Bear Fire in Santa Cruz mountains threatens structures, injures 5 firefighters

Image 1 of 2

A new wildfire broke out on Monday night – this time in the Santa Cruz mountains along Bear Creek Road in Boulder Creek. Four structures are damaged, including at least one home and at least five firefighters were injured, Cal Fire said.

The fire, started at one home about 10:30 p.m. By Tuesday night it had spread to 271 acres and was threatening about 150 homes. It is five percent contained.

One firefighter fell 50 feet down a ravine and broke his wrist, and four others, including an inmate who suffered some smoke inhalation on the front lines, were also injured though nothing is considered to be life-threatening, according to Cal Fire spokesman Rob Sherman. Three firefighters fell down the ravine but probably won't go to the hospital, Sherman said.

As of 10:15 a.m., the fire was five percent contained.

"We have crews actively working on this now," Cal Fire spokeswoman Angela Bernheisel told KTVU. "As far as we know everyone got out safely."

Once the sun comes up, Cal Fire can send in air crews. "We're going to hit it as hard as we can," she said. "This is very steep, rugged terrain with difficult access."

After firefighters were called out on the house fire report, Santa Cruz County emergency officials sent out a reverse 911 message to residents living within about four miles of Bear Creek Canyon that a mandatory evacuation was in order. 

For a list of evacuation areas, click here. 

Fire crews say conditions over the last week-- and into last night - were the perfect recipe for a fire.

“Right now, because of the north winds,” Sherman said, “and here we are.”

People who had to evacuate from the fire are asked to go to the Zayante Fire Department at 7700 E. Zayante Road in Felton or Lakeside Elementary School at 19621 Black Road in Los Gatos, Bernheisel said.