SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - Evacuation orders in effect for parts of San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties were expanded Wednesday afternoon because of increased fire activity in 22 fires, all started by lightning strikes.
The cluster of fires is being called the CZU August Lightning Complex.
The fire has grown to 25,000 acres and has destroyed 20 structures, the most of which were 1-story residential homes.
Cal Fire spokesman Jonathan Cox said overnight, crews saw a "major increase" in the fire's activity, with several of the smaller fires merging into one big fire.
That has prompted the evacuation of over 22,000 people across the two counties. The fire, as of Wednesday morning, had burned 10,000 acres.
Cox said that some structures, possibly homes, have been destroyed, but he didn't know yet exactly how many.
New evacuation orders issued Wednesday afternoon are focused in Santa Clara County and are mandatory. These include:
- Areas west of Highway 9 to Empire Grade
- South from Bear Creek Road to Felton. This includes Ben Lomond
- East of Ed Levine County Park, Felter Rd., Sierra Rd., Toyon Ave., and Mt. Hamilton Rd. to Three Springs Rd.
- North of Mt. Hamilton Rd. to Three Springs Rd.
- South of Santa Clara County Line, West of fire perimeter
Evacuation warnings, which aren't mandatory, were also issued Wednesday afternoon and are effective immediately:
- Santa Clara County: East of San Jose city limits, South of Mt. Hamilton Rd., North of Metcalf Rd. & San Felipe Rd., east to the county line, East of San Antonio Valley Rd. to Del Puerto Canyon Rd. to the county
Mandatory evacuation orders in San Mateo County were expanded Wednesday morning and include:
- Anyone in the areas of South Skyline Boulevard near Highway 9, Russian Ridge Open Space Reserve, Middleton Tract area, and Portola Redwoods State Park and the Portola Heights Community
A firefighting aircraft performs a water drop over the Lightening complex fire at Ano Nuevo State Park in San Mateo County. Photo: Alexander Nguyen.
Previous evacuation orders for San Mateo County were issued for the Loma Mar and Dearborn Park areas, the Pescadero Creek County Park area, and the Butano area.
An evacuation center has been established at Pescadero High School, at 360 Butano Cutoff in the unincorporated community of Pescadero.