Archive for Monday, August 17, 2009

Evacuation order lifted but fire threat remains

August 17, 2009

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— Hundreds of residents returned home when an evacuation order was lifted in a Santa Cruz mountain town Sunday, even as hot and dry winds fanned nearly a dozen wildfires across the state.

Bonny Doon residents trickling home along newly reopened roads were relieved to be out of immediate danger, but still apprehensive because containment lines built by firefighters are holding back only half the blaze. That fire has burned through about 10 square miles of the rugged terrain since Wednesday.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Santa Cruz’s Lockheed Fire was among 11 burning in the state. A state of emergency was declared in the county, while other blazes forced evacuations and knocked out power in other parts of the state.

Fire crews were unable to fight the blaze by air Sunday because of the heavy smoke, but made good progress on the ground along the western and southern ends of the wildfire.

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