Firefighters battling Loma Fire on alert as wind becomes threat

LOS GATOS, Calif. (KGO) -- Despite weather worries, firefighters battling the Loma Fire are making some progress. The fire is 50 percent contained, but a dozen homes have been destroyed.

PHOTOS: Crews battle brush fire in Santa Cruz Mountains

The fire has burned more than 4,300 acres. The problem Friday night is the wind and the threat of flying embers finding new fuel and sparking new fire.

"The wind is a huge challenge for us. The embers get hot and they start flying," said Loma Fire spokesperson Capt. Brandon Vaccaro.

Not only are strong wind gusts in the overnight forecast, Cal Fire says the wind is coming from a new direction.

"It's going to challenge a part of our fire containment line that hasn't really seen a lot of wind, a lot of embers passing through it," Vaccaro said.

To prepare, firefighters have been working to secure those lines as crews continue to comb through the smoldering aftermath of the fire.

"Finding hot spots, mopping them up, digging them up, putting water on them," said Cal Fire engineer Josh Tann. "I think we're getting the upper hand on it, but it's definitely a lot of mop up."

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Scattered throughout the mountains are homes untouched by fire and the remains of those destroyed, a dozen so far.

"You do your best effort to protect all homes. At the same time, it's not worth any body's life," Tann said.

There is marijuana being grown in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Plants have been revealed by the fire. Some grows are legal, but many are not. A source tells ABC7 News that eradication teams have been sent to the Loma Fire. The Santa Clara County sheriff's office confirms it has initiated a marijuana operation.

EXCLUSIVE: Investigators look into whether drug operation sparked Loma Fire

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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