Scotts Valley residents allowed to return after CAL FIRE lifts evacuation order in CZU Lightning Complex fires

SCOTTS VALLEY, Calif. (KGO) -- Between San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties, tens of thousands of residents evacuated by the CZU Lightning Complex fires were finally able to return home Thursday night. CAL FIRE officials are calling it a good day with these lifted evacuation orders.

It's been awhile, but in this city in Santa Cruz County, there are bright signs and beaming smiles.

Those in Scotts Valley are slowly making their way back, nearly one week after being evacuated.

"It's just eerie that nobody's around yet. But in terms of damage, it's um- everything looks pretty good," said Jeff Priapi, who has lived in Scotts Valley for 15 years.

RELATED: CZU Lightning Complex Fire: Photographer captures timelapse video showing early stages of inferno

He understands Scotts Valley was seemingly untouched by the CZU Lightning Complex fire, unlike areas to the west.

"As the crow flies, we're about four miles from Ben Lomond-- and we've seen those pictures which are just you know, they're, they're really disturbing," he said.

Mixed emotions by many as the complex grew to more than 81,000 acres with 24% containment.

RELATED: How wildfire victims, evacuees can speed up fire insurance claims even without house damage

Longtime residents Danielle and Tim Woods were monitoring fire conditions early on. They said they were fortunate they had any time to form a plan.

"And we just got suitcases and just threw clothes and shoes and toiletries. And so, we were one of the lucky few that had a good four hours notice," Danielle said.

RELATED: Boulder Creek residents devastated over losing their homes as CZU Lightning Complex fire continues to burn

During the week, they checked-in from their Ring doorbell to make sure their home of 13 years was still standing.

"We've been able to see everything was fine. And we have a flat roof so I had sprinklers going on for about four or five days," Tim said.

"Today was Scotts Valley. And as we move closer to more fire affected areas, it could be just a little longer obviously, in the work that still has to be done in those areas," said Chief Deputy Chris Clark with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office. He anticipates continued good news in the coming days.

Adding, there is a "systematic fashion" of lifting evacuation orders, as crews go from the least affected areas to the most affected.

Get the latest updates and videos on wildfires burning across the Bay Area and California here.

RELATED STORIES & VIDEOS:
Copyright © 2020 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.