Calif. declares emergency as several wildfires spread
DAVENPORT, Calif. - Fire crews fanned out yesterday across a parched California where wind-whipped wildfires have forced hundreds of people to flee their homes and led to an emergency declaration in Santa Cruz County.
In the Santa Cruz Mountains, the Lockheed Fire has blackened 6.5 square miles and prompted mandatory evacuations of the communities of Swanton and Bonny Doon, which have about 2,400 residents.
Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi declared a state of emergency for Santa Cruz County. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was out of state attending the funeral of his mother-in-law, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, was expected to tour the fire zone today.
The blaze, which started Wednesday about 10 miles north of Santa Cruz, was only about 5 percent contained, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said. The fire was threatening more than 1,000 homes and buildings.
Farther down the coast, some 1,800 firefighters were battling a wildfire around Los Padres National Forest that had grown to nearly 105 square miles.
In Alameda County, more than 300 firefighters were struggling to control a grass fire that had grown to about 16 square miles near Tracy, and in Yuba County, north of Sacramento, two wildfires began yesterday.