CZU Lightning Complex Fire: Firefighters make significant progress to keep wildfire at nearly 79,000 acres

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KGO) -- Firefighters are making forward progress on the wildfire burning in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties.

In an update Tuesday morning, CAL FIRE announced the CZU Lightning Complex Fire grew less than 200 acres overnight. In total, the fire has burned 78,869 acres and is 17% contained.

Officials said favorable weather is helping firefighters on the front lines. The wind is blowing towards the control lines that firefighters have set. The marine layer is helping to extinguish the fire along the coast.

RELATED: Residents form crews to fight fires in the Santa Cruz Mountains

CAL FIRE said the city of Santa Cruz and UC Santa Cruz are safe.

INTERACTIVE MAP: Track wildfires across Bay Area, other parts of CA

Still, the CZU Lightning Complex has already caused much destruction.

One person is dead. CAL FIRE said officials are trying to locate 7 missing people.

The fire has destroyed 330 structures: 11 in San Mateo County and 319 in Santa Cruz County. It's threatening another 25,000 structures.

VIDEO: Dozens of homes destroyed by wildfire in Santa Cruz County
EMBED More News Videos

In the tight-nit community of Bonny Doon, are dozens of homes that are among the more than 200 structures destroyed by CZU Lightning Complex Fire.



ABC7 News found an empty, eerie scene along Empire Grade Road in Bonny Doon. Among the gray rubble where homes once stood and the menacing orange flames in the distance, there are homeowners who have risked their lives to stay behind despite orders to evacuate.

Homeowner Gabriel Briton left as flames approached, but returned in an effort to save his home.

"I was there with my brother and two other people holding it back," said Briton.

CAL FIRE said more firefighters are expected to help tackle the CZU Lightning Complex. About 1,600 personnel are currently working on the front lines.

WATCH: Big Basin Redwoods, California's oldest state park, devastated by CZU Lightning Complex; Fate of ancient trees unknown
EMBED More News Videos

California's oldest state park, housing a forest of ancient redwood trees, was devastated by wildfires that ravaged the Bay Area this week.




App users: For a better experience, click here to view the full map in a new window

Get the latest updates and videos on the CZU, LNU and SCU Lightning Complex Fires here.

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