CZU Lightning fires at 78,000 acres, 13 percent containment

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The CZU August Lightning Complex wildfires in southern San Mateo County and northern Santa Cruz County had grown to 78,000 acres, and were 13 percent contained as of Monday morning.

Over 24,000 structures remain under threat, and 231 have been confirmed destroyed across both counties, officials said. Just over 1,500 firefighters are battling the blazes.

Cal Fire officials remained optimistic Monday due to favorable weather conditions. No known lightning strikes occurred in the San Mateo-Santa Cruz areas overnight despite a red flag warning in the state. The red flag warning was expected to last until 5 p.m. Monday.

The CZU August Lightning Complex fires were among 367 wildfires that began last week throughout the state following 11,000 lightning strikes over a 72-hour period. The lightning strikes were caused by a tropical storm in the Pacific.

In the last 24 hours, more humid weather has allowed firefighters to make significant process on creating control lines to protect communities, particularly in the north end of the fire in San Mateo County. On the coast, some of the fires have self-mitigated due to the weather conditions, and a protective control line has been established around the community, officials said.

Control lines have also been established on the south end of the fire, including one from Highway 1 to Highway 9, to protect UC Santa Cruz and the City of Santa Cruz. Fire officials are “confident these lines are going to hold.” Felton is “still looking pretty good,” they added.

Meanwhile, dozens of law enforcement officials continue to monitor evacuation zones for suspicious people or for property owners attempting to return to their homes. Since Sunday night, three people were arrested in Santa Cruz County for being in the evacuation zone. Two of them were additionally arrested on outstanding warrants.

In San Mateo County, six people who entered the restricted areas to check on their properties had to be rescued due to encroaching fires. No injuries were reported during the rescue, officials said.

Visit the regional evacuations portal for more information. Visit Cal Fire’s incident map for more information on the status of wildfires throughout the state.

Headline image: UC Santa Cruz Police posted this photo thanking Brooke and Malia for creating a sign at the UC Santa Cruz main entrance expressing gratitude to first responders.