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Loma Fire in Santa Cruz Mountains

I planned to write about our beautiful day in Santa Cruz today, but I looked up the fire in the Santa Cruz Mountains that was creating a lot of smoke that drifted out to sea.

The Loma Fire, first reported at 3 AM today near Maymens Flat Road, burned through 600 acres of the Santa Cruz Mountains this morning, burned two buildings, threatened 85 others, and forced the evacuation of 80-100 people. The evacuated area was near Maymens Flat Road, Highland Way and Ormsby Cutoff. By mid-day, no injuries had been reported, but two outbuilidings and one trailer had been destroyed.

By late morning today, 937 firefighters were battling the blaze, using 100 fire engines, eight air tankers and five helicopters, along with other resources. As of 1:24 PM today, the fire was completely uncontained and driven by strong winds. A later report says the fire is 20% contained, and that another 150 homes and 100 businesses are threatened.

The cause of the fire has not been determined yet.

(Update added October 26, 2009: The evacuation order for this fire has been lifted. Two firefighters have been injured in the blaze. Reception centers that were opened by the Red Cross have been closed, since only a small number of residents showed up to seek shelter. Residents who need help to find lodging should call 831-462-2881. Please check the link above for information about road closures that are still in effect. The roughly 12 inches of rain from a recent storm came down so quickly that most of the water ran off rather than soaking into the ground to increase the water content of plants and resist fire.)

(Update added October 28, 2009: A radio voice told my half-awake brain this morning that the Loma Fire is now completely contained.)

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

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