Loma Fire: Growing wildfire in Santa Cruz mountains threatens 300 homes, California

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Santa Clara County residents living near the Loma Fire in Santa Cruz mountains, California have been ordered to evacuate yesterday after a dangerous wildfire broke out on September 26, 2016.

Firefighters from throughout California are aggressively fighting the fire which continues to spread in the Loma Chiquita Road and Loma Prieta Road area of the Santa Cruz mountains. The fire is burning in steep inaccessible terrain covered in dry drought stressed fuels.

By 01:30 UTC on September 28 (18:30 PDT on September 27), the fire has consumed 910 hectares (2 250 acres) and was 10% contained. 1 single residence and 6 outbuildings have been destroyed.

Loma Fire Santa Cruz Mountains map as of 01:30 UTC on September 28, 2016

Loma Fire Santa Cruz mountains map as of 01:30 UTC on September 28, 2016. Credit: Cal Fire, Google

Loma Fire view from above Calero Reservoir by Ron Horii via SCCountyParks

Loma Fire view from above Calero Reservoir by Ron Horii via SCCountyParks

Loma Fire - Santa Cruz Mountains September 2016 by Scott Balentine

Loma Fire – Santa Cruz mountains, September 2016. Credit: Scott Balentine (via Twitter)

Mandatory evacuation orders are in place for the Loma Prieta ridgeline area including all tributary roads along Summit Road from Soquel San Jose Road to Ormsby Fire Station. This includes Uvas Canyon County Park, Loma Chiquita, Casa Loma, Loma Prieta Way, Highland Road and Mount Bache Road. Portions of Croy Road are under an evacuation warning.

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This fire is spreading very fast, very aggressively in almost the complete absence of wind, fire officials said.

This kind of "extreme" fire behavior is the "new norm," according to Cal Fire Battalion Chief Mike Mathiesen. "It's fall, we're coming off a four-day heat wave."

Firefighters expect the fire to be fully contained by October 3.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. 

Featured image credit: KCBSNews

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