Video: Aerial attack of Santa Cruz Mountains Fire

(KRON) — Cal Fire is throwing its massive aerial fleet at the Loma Fire in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

The fire has now charred 1,500 acres, destroying one home, damaging another, and leading to hundreds of evacuations, Cal Fire said.

The Loma Fire sparked in the area of Loma Prieta and Loma Chiquita roads about 10 miles northwest of Morgan Hill around 2:50 p.m. Monday, Cal Fire officials said.

The area is north of the border between Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties, where a large plume of smoke could be seen for miles.

A heat wave stifling drought-stricken California worsened a wildfire Tuesday that burned some buildings and forced people from their homes in remote communities along the Santa Cruz Mountains.

The blaze in a rugged area about 30 miles south of San Jose destroyed two houses and charred more than 3 square miles of dry brush and timber, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Flames lit up the mountainside above a roller coaster at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, and a residence was reduced to rubble, though its hot tub still stood. The fire consumed a large home sitting on a hilltop plot and poured out thick, black smoke, while another house sat unscathed below.

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The blaze broke out Monday during a statewide heat wave, and crews prepared for another day of witheringly low humidity and temperatures in the upper 90s.

On Monday, the fire had spread to more than 400 acres as of 5:40 p.m., and grown to 1,000 acres by 9:30 p.m.

The blaze has charred through 1,500 acres and was 5 percent contained as of this afternoon, fire Capt. Brian Oliver said.

It has spread to the Mount Loma Prieta, Mount Chual and Uvas Creek drainages, Cal Fire officials said.

Roughly 300 structures are threatened and numerous residents of Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties have been evacuated, Oliver said.

Reverse 911 calls have been sent to affected Santa Clara County residents through the AlertSCC notification system, Cal Fire officials said.

Residents have been ordered to leave the Loma Prieta ridgeline area that includes Uvas Canyon County Park and Summit Road from Soquel San Jose Road to the Ormsby Fire Station, according to Cal Fire.

In Santa Clara County, deputies helped evacuate people on Loma Prieta, Casa Loma, Summit, Uvas and Loma Chiquita roads, sheriff’s officials said.

In Santa Cruz County, people have been advised to evacuate Summit Road between Loma Prieta and the Ormsby Cutoff, county officials said.

An evacuation center initially set up at Soquel High School at 401 Old San Jose Road in Soquel has moved to the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds’ Grange Hall at 2601 East Lake Avenue in Watsonville, county officials said.

Grange Hall at 2601 East Lake Avenue in Watsonville, county officials said.

Other centers are available at the Jewish Community Center of Silicon Valley at 14855 Oka Road in Los Gatos and Morgan Hill Presbyterian Church at 16970 De Witt Ave. in Morgan Hill, Cal Fire officials said.

Traffic has been blocked in multiple areas including Loma Chiquita Road, Mount Bache Road at Highland Road and Mount Madonna Road at Pole Line Road, Cal Fire officials said.

Road, Cal Fire officials said.Residents are allowed to travel on Croy and Uvas roads, according to Cal Fire.

More than 500 firefighters are working to extinguish the blaze with assistance from helicopter, air tanker and water tender crews, according to Cal Fire.

Many firefighters from San Jose, the Bay Area and throughout the state have been sent to help extinguish the blaze working under 24-hour shifts, Oliver said.

The high temperatures have increased the need for crews to stay hydrated and stay ahead of the “fatigue factor,” Oliver said.

The state’s Office of Emergency Service has sent its large animal rescue volunteer group to rescue horses and other livestock, according to Oliver.Those with livestock can seek assistance at the Santa Cruz County

Those with livestock can seek assistance at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds and Santa Cruz County Horsemen’s Association grounds on Graham Hill Road, American Red Cross officials said.

The blaze has led to a power outage for 191 PG&E customers in Santa Clara County as of this afternoon, utility officials said.

PG&E crews were sent to Uvas and Croy roads this afternoon to cut vegetation near power poles and spray the poles with fire retardant to lessen the chance of damage from the blaze, according to PG&E.

No injuries had been reported as of this afternoon. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Anyone looking for more information on the fire can call the Loma Fire public hotline at (408) 779-0930.

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