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August 13, 2022

Weather helps SCU firefighters

Wildfire has burned 365,000 acres east of San Jose, Morgan Hill

Firefighters made significant progress against the SCU Complex in the past day, bringing 25 percent of it under control and allowing Cal Fire to east more evacuation orders.

City of Morgan Hill staff released the following in an email to residents Wednesday morning: “During the evening, fire crews held existing control lines around the fire perimeter continuing to both reinforce and add new containment lines. When weather and conditions are favorable, there will be a controlled burn operation inside the control line. This controlled burn will widen the buffer and consume fuel between the edge of the fire and the control line. If residents see large columns of smoke, it most likely will be from the controlled burn. Fire crews and air crafts will continue to mitigate hazards.”

Areas east of Hill Road between Main Avenue and Maple Avenue, including Jackson Meadows, Jackson Oaks, Thomas Grade, and Holiday Lake Estates remain under evacuation warning.

At more than 365,000 acres across seven counties—north to south from the Tri-Valley to Salinas Valley, west to east from the South Bay to I-5—the SCU Lightning Complex remains the biggest fire still burning in California. It’s also the second-largest in the state’s recorded history.

The group of fires devouring the rugged backcountry east of Silicon Valley was sparked last week in a rare August lightning storm, growing from 20 smaller fires into a massive complex categorized into three sectors: Deer, Canyon and Calaveras zones.

In Contra Costa County, the Deer Zone is 100 percent contained, according to Cal Fire.

Mother Nature helped the 1,655 firefighters assigned to the SCU Complex rein it in, Cal Fire reported in one of its daily briefings. Toward the end of the day Tuesday, thanks to increased humidity, fire crews managed to hold the control line and add new breaks.

However, the state firefighting agency noted, “deep-seated heat still remains in the bottom of the steep, inaccessible drainages.”

The priority today, as ever, is to protect heavily populated areas, including the South Bay, by preventing the fires from escaping their mostly rural expanse.

So far, the fires have razed 31 buildings, damaged six more and injured five people.

In the mountains overlooking Silicon Valley from the south and west, the CZU Complex saw limited growth to about 80,000 acres. But the nearly 1,700 firefighters assigned to the blaze managed to bump up containment to 19 percent, thanks to milder weather.

The fires that ran through the Santa Cruz Mountains have been far more destructive, destroying more than 440 buildings and damaging 43 others. One person has died.

Fires known as the LNU Lightning Complex have killed five people and injured several more up in the North Bay. Today, it surpassed 357,000 acres, with a third of it under control, according to the morning update from Cal Fire.

Staff Report
A staff member edited this provided article.

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