Progress made on CZU August Lightning Complex fires as weather worries linger

Firefighters made progress in the early hours Sunday on the CZU August Lightning Complex fires burning in the Santa Cruz moutains, due to aggressive action and favoarable weather conditions that allowed crews to utilize aircraft. 

The lightning-caused blaze, which stared the morning of August 16, has now burned 71,000 acres and is 8 percent contained, Cal Fire said Sunday morning, adding that 129 structures have been destroyed. There have been no injuries or fatalities.


Cal Fire said good air Saturday allowed them to attack the fire from above. They utilized 6 water helicopters to "bombard" the area throughout the day, which helped to slow the fire's growth and allowed crews to establish fire break lines. 

"With our limited resources, we couldn't contruct as much lines as we would have liked, but certainly any line constructed is an improvment for us," said Cal Fire Batallion Chief Mark Brunton during a briefing Sunday morning.

Interactive map: See where all the fires are raging in California

Officials said the main concern right now is the weather, with a red flag warning in effect until Monday afternoon and the threat of thunderstorms with dry lightning lingering for the next 36 to 48 hours. 

"With this new frontal system coming in, with lightning and so forth, it poses significant challenges because of the the type of event it is weather wise it is," Brunton said. "The biggest issue overall is you really can's determine one direction the wind comes."

"After the thunderstorms come over, they blow the fire in various directions."

Cal Fire said they've done a good job evacuating the surrounding communities affected and they "very comfortable" with where they are right now, in terms of evacuations. 

Cal Fire will provide another update at 6 p.m. Sunday.

A list of areas under evacuation orders and warnings, as well as where evacuees can go and other information about the CZU August Lightning Complex fires, is available from Cal Fire at CZU August Lightning Complex fires incident page.


No Evacuation Warnings currently in place


Communities of Loma Mar and Dearborn Park Area (Zone SMC E018)

Pescadero Creek County Park Area (Zone SMC E024)

Butano Community Area (Zone SMC E098)

Butano State Park Area including Barranca Knolls Community (Zone SMC E019)

Butano Creek Drainage (Zone SMC E055)

South Skyline Blvd. Area near Highway 9 (SMC E049)

Russian Ridge Open Space Reserve Area (Zone SMC E027)

Middleton Tract Area (Zone SMC E044)

Portola Redwoods State Park and the Portola Heights Community Area (Zone SMC E048)

Pescadero Beach Area (Zone SMC E075)

Bean Hollow Area (Zone SMC E042)

Pescadero Area (Zone SMC E043)

San Gregorio Area (Zone SMC E022)

La Honda Area (Zone SMC E028)

Red Barn Area (Zone SMC E010)

Russian Bridge Open Space Area (Zone SMC E027)

Skylonda Area (Zone SMC E012)

Langley Hill Area ( Zone SMC E010)

Paradise Park (Zones: CRZ 63, CRZ 64)

University of California Santa Cruz, campus only (Zone: SCZ 4)


No Evacuation Warnings currently in place


Waterman Gap Loop, Upper HWY 236, Boulder Creek Golf Course, Heartwood Hill, Lodge Road, Community of Little Basin, Lower China Grade, Upper China Grade, Community of Kings Hwy, Lower Jamison Creek, Gallion Heights, Fallen Leaf Neighborhood, Foxglove Lane (Zones CRZ10, CRZ13, BOU36, BOU20, BOU30, BOU31, BOU36, BOU37, BOU21)

Saratoga Toll Road, San Lorenzo Park, Riverside Grove-Community of Teilh Drive, Wildwood Road (BOU38, BOU39, BOU40, BOU41, BOU42, BOU43)

Everyone on Empire Grade Road, from Felton Empire north, all of Pine Flat Road, all of Ice Cream Grade, Bonny Doon Road, in between Pine Flat Road, Martin Road, and all associated side streets are under an evacuation order. (CRZ1, CRZ2, CRZ3, CRZ4, CRZ5, CRZ10, CRZ11, CRZ12, CRZ13, CRZ14, CRZ15)

Bonny Doon south of Ice Cream Grade, to include Pine Flat Road South is now under an evacuation order. (CRZ7, CRZ8)

Areas of Alba Road, Hubbard Gulch and Fanning Grade. (BEN 1)

All areas of Ben Lomond (Zones BEN 2 – BEN 5)

The area of Lompico (Zones ZAY 11, ZAY 12)

All areas adjacent to the Bonny Doon and San Lorenzo Valley should be prepared to evacuate if necessary. (CRZ7, CRZ8)

Areas West of Highway 9 to Empire Grade

South from Bear Creek Road to Felton, this includes Ben Lomond


San Mateo County:

Half Moon Bay High School, 1 Lewis Foster Drive, Half Moon Bay

Santa Cruz County:

Santa Cruz County Fairground, 2601 E. Lake Avenue in Watsonville

Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, 307 Church Street, Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz Seventh Day Adventist Camp Grounds, 1931 Soquel San Jose Rd

ROAD CLOSURES: Road closures are fluid and being coordinated with evolving evacuation warnings and orders.

San Mateo County:

Pescadero Creek Road between Alpine and Cloverdale Rd.

Cloverdale Road between Pescadero Creek Road and Gazos Creek.

Alpine Road between Pescadero Creek Road and Skyline

Whitehouse Canyon Road at Highway 1

Portola Heights Road at Skyline

State Route 1 at Rossi Road

State Route 1 at Ano Nuevo

Santa Cruz County:

Granite Creek Rd. is closed at southbound state Highway 17.

Closures also include Mt. Hermon Rd. and La Madrona Drive, and Graham Hill Rd. and Lockewood Lane. 

State Route 1 at Shaffer Road

State Route 9 north bound at Alba Road

Empire Grade at Heller Drive

Felton Empire Road at Featherston Way