Some optimism in the CZU Lightning Complex fire battle

As of Monday night, the CZU Lightning Complex Fire in the Santa Cruz Mountains has burned more than 78,000 acres. Containment remains at 13 percent. Cal Fire said 276 structures are destroyed and another 2,500 structures are still threatened.

Cal Fire expressed optimism Monday night with no new fires sparked by lightning, more resources and improved weather conditions allowing them to get aircraft back up. Cal Fire is hoping for more days like Monday so they can get a better handle on suppressing the fire.

At the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds, 600 evacuees are now seeking refuge with most of them housed in temporary tents after escaping the CZU Fire.

“We left with just the clothes on our back,” said Leonard Miller of Boulder Creek. “Her and I grabbed a couple pieces of clothing. I did take some of my animals out at the time.”

Miller evacuated last Tuesday. SPCA helped save his animals including miniature horses. He’s hopeful their two-acre ranch north of Boulder Creek is still standing.

So far, the fire has destroyed, 276 structures in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties.

“Today with the weather that we had, it really let us get in there and do a lot of good work,” said Cal Fire Chief Mark Brunton.

On Monday, Cal Fire said with clearer air, helicopters that were previously grounded were able to make water drops.

“Today was best day yet,” said Brunton. “We were able to drop 200,000 gallons throughout the day in fire suppression activities.”

On the ground, more than 16,000 fire personnel have been brought in. They took advantage of the cooler temperatures and increased humidity on Monday.

The Highway 9 corridor proved to be the biggest challenge. That stretch is most active and problematic due to topography and terrain.

Meantime, nearly 80 law enforcement personnel are patrolling the San Lorenzo Valley looking for people who shouldn’t be in the fire zones.

“We are committed to providing this police presence and for looking for people who are potentially looking to prey on you and your neighbors,” said Santa Cruz County Sheriff Deputy Chris Clark.

Sheriff deputies released photos of a man who they believe may be a Bonny Doon resident. They said he stole a Cal Fire firefighter’s wallet and used his credit cards at a Shell Gas Station and Safeway in Capitola.

On Monday, authorities identified the man killed in the fire as 73-year-old Tad Jones a resident of the Last Chance community near Davenport. Deputies said he was likely trying to flee the fire.

The sheriff's office said they empathize with people who want to go back to their homes but said until the fire gets under control, it’s imperative for people to stay out of the area to let Cal Fire do their job.


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 E073) (8/20/2020 6:00 pm)

Bean Hollow Area (Zone SMC E042) (8/20/2020 6:00 pm)

Pescadero Area (Zone SMC E043) (8/20/2020 6:00 pm)

San Gregorio Area (Zone SMC E022) (8/20/2020 6:00 pm)

La Honda Area (Zone SMC E028) 8/20/2020 6:00 pm)

Red Barn Area (Zone SMC E010) (8/20/2020 6:00 pm)

Russian Bridge Open Space Area (Zone SMC E027) (8/20/2020 6:00 pm)

Skylonda Area (Zone SMC E012) (8/20/2020 6:00 pm)

Langley Hill Area ( Zone SMC E010) (8/20/2020 6:00 pm)

Bean Hollow Area (Zone SMC E042) (8/20/2020 6:00 pm)


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) (8/18/2020 10 pm)

Saratoga Toll Road, San Lorenzo Park, Riverside Grove-Community of Teilh Drive, Wildwood Road (Zones: BOU38, BOU39, BOU40, BOU41, BOU42, BOU43) (8/18/2020 7:30 PM)

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) (8/19/2020 1:00 am)

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) (8/19/2020 6:00 pm)

All areas of Ben Lomond (Zones BEN 2 – BEN 5) (8/19/2020 7:00 pm) 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) (8/20/2020 1:00 am)

Areas West of Highway 9 to Empire Grade

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

Paradise Park (Zones: CRZ 63, CRZ 64) (8/20/2020 7:00pm)

