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Thousands forced to flee Santa Cruz fire

August 13, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Thousands of residents have evacuated as a massive wildfire burns in the Santa Cruz Mountains on Thursday.The fire has burned close to 3,000 acres and is rapidly spreading. Wind gusts are expected to reach 20 to 30 miles per hour Thursday afternoon.

The wildfire began in the area of Scott Creek Canyon, just west of the Lockheed Martin facility at about 7:20 p.m.

The blaze, about 10 miles north of the coastal city of Santa Cruz, threatened more than 1,000 homes and other buildings by late Thursday.

Authorities issued a mandatory evacuation order Thursday for the entire community of Bonny Doon, which has about 2,000 residents and several wineries.

An evacuation center has been set up at Pacific Elementary School in the town of Davenport.

The American Red Cross has also established a shelter at Vintage Faith Church at 350 Mission St. in Santa Cruz.

The state hopes to have close to 100 strike teams on the scene by the end of the day Thursday.

There are no reports of any homes burned or injuries.

The fire is zero percent contained.

KGO and the Assocaited Press contributed to this story.

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