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March 3, 2021

High winds cause fires, power outages

Boulder Creek evacuations expected, more than 25,000 out of power in county

SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS—Heavy overnight and early-morning winds have sparked multiple fires across Santa Cruz County, Cal Fire CZU reported Tuesday morning.

Firefighters reported several fires, including one off of Highway 9 in Boulder Creek, another near Empire Grade Road and Alba Road, a 20-acre fire at the intersection of China Grade Road and Foxglove Lane, and a fire on Fanning Grade, due to downed power lines from high winds.

Wednesday at 9am, Cal Fire updated the spread and containment percentage of several fires. The Bloom fire is 8 acres and 50% contained.  The Fanning fire burned 18.81 acres and is 95% contained. The Empire Grade fire near Alba Road is 6 acres and 0% contained. The China Grade fire is 20 acres and 95% contained. The Panther Ridge fire on Stapp Road is now 25 acres and 70% contained.  Most fires are expected to be contained this evening, with more than 100 acres burned in Santa Cruz County.

Evacuation notifications have been issued by the Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Office for residents near Panther Ridge. Approximately 20 homes were evacuated by the Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Office.  According to the Sheriff’s Office, no more evacuations are expected in San Lorenzo Valley and the evacuation orders were lifted Wednesday afternoon.

The County has established a temporary evacuation center at the Corralitos Community Church, 26 Browns Valley Rd., with the help of the Red Cross. Refreshments, resources, and links to other services will be provided for evacuees.

As of Tuesday morning more than 13,000 households in San Lorenzo and Scotts Valley lost power due to high winds throughout the night of Jan. 19. Those households remained without power overnight and into Wednesday morning. The U.S. National Weather Service issued a wind advisory from 10pm Sunday until 6pm Tuesday, due to winds of 15 to 25 mph with gusts 40 to 50 mph expected.  

A PG&E spokesperson said Wednesday morning, “In areas where hazards have been cleared, including parts of Scotts Valley and Boulder Creek, we are working to restore power by late this afternoon. In other areas where damage is significant, power will be restored as quickly as possible due to challenges that are being cleared today.”

Many roads were closed due to fallen trees and downed power lines, like Kings Village Road, Graham Hill Road, Highway 9 at 3 locations, Glen Arbor Road in Ben Lomond and south of Felton, and East Zayante Road. In the Kings Village Shopping Center many business owners arrived to disarray. Bruno’s Bar and Grill’s outdoor heaters and Perfect Union’s canopy tents were destroyed from the wind.

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