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August 13, 2022

County opens resource hub for fire evacuees

SCU Lightning Complex fire burns east of Morgan Hill

Santa Clara Valley residents ordered to evacuate to escape the SCU Lightning Complex fire can find shelter at the Milpitas Library starting at 5pm this evening.

The American Red Cross will staff the library-turned-emergency resource center, where families impacted by the raging wildfires can find out what to do next.

Though the facility at 160 N. Main St. is not a shelter, staff can help evacuees figure out where to stay if they need that kind of help.

“All residents under an evacuation order are urged to take rapid action and leave the area immediately ahead of the fast-moving and unpredictable wildfire,” advises a news release issued late afternoon Wednesday by Santa Clara County.

The fire that prompted local officials to authorize the Milpitas shelter comes amid an unprecedented dovetailing of disasters, from storms and heat to fires and blackouts.

Extraordinary thunderstorms on Sunday brought upward of 10,800 lightning strikes in Northern California that sparked 367 fires, many of which morphed into raging infernos that kept burning and building through today.

Smoke from burning wildlands amid a historic heat wave and parched air have coalesced into an apocalyptic haze blanketing Santa Clara Valley and beyond.

With so many fires burning throughout the upper half of the state, Cal Fire resorted to naming clusters of blazes instead of christening each one.

The resulting monikers: CZU in Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties, SCU in Santa Clara, Contra Costa and Alameda counties and the LNU Lightning Complex in Sonoma.

According to Cal Fire, the SCU Lightning Complex, which sparked Tuesday morning as 20 separate fires and burgeoned into an 85,000-acre blaze by late afternoon today, is only 5 percent contained and threatens to spread to the eastern edge of San Jose.

“Some of the terrain has little to no fire history with decadent fuels conducive to extreme fire growth,” per a Cal Fire status update.

Today, Cal Fire reported having crews  scout for safe access points to put up fire lines and protect as many structures as possible in the east hills.

To stay abreast of the latest updates, sign up for the county’s emergency notices at alertscc.org. As of late afternoon Wednesday, evacuation orders in response to 20 separate fires in Santa Clara County were ordered for the following areas:

  • East of San Jose city limits
  • South of Mt. Hamilton Road
  • North of Metcalf and San Felipe roads, east to the county line
  • East of San Antonio Valley to Del Puerto Canyon roads to the county line

According to Santa Clara County Fire Chief Tony Bowden, four separate fires in Santa Cruz County grew from about 2,000 acres the other day to 50,000 acres and counting. The flames are moving southeast into Boulder Creek and Ben Lomond by Highway 9 and Bear Creek Road—just a few miles from the Santa Clara County border.

Staff Report
A staff member edited this provided article.

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