SANTA CRUZ COUNTY (KPIX 5) – As winds whipped up in the wildfire-ravaged Santa Cruz Mountains during the Red Flag Warning on Monday, Cal Fire crews were standing by, not taking any chances.
The agency has brought in two quick-strike crews – firefighters, fire engines and other equipment – to tackle any fires that break out in Santa Cruz Mountains and along the San Mateo County coast.
"We're pretty concerned about this wind event," Cal Fire Chief Ian Larkin told KPIX 5.
Larkin said late September and October are especially dangerous times during the fire season. Grass and brush are extremely dry and fires can started easily and spread quickly.
"People have just been on edge, with all of the fires occurring throughout the state. I think some people are probably feeling battle fatigue, especially those who survived and maybe have the potential for their home to be impacted again," Larkin said.
The landscape of the Santa Cruz Mountains still bears the scars of last year's massive CZU Lightning Complex Fire. The collective psyche of the people living in the area is scarred as well.
"I just think it's one of those things that's on everyone's minds," said Matt Randall of Boulder Creek. Randall said his family's home was spared, but fears they may not fare as well next time.
"When you're spared, you're grateful. But you can't help but feel for the people who were not," he said.
By mid-afternoon, the wind damage was still fairly limited. PG&E crews were busy clearing a tree which fell on their power lines outside Boulder Creek.
Survivors of last year's CZU wildfire hope their luck holds.
"We were here for the last fire. And when we saw the fire and the actual flames on the hill, we were like, 'This is not good," recalled Nicole Knight.
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