Firefighter injured battling massive Loma Fire in Santa Cruz Mountains

WATSONVILLE, Calif. (KGO) -- Officials say one firefighter is being transported to the hospital after being injured Thursday battling the massive Loma Fire that's burning in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The fire has destroyed eight homes, grown to 4,147 acres and is 34 percent contained.

Over 1,000 firefighters continue their efforts to contain the fire. The official count for destroyed or damaged homes is eight, with an additional nine structures destroyed. At least 300 homes are still threatened.

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Evacuations were lifted Wednesday afternoon for all Santa Cruz County residents, but road closures remain in effect for non-residents. Evacuation orders are still in place for residents in Santa Clara County.

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Residents who have been evacuated from their homes feel anxious. "Just watching the flames and the fire, it's heartbreaking, you just don't know what's going on," Morgan Hill resident Mike Powell said.

Powell has lived atop Loma Prieta for 13 years. "We're a family, everybody looks out for each other. We're always talking to each other, texting, emails, whatever we can," Powell said.

Sky7 showed us the narrow roads and rocky terrain where crews are battling the fire.

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Friday's forecast calls for more wind, so crews spent the day cutting and cleaning up break lines to help contain the fire. "If we need to make them wider fine, if we need to take more vegetation, make sure we're down to the bare Earth, that goes for the dozers as well as the hand lines to make sure there's no possibility for the fire to spread or jump over those lines," CAL FIRE Battalion Chief Scott McLean said.

Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith stopped by some of the staging areas Thursday afternoon to check on her deputies and do what she could to provide support.

Over at base camp, firefighters are getting in their mandatory rest periods after being on the lines for their 24-hour shifts.

Residents in Southern Santa Clara County are having a tough time with the smoke. "I do have asthma, I do have allergies, so the more I'm active the more my asthma acts up and then having the air quality to deal with that, too," Hollister resident Mayra Rios said.

But as this fire continues to burn, neighbors say they're grateful to the men and women who are fighting to protect their homes. "To be here, and to have everybody, their outgoing support, we're just a big family up here," Powell said.

This community is trying to stay strong as crews battle the flames above.


Evacuations have been lifted for Santa Cruz County residents.

Road closures:
Loma Prieta Road 1 mile east of Highland Way
Summit Road at Ormsby Cutoff
Croy Road 3 miles west of Uvas Road
Casa Loma and McKean Road

Click here for full coverage on the Loma Fire.

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