Crews attacking 1,085-acre Loma Fire ripping through Santa Cruz Mountains

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Fire crews are battling 1,085-acre Loma Fire that's being spread by the hilly terrains. The blaze is only 5 percent contained. (KGO-TV)

The 1,085-acre Loma Fire is threatening hundreds of homes in the Santa Cruz Mountains on Tuesday and is only 5 percent contained.

It isn't a wind-driven wildfire. Instead, Cal Fire Captain Brian Oliver says it's been spread by the fuel and the hilly terrain.
PHOTOS: Crews battle brush fire in Santa Cruz Mountains

The Santa Clara Mountains are steep and rugged and fire travels quickly up hill. "It's been opportunistic. It finds a place, it finds the fuel that it likes and can ignite readily," Oliver said.

Fire travels quickly uphill. It looks like mostly a rural area, but there are several properties there as well. "There's going to be winding roads, and switch backs and narrow roads and all that makes it all the more difficult for large vehicles," Oliver said,

RELATED: 300 structures threatened by Loma Fire in Santa Cruz Mountains

By air, there will be at least four helicopters dropping water on direct targets on Tuesday. They'll use air tankers to drop retardant to essentially drop a protective coating on some areas. That will give hand crews time to build containment lines with the help of bulldozers.

"The common tactic is to drop the retardant right along the ridgeline and basically take advantage of the topical adjustments that are going on," Oliver said.

Not to mention, asking for Mother Nature's help. "We're hoping we don't get any dramatic winds," Oliver said.

In a wind-driven fire, at least they can guess the direction it will travel, but this fire is somewhat random.

Crews from across the Bay Area and state arrived Tuesday morning. They've already received their assignments for the day.

For more stories about wildfires burning across California, click here.

Related Topics:
cal firefirefirefighterssanta clara countybrush firewildfireevacuationSanta CruzMorgan Hill
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