About 300 firefighters still battle Summit Fire

June 5, 2008 2:11:38 PM PDT
Approximately 300 firefighters remain in the Santa Cruz Mountains continuing the nearly $19-million fight against the two-week-old Summit Fire, a CAL FIRE spokesman said today.

While the number of remaining firefighters is just about 10 percent of the personnel that responded at the peak of the blaze, the fire may still not be declared under control until June 15, according to Cal Fire Battalion Chief Paul Van Gerwen.

"What they're trying to do is just get down to the local resources," Van Gerwen said.

The fire, which consumed more than 4,200 acres in Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties and destroyed 36 residences, was contained May 27, however firefighters are still working to eliminate the hotspots.

"The flames aren't visible but the hot embers are," Van Gerwen said.

Flyovers are conducted every other day and infrared cameras are used to monitor hotspots. Van Gerwen said there were 42 hotspots reported Wednesday, down from 88 reported from the previous flight.

"Forty-two is still a significant amount of work to deal with," Van Gerwen said.

Those firefighters who remain are continuing to work 12- to 14-hour days, and an operations chief patrols the area at night.

Van Gerwen said there haven't been recent major flare-ups, but there have been smaller ones.

Some fire crews were demobilized today and more firefighters are expected to be released Friday.

The fire has cost an estimated $18.9 million to fight, which includes recent fire suppression and repair costs, Van Gerwen said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.


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