Firefighters must still contain hot spots

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, CA

They have to deal with hot spots, where there is still smoke and there is still fire. Crews have been going back and forth filling up water tanks and then dropping the water on those hot spots.

"This is going to be a big turning day for us, the weather is finally starting to cooperate, the winds are going to die down somewhat and those winds have been what have really been causing us all the problems, says Battalion Chief David Shew.

Located around 30 miles south of Gilroy, the summit fire, which has cost about $6.1 million in damage, is almost under control. The fire made short runs through the night, but there wasn't significant expansion. They are face with the task of trying to establish a line around the fire, but the thick brush and steep terrain are posing problems.

"We're here doing this and spotting different places we've been on the tactical challenge so we're not sure what is going in the other areas," says firefighter Bob Holbrook.

It's been something like a synchronized dance. They pick up and drop off water and say their efforts will continue until they have the fire fully contained.

CAL FIRE says the fire is at 25 percent containment.

The fire is currently burning in a four-mile stretch in Eureka Canyon, near the town of Corralitos.

It is burning in the mountain range that separates Santa Cruz County from Santa Clara County about 40 miles south of downtown San Jose and about 10 miles west of Gilroy.

The fire began at 5:30 Thursday morning. Some 1,000 acres burned by 9:00 a.m. and by noon the fire had exploded to over 3,200 acres.

The fire was first reported near Summit and Ormsby roads and is in the mountain range that separates Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties.

MAP: Summit fire location

Saturday Updates:
The Bay Area Air Quality management says that a smoke advisory will remain in effect until the fire is extinguished. People in Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties are advised to stay indoors, if they step outside and smell smoke. They're also asked to try to avoid strenuous outdoor activities.

Friday night Updates:
An injured firefighter will be transported by a ground ambulance away from the fireline and airlifted out of the area. He had chest pains and suffered from fatigue. His injuries do not appear to be life threatening. >> Video: One firefighter was injured late Friday evening

Fire jumps fireline and firefighters fight spot fires in places where the fire has already passed.
>> Video: Fire jumps fireline near Summit Road

People in Corralitos who evacuated their homes are still waiting for the word to return.
>> Video: Evacuees wait for a second night to return

Evacuations and Red Cross Information

Mandatory evacuations are being ordered in the following locations:

  • Buzzard Lagoon
  • Hazel Dell
  • Lower Highland

Main evacuation number for the public: (408) 201-0474

The American Red Cross has opened temporary evacuation centers in the Crosetti Building at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds, located at 2601 East Lake Avenue in Watsonville, and at the Los Gatos Community Center located at 208 East Main Street in Los Gatos. The American Red Cross will be providing food, a safe place to rest and counseling until evacuated residents are allowed to return to their homes. Residents should contact CalFire at (831) 335-6717 or (831) 335-6718 for information on whether your home is in an evacuation area. (www.sccredcross.org)

Click here for a map of evacuation points.

Cochrane Road Self Storage is offering two months of free storage to anyone in affected areas. For more information contact (408) 782-8883 ( 411 Woodview Ave. in Morgan HIll).

A Morgan Hill RV company is offering to provide new trailers for families to temporarily stay in for free. Alpine RV said they will have at least three trailers ready this morning for fire victims in need. For more information you can call 1-800-290-9232

CAL FIRE air base

The first planes sent in to fight the fire had to come all the way from Santa Rosa, 140 miles away. That's because the nearest CAL FIRE air base, in Hollister, wasn't scheduled to open until June 1. The bases serve as landing strips where tankers fly in, load up with retardant, and return to fight the fire. CAL FIRE called in its crews and managed to get the Hollister base up and running within a few hours.

Poor air quality

Doctors are warning about the danger of smoke particles in the air. This is especially problematic for anyone who suffers from heart or lung illnesses, such as emphysema and asthma.

In Watsonville, farm workers had to stop early in the day because the air quality was so bad.

The wind will help push the smoke out of the area, but that also contributes to spreading the fire itself.

On Friday, the wind shifted north, and health officials in Santa Clara County are advising residents with respiratory problems to stay indoors.

>> VIDEO: ABC7's Terry McSweeney reports

Closures

Road closures have been ordered for Summit, Mount Madonna and Pole Line roads, as well as at Corralitos & Freedom and Varney & Corralitos.

All Pajaro Valley Unified School District schools will be closed Friday. However, C.T. English Middle School and Loma Prieta Elementary School will also be closed on Friday.

Animal safety

Residents with animals are encouraged to bring them to Sprig Lake on the eastside of Hecker Pass Highway. Livestock animals can also be brought to the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds. Smaller animals, such as dogs and cats, can be brought to Santa Cruz County Animal Services at 27 Janus Way in Scotts Valley and in Watsonville at 580 Airport Boulevard.

If you would like to adopt an animal that has been rescued from the fire, contact Santa Cruz Animal Services at (831)454-7303.

People needing assistance moving livestock should call (831) 454-7303.

Summit fire images
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Friday (5/23) summit fire video

Thursday (5/22) summit fire video

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