Early Fires Cause for Concern

Bonny Doon, CA – For the second time in less than a month, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared a state of emergency in Santa Cruz County. This time, it's to help fight the Martin Fire burning in Bonny Doon. It started late Wednesday afternoon on Martin Road.

While May's Summit Fire was primarily fueled by wind, this fire is getting most of its fuel from the dry weather. "The lack of rainfall over the last three months, last year's lack of rainfall accumulation, vegetation is really at a critical state. It's really at a state we'd see more in September," said CalFire Battalion Chief Paul VanGerwin. He's alarmed both by the number of fires already burning in California and their size. "We are containing 95% of our fires at 10 acres or less. We're having fires that we're barely catching this year. This one was in an area we couldn't get to quick enough and now it's grown in size," added VanGerwin. He calls these early wildfires a wake-up call to create defensible space around your home and know what you would take if you were given less than 20 minutes to get out. It's a decision faced by the 1700 people ordered to evacuate the Bonny Doon area as the Martin Fire grew Wednesday and Thursday.