Residents describe gridlock as they evacuate CZU Lightning Complex fires
SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - There are now a half dozen evacuation centers, just for people fleeing the CZU Lightning Complex fire.
For thousands of families in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties, evacuation has meant saving what you love most.
For some it's a pig, for others it's a 100-year-old turtle.
For Malyn Wells of Ben Lomond, it's the horse she raised from birth in her backyard.
"She is not used to box stalls. She's not used to all this commotion. But we're all hanging in there," says Wells.
She's camped out at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds, while the CZU Lightning Complex fire runs its course.
Others like Domenic Fata, evacuated to Cabrillo College.
"We each got one little box. We got whatever was important to us. We had just done the laundry conveniently so we just put our baskets in the back of the car, like perfect, that's plenty of clothes," he says.
Getting out of the Santa Cruz Mountains wasn't easy. Residents describe gridlock as they tried to leave.
"You could see people packed up, trucks packed up, trailers packed up, motor homes leaving. It was a very slow crawl from Scotts Valley here to Aptos," says Shannon Slaughter, of Scotts Valley.
Many here are sleeping in their motor homes. They've been told the evacuation could last weeks.
The Fatas, from Scotts Valley, are trying to stay positive, though they've seen the damage to nearby towns like Boulder Creek.
"Deep down I don't think that I'm going to lose my house, and pray to god we do not. But unfortunately I already know we have friends who have," says Melissa Fata.
For now all they can do is wait, surrounded by the people and things they love most, and hope for the best.
"We'll take any of the luck and prayers anybody's got," says Slaughter.