Wildfire burning in Santa Cruz Mountains consumes 270 acres

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Crews in the Santa Cruz Mountains are making progress on the bear fire. Containment is now sitting at 10-percent with roughly 270 acres burned. However, mandatory evacuations remained in place. (KGO-TV)

Crews in the Santa Cruz Mountains are making progress on the bear fire. Containment is now sitting at 10-percent with roughly 270 acres burned. However, mandatory evacuations remained in place.

The weather conditions were cooler Wednesday, which was good news for fire crews. But, the steep terrain and rocky conditions have been problematic as Cal Fire tries to get the upper hand.

"The fire's laying low right now, firefighters are out there aggressively fighting the fire," Cal Fire Spokesperson Amber Anderson said.

As the smoke and haze hits the skies of the San Lorenzo Valley, water tenders filled up engines on Deer Creek Road below.

Neighbors say they're thankful for the resources.

"They're the best that there is, I mean, I'm just very, very grateful, I can't say enough," evacuee Blaise Pabon said.

An evacuation center has been set up by the Red Cross in Los Gatos at Lakeside Elementary School.

Victoria Becker and her husband Albert aren't just volunteers. They too have been evacuated from their home.

"I've never seen the fire that close before, and that's where I want to live for the rest of my life," Virginia said.

It's a trying time as they count their blessings. "It's just a bigger reminder of what I have, and to not take anything for granted."

The Bear Fire started as a structure fire two days ago before spreading to nearby brush.

Favorable weather conditions on the front lines aided the fight Wednesday, but air operations were briefly suspended after a drone was spotted flying in the fire zone.

Cal Fire says that's against the law.

"They pose a risk, just like we've heard birds flying in the air, can hinder the efforts of our aircraft from above," Anderson said.

Four structures have burned because of the fire, and six firefighters have been injured as crews work towards full containment.

More resources are coming in. There's around 900 firefighters on the ground right now working the fire. It's unclear when the mandatory evacuation orders will be lifted.

Police have arrested a man who was allegedly burglarizing a property within the evacuation zone in the 19000 block of Hidden Springs Lane on Tuesday.

Police say the suspect had $15,000 in property, mostly jewelry and a bicycle, when he was later located in the city of Santa Cruz and arrested.

Anyone who notices a person who doesn't appear to belong or has no apparent lawful purpose in an evacuated area to call 911 or the sheriff's office dispatch at (831) 471-1121.

Evacuation info for residents and animals:
Residents:
Lakeside Elementary: 19621 Black Rd, Los Gatos
Zayante Fire Protection District Station: 7700 E Zayante Rd, Felton
Animals:
Horses and Goats: Graham Hill Showgrounds: 1145 Graham Hill Rd, Santa Cruz
Small Animals: Santa Cruz County Animal Services: 2200 7th Ave, Santa Cruz

Related Topics:
wildfirebrush firefiresanta cruz countyfirefighter injuredSanta Cruz
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