California Fire Near Santa Cruz Controlled

October 27, 2009

Residents in the Santa Cruz mountains have been allowed to return to their homes after being evacuated Sunday in the face of a forest fire driven by high winds.

The fire in the Summit area north of Santa Cruz burned 485 acres and destroyed some outbuildings. About 85 people to evacuate and sending scores of firefighters and other resources to the area. It was reported to be about 55 percent contained late Monday.

The fire may have been started by fire crews burning brush. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Darrell Wolf, a battalion chief for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, admitted that he had supervised crews doing controlled burns of brush piles in the area the week before the fires.

But, he also said he returned to the area Saturday to inspect and did not see any smoldering.

The fire began Sunday, at about 3 a.m. It began on a ridge in Santa Clara County and quickly spread down a canyon, into Santa Cruz County. It was driven by howling winds.

The winds began to abate late Sunday afternoon, which allowed firefighters to set up some containment lines.

Four firefighters were injured and one trailer and two sheds went up in the flames.

The fire occurred near an area where a wildfire last year destroyed 29 homes and threatened the Mount Madonna retreat cente

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