Loma fire causes destruction across Santa Cruz Mountains


Don DeBold/CC BY 2.0

The Loma Fire burns in the Santa Cruz Mountains on Sept. 26.

Rachel Borshchenko, Staff Writer

A devastating fire has been raging through the Santa Cruz Mountains since Sept. 26 and has grown to nearly 4,000 acres in size.

At least one home has been destroyed so far, and over 300 others are threatened by the fire, causing evacuations of hundreds of people.

Due to the hot weather and rugged terrain of the Santa Cruz Mountains, the blaze, called the Loma Fire, has become very difficult to contain as it spreads quickly and burns through some areas twice.

California Fire spokesperson Bud England said that although the fire has been especially difficult to deal with due to hot temperatures and low humidity, progress has been made.

“Obviously our focus is life and property, so structures and homes are a high priority for us. We’re going to do structure defense and take precaution in those areas,” said Englund.

A structure fire is said to have caused the start of the blaze. Before fire officials could put out the initial fire, the fire spread quickly in size from one acre to 25 acres.

Firefighters are currently doing a full investigation into whether or not the fire could have anything to do with an illegal marijuana-growing operation.

This year, the number of acres burning in California are slightly higher than the average. This is partly due to the Soberanes Fire, which has been raging through the Los Padres National Forest near Big Sur in Southern California.

“The fact that this fire is so close to our area is scary. People should be a lot more careful with fires in the wild because they never know the destruction that something small could cause, like this fire,” said junior Isabel Mayoss. 

A large number of firefighters have been called in to fight the blaze. So far no firefighters have been injured. However, as of Sept. 29, the fire is only 22 percent contained. The department hopes to have the fire fully contained by Oct. 3.

“The days are going to be continuously cooler as we progress, so we’re hoping that coupled with the [number of resources] we have coming in across the state will help fight this fire,” California Fire Captain Nick Wallingford.

As the fire continues to burn, firefighters hope to minimize the number of evacuations and have the fire contained in the shortest amount of time possible.


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