University of California Santa Cruz, campus only (Zone: SCZ 4) (8/20/2020 7:00pm)

The areas of Zayante Canyon (Zones: ZAY 1 – ZAY 17) (8/20/2020 1:00 pm)

Scotts Valley West of State Route 17 (Zones: SCO 1-5, SCO 7, SCO 14-20, SCO 21 – SCO 25) (8/20/2020 7:00 pm)

Davenport south (Zones: CRZ 6, CRZ 9, CRZ 17) (8/19/2020 7:00 pm)

All areas of Felton (Zones: FEL 1 – FEL 6) (8/20/2020 8:00 am)

Butano State Park area including Barrranca Knolls Community (Zone: SMC E019) (8/18/2020 4:30 pm)

Butano Creek Drainage (Zone SMC E055) (8/18/2020 4:30 pm)

Loma Mar/Deerborn Park Area (Zone SMC E018) (8/18/2020 5:00 PM)

Pescadero Creek County Park area (Zone SMC E024) (8/18/2020 5:00 pm)

East of Zayante Canyon west of State Route 17 and south of State Route 35 (Zones: CRZ 18, CRZ 19, CRZ 20) (8/20/2020 7:00 pm)


San Mateo County

Half Moon Bay High School, 1 Lewis Foster Drive, Half Moon Bay (AT CAPACITY)

San Mateo Event Center, 1346 Saratoga Drive

Santa Cruz County

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

Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, 307 Church Street, Santa Cruz (AT CAPACITY)

Seventh Day Adventist Camp Grounds, 1931 Soquel San Jose Rd (AT CAPACITY)

Cabrillo College, 6500 Soquel Drive, Aptos CA

Santa Cruz Bible Church, 440 Frederick Street, Santa Cruz

Simpkins Family Swim Center, 919 17th Ave (ADA only)

Twin Lakes Church, 2701 Cabrillo College Drive


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.

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

State Route 1 at Shaffer Road to Ano Nuevo

State Route 9 at Lower Glen Arbor to Rincon Trail head

Westbound Zayante at Graham Hill Dr to Lockwood

Empire Grade at Heller Drive

Westbound State Route 35 at Upper Zayante into San Mateo County

Westbound State Route 236 at Jamison Creek

Pine Flat at Empire Grade

Ice Cream Grade at Empire Grade

Felton Empire at Fall Creek

Empire Grade at Smith Grade

Empire Grade at Felton Empire

Bonny Doon Rd at Pine Flat

Alba Rd at Empire Grade

State Route 35 at Bear Creek Rd to Boulder Creek

Granite Creek at Scotts Valley, this includes southbound offramp closure at Highway 17 at Granite Creek

Westbound Mount Hermon at La Modrona to Graham Hill Road

Zayante at State Route 35

Santa Clara County

Foothills Park to Santa Clara County line, including Los Trancos Open Space (Zones: PA-E002) (8/23/2020 6:00 pm)

South of Moody Road, West of Rancho San Antonio Open Space, West of Black Mountain to Highway 35/ Skyline (Zones: PA – E001) (8/23/2020 6:00 pm)

Monte Bello Open Space Preserve, south of Monte Bello Road to Highway 35/Skyline. (Zones: PA – E006) (8/23/2020 6:00 pm)

Upper Stevens Creek County Park to Highway 35/Skyline. (Zones: PA-E008) (8/23/2020 6:00 pm)

West of Stevens Creek County Park, north of Congress Springs Road to Highway 35/Skyline (Zones: SCC-E025, SCC-E026) (8/23/2020 6:00 pm)

South of Congress Springs Road, west of Sanborn Road to Highway 35/Skyline, including Sanborn- Skyline County Park. (Zones: SCC-E010, SCC-E028) (8/23/2020 6 :00 pm)

South of Lyndon Canyon, west of Highway 17 to Highway 35 (Summit/Skyline), including the community of Redwood Estates. (Zones: SCC-E027, SCC-E013, SCCE015, SCC-E017) (8/23/2020 6:00 pm)