CZU Lightning Complex fire ravages mountain communities in San Mateo, Santa Cruz counties

Stephanie Sierra Image
Thursday, August 20, 2020
CZU Lightning Complex fire evacuees see own homes burned to ground
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Several CZU Lightning Complex fire evacuees saw their homes burned to the ground at the border of San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties.

SAN MATEO COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- The CZU Lightning Complex fire got out of control on Wednesday, and part of the problem is resources are stretched so thin, due to the high demand for help across the Bay Area.

You can hear crackling flames lit up Whitehouse Canyon Road in right on the border of the San Mateo and Santa Cruz County line.

You see cars completely engulfed, only adding fuel to the fast moving CZU lightning complex fire.

INTERACTIVE MAP: Track wildfires across San Francisco, other parts of CA

"You could see the sky was red and you could start hearing noise outside. Checked in with our neighbors and decided we just needed to leave," said Olma O'Neill, a fire victim, who watched her home burn to the ground.

VIDEO: Bay Area shrouded in smoke as Northern California wildfires rage

From Oakland to Point Reyes, smoke enveloped the Bay Area as fires scorched Northern California.

"It was hard. We had actually a live cam on our front porch and we could see the live footage, so i could see the flames right in front of the front door. And at first after awhile, it looked like it may have dissipated, but the camera shut off 30 min later," she said.

Jeff Northam lived nearby. Like O'neill, he too, watched his newly remodeled home of 15 years burn to the ground. "It's hot. I do think one fire truck could have done a hell of a lot least right now they could save these parts," he said.

RELATED: CZU, LNU, SCU Lightning Complex Fire maps: See active fires in the Bay Area today

Northam says the evacuation warnings and the help came too late. "We had other things we were going to get. Some mementos, some original pictures of my mom," he said.

Giving hope to these families their home may have survived.