Wildfire Scorches Santa Cruz

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 15, 2009 6:16 AM CDT
Firefighters work to save a structure in Santa Cruz County, Calif., as fire approaches from behind.   (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
camera-icon View 4 more images

(Newser) – The first major California wildfire of the season has consumed over 5,000 acres in Santa Cruz County and won't be fully contained for a week, the San Jose Mercury News reports. Over a thousand firefighters are battling the blaze in rugged terrain that hadn't had a major fire in over 50 years, and a hot, dry, windy weekend is expected to make their job tougher.

Firefighters, struggling to save buildings in woody areas, fear that the winds could turn the fire towards the community of Bonny Doon. Some 2,400 residents have been evacuated from the area but several hundred, including singer Billy Ray Martin, have vowed to stay put for as long as they can. Their plan, Martin's wife says, is to "get the hell out when the time comes." (Read more Santa Cruz stories.)