Update 8/26, 2:00 p.m.: An evacuation warning for western portions of Santa Clara County was lifted on Tuesday afternoon (Aug. 25).
Earlier in the day, Cal Fire officials had expressed optimism in the battle against the CZU Lightning Complex fire in a briefing, taking advantage of favorable weather. The fire has burned more than 78,000 acres, destroyed 330 structures and is 17% contained, but Cal Fire Operations Chief Mark Brunton said firefighters are making "significant progress."
Brunton added that firefighters had created a strong line to thwart the fire along the northeastern edge of the complex, which is closest to Santa Clara County near regions of Palo Alto and Los Altos Hills. The line is expected to protect against potential wind gusts.
"The wind is a no factor," Brunton said. "It would have been a direct threat to Santa Clara County. We're very confident that's holding and we're going to be really looking good there."
In Monday briefing, CalFire officials said that the evacuation warning was issued on Sunday night (Aug. 23) for areas adjacent to Los Altos Hills due to the CZU Lightning Complex fire out of an "abundance of caution" ahead of potential thunderstorms and dry lightning coming into the region.
The Bay Area was largely spared by lightning, though a red flag warning — which is given for weather events which may lead to extreme fire behavior within 24 hours — was issued for the entire Bay Area until 5 p.m. Monday, as the potential for dry lightning and gusty winds could worsen the already-expansive wildfires.
There are no active wildfires in or threats to Los Altos Hills, but the town sent an alert prior to 8 p.m. for residents to be prepared “if an evacuation order is eventually issued.” Officials said there is no imminent threat to Santa Clara County from this fire complex.
Prior to Sunday, the only evacuation orders or warnings in Santa Clara County had been due to the SCU Lightning Complex fire on the eastern side of the county.
The new warnings apply to regions of Palo Alto in Foothills Park, as well as Los Trancos Open Space Preserve, Monte Bello Open Space Preserve and Stevens Creek County Park and stretching down to areas of the county past Lyndon Canyon. The areas adjacent to Los Altos Hills are west of I-280 along Page Mill Road and Moody Road.
For exact locations of the evacuation warning, please visit https://www.fire.ca.gov/incidents/2020/8/17/czu-lightning-complex-including-warnella-fire/. Click here for a map of the evacuation areas.