SANTA CRUZ COUNTY (BCN) — Two wildfires burning for weeks and months in Santa Clara and Monterey counties were fully contained as of Wednesday evening.
The Loma Fire that sparked near Loma Chiquita and Loma Prieta roads in the Santa Cruz Mountains on the afternoon of Sept. 26 burned through 4,474 acres, Cal Fire officials said.
The fire northwest of Morgan Hill led to many evacuations for residents in Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties who have since been allowed to return home, according to Cal Fire.
The blaze destroyed 12 homes and 16 outbuildings and damaged one residence, Cal Fire officials said.
As of Wednesday evening, 62 firefighters remained at the scene to conduct suppression operations, remove equipment, mop up the area and patrol, according to Cal Fire.
Although road closures have been lifted, motorists are advised to drive slowly through the area where crews continue to work, Cal Fire officials said.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
The larger Soberanes Fire in Monterey County charred 132,127 acres south of Carmel-by-the-Sea and east of Big Sur, fire officials said.
The widespread blaze started on the morning of July 22 at Garrapata State Park by an illegal campfire and took 83 days to reach 100 percent containment, according to fire officials.
Park property east of state Highway 1 will stay closed through the spring to allow for repairs and natural resources to heal from the intense fire, state park officials said.
The blaze led to many downed trees, loose soil and cleared vegetation, according to state park officials.
Within the first week of the fire, 35-year-old Robert Oliver Reagan III of Friant in Fresno County died while operating a bulldozer that rolled over, fire officials said.
There were 57 homes and 11 outbuildings ruined by the blaze, according to fire officials.
The Soberanes Fire won’t be fully controlled until a “season-ending rain event” takes place by mid-December, fire officials said.
More than a dozen other firefighting personnel suffered minor injuries between both blazes, which burned in inaccessible and steep terrain, according to fire officials.