Bay Area, Central Coast Fires: 1,500+ Structures Leveled So Far

Five major fire events throughout the Central Coast and northern California have destroyed at least 1,509 structures, various Cal Fire units announced Sunday morning.

The SCU Lightning Complex, the River Fire, the Carmel Fire, the CZU Lightning Complex and the LNU Lightning Complex have chewed through 892,313 acres across 15 counties.

There have been 14 injuries and six deaths. The fires have also forced tens of thousands of residents to evacuate their homes over the last two weeks.

Several of those evacuation orders had lifted by Saturday. All Monterey County residents ordered to flee their properties because of the River and Carmel fires were allowed to return home, as firefighters continued to make headway in both of those battles.

Many residents on the outskirts of the SCU fires have also returned home. But the heart of the 377,471-acre fire event centered near a mesh point of Santa Clara, Alameda, Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties remained off-limits.

The SCU is the second-largest fire ever recorded in the state’s history—it has swapped positions with the ongoing LNU Lightning Complex burning in Napa, Sonoma, Solano, Yolo and Lake counties over the last week—and has scorched mostly uninhabited land.

That has not been the case with the CZU Lightning Complex.

The CZU has charred 84,640 acres as of Sunday and flattened 1,177 structures—nearly all of them in Santa Cruz County. That includes at least 726 homes, the majority of them in and around the mountain towns of Boulder Creek and Bonny Doon. The county of Santa Cruz created an interactive damage assessment map to track the devastation.

Those numbers, which Cal Fire has said will continue to increase as it pushes further into the fire zone, make it the ninth-most destructive fire ever recorded in the state.

The LNU fire is 10th.

Santa Cruz County on Saturday opened the Kaiser Permanente Arena—the home of the Golden State Warriors’ development-league affiliate—as a resource center where county residents impacted by the fire can find help from government agencies and nonprofits.

Residents and business owners impacted by any California wildfire are also urged to register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Small Business Administration to receive federal disaster assistance.

Some residents of Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties were also allowed to repopulate in recent days. CZU has lifted fire evacuation orders for the UC Santa Cruz campus, the city of Scotts Valley, Lompico, Zayante and eastern portions of the San Lorenzo Valley.

Many of the areas of San Mateo County affected by the fire evacuations have also been allowed to repopulate.

Gov. Gavin Newsom in a Friday afternoon press conference said there were some 14,600 firefighters battling fires across the state.

The Breakdown

SCU Complex

  • 377,471 acres
  • 50% contained
  • 53 structures destroyed
  • 2,025 personnel

LNU Complex 

  • 375,209 acres
  • 56% contained
  • 1,209 structures destroyed
  • 2,819 personnel

CZU Complex 

  • 84,640 acres
  • 35% contained
  • 1,177 structures destroyed
  • 2,142 personnel

River Fire

  • 48,732 acres
  • 76% contained
  • 30 structures destroyed
  • 954 personnel

Carmel Fire

  • 6,767 acres
  • 81% contained
  • 73 structures destroyed
  • 274 personnel

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