Evacuees escorted to check on homes

May 24, 2008 12:26:51 PM PDT
Some residents evacuated from their homes by a fire that has consumed around 3,400 acres in the Santa Cruz Mountains are being escorted into restricted areas by Cal Fire personnel this afternoon to see if their homes survived the blaze.

Residents who live along Eureka Canyon Road and the connecting roads such as Summit and Ormsby Cutoff roads, located in unincorporated Santa Cruz County just north of Corralitos, will be allowed to check on their homes, a Cal Fire spokesman said. Cal Fire personnel planned to meet the residents at the Corralitos Cal Fire station at noon to escort them.

Since the start of the Summit Fire on Thursday at 5:30 a.m., 1,400 residents have evacuated voluntarily and 350 have had mandatory evacuations, according to Cal Fire.

The fire is 25 percent contained, Cal Fire spokesman Henry DeKruyff said. It has burned 17 residences and 11 commercial buildings and is threatening around 550 other homes and 20 commercial structures.

Fire investigators have pinpointed where they believe the flames started, an area where Summit Road becomes Loma Prieta Avenue at the borders of Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. DeKruyff said the area is under investigation and officials have not determined how the fire began.

The weather today seems to be cooperating with firefighters. In the area between Watsonville and Morgan Hill where the fire is burning, it's cloudy and light rain showers are expected to move across the region throughout the day, National Weather Service forecaster Steve Anderson said.

The flames were visible from the Watsonville Municipal Airport on Friday night but cloud cover mixed with some smoke this morning obscured the blaze, a pilot attending a Fly-In & Air Show said.

By this morning, the cost of the fire has reached $3.2 million and complete containment isn't expected until Friday, DeKruyff said.


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