrolling in the afternoon when the heat sets in.
The fire started 16 days ago in several locations and has burned into a massive blaze that’s scorched nearly 400,000 acres and destroyed 131 structures, according to Cal Fire officials. Much of the fire is contained in the six counties consisting of Alameda, Santa Clara, Stanislaus, Contra Costa, Merced and San Joaquin, Miller said. But firefighters are still working mainly near Gilroy and Morgan Hill to put out the rest of the blaze, he said. Portions of the footprint are still under mandatory evacuation orders. A list of those areas can be found at www.fire.ca.gov/incidents/2020/8/18/scu-lightning-complex/. Miller encourages residents to monitor Cal Fire’s social media pages for the latest information on the fire.
Keith Burbank | Bay City News
CZU Complex Fire 56 percent contained Friday morning
Nearly three weeks after lightning sparked wildfires in Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties, the CZU Lightning Complex has burned 86,509 acres and is 56 percent contained, Cal Fire said Friday morning. The blaze has killed one civilian and injured another. It also destroyed 925 residences, 171 commercial buildings and 388 other minor structures. Still, there are 8,221 people evacuated and more than 7,600 structures threatened as firefighters continue efforts to reinforce containment lines and suppress the fire, Cal Fire said.
Temperatures will be high and humidity low because of the heat wave this Labor Day weekend, which is prime weather for fire spread, fire officials said. There is a resource assistance center located at Kaiser Permanente Area in Santa Cruz and a local assistance center at the Pescadero Elementary School in Pescadero. At both locations, evacuees or impacted residences can file for FEMA disaster assistance, recover important documents and seek personalized assistance.
There are also two evacuation centers available for large farm animals: Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds in Watsonville and the Watsonville Animal Shelter.
The Santa Cruz County hotel hotline can be reached at (831) 454-2182. For more information about the fire and resources available, call 211.
Jana Kadah | BCN Foundation
Containment on LNU Complex reaches 87 percent Friday morning
Firefighters continued to make progress overnight on the LNU Lightning Complex of fires and reached 87 percent containment Friday morning, Cal Fire said.
The fires, burning since Aug. 17, have charred 375,209 acres, destroyed 1,491 structures and are threatening 1,350 more. Five people have died and four others have been injured in the wildfires burning in Lake, Sonoma, Yolo, Napa and Solano counties.
Firefighters are bracing for dry, hot weather and southwest winds and interior areas of the fire may occasionally flare up, Cal Fire said Friday morning.
Kathleen Kirkwood | Bay City News
Evacuations, status as of Thursday evening
Evacuation orders and warnings continued to be lifted Thursday in the many Bay Area communities affected by the three large complexes of fires ignited by lightning in mid-August, known by the abbreviations SCU, LNU and CZU, which reflect the units of Cal Fire managing each one.
By Thursday evening, Cal Fire said the CZU complex in the coastal mountains of San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties was 51 percent contained. It had killed one person, destroyed more than 1,500 structures and scorched 86,102 acres. Many area roads remain closed, but most are open, and most evacuation orders and warnings have been lifted. More than 8,000 people have not been able to return to their homes in the area.
The LNU complex in the North Bay was 81 percent contained. It had killed five people, destroyed about 1,500 structures and scorched 375,209 acres, according to Cal Fire’s evening update. Most of the areas of Napa County that were affected by evacuation orders are now under evacuation warning, which means residents may return but should be prepared to leave at any time. And even many evacuations warnings have been lifted. Berryessa Knoxville Road from Eastside Road to the Napa-Lake county line will remain closed and under an evacuation order. And traffic delays should be expected in the area of Lake Berryessa, while utility crews are working there. CalTrans said State Route 128 in Napa County has reopened, though crews in the area will be continuing with fire cleanup. Nearby parts of SR-128 opened earlier this week.
Round-the-clock updates are available at 511.org or twitter.com/511SFBay or http://quickmap.dot.ca.gov
Detailed information on all fires that Cal Fire is managing can be found at www.fire.ca.gov/incidents/
The SCU fire complex in the rugged rural terrain of eastern Alameda and Santa Clara counties and farther east was 80 percent contained by evening, according to Cal Fire. It had destroyed 87 buildings and scorched 391,578 acres. Evacuation orders were still in effect for parts of the area, but most had been lifted, and there were no warnings still in effect.