Gusty winds fuel California brush fires, hamper firefighters
Firefighters this morning were battling several large brush fires across California, including a wind-driven blaze in the Santa Cruz Mountains that was threatening several towns and forced thousands to evacuate.
The greatest danger is posed by the blaze burning north of Santa Cruz, which has destroyed two structures and consumed more than 2,800 acres and is 15% contained. Named the Lockheed fire, the blaze is being driven by heavy winds, and hand crews have experienced trouble reaching the fire lines. As a result, the fire is mostly being fought by air. That fire started Wednesday evening and is threatening Swanton, Davenport and Bonny Doon.
A second large fire roaring through Los Padres National Forest about 26 miles east of Santa Maria has grown, forcing some residents to flee.
Smaller fires were also being battled elsewhere in Northern California this afternoon including near the Central Valley town of Tracy and in Yuba County near Lake Francis. A fire in Trinity County was expected to be contained today.