Wildfire spreads through Santa Cruz Mountains

Popular Soquel Demonstration Forest affected

A wildfire in the South Bay of San Francisco has prompted California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to declare the Santa Cruz Mountain fire zone, a popular mountain biking region, a state of emergency late Thursday.

"I have heard through friends at (Specialized) that the fire has reached Buzzard Lagoon which is right around the corner from Demo," said Specialized employee Jason McDonald. Soquel Demonstration State Forest is where most magazine photo shoots are held for Specialized and Santa Cruz, among others, and is a hotspot for prototype testing.

"I have two co-workers who are being evacuated as we speak because the wind is blowing the fire directly towards their homes. Any prayers for them are appreciated," he added.

The wildfire has burned at least 3,000 acres near Mount Madonna County Park about 10 miles west of Gilroy, an area that covers 4.6 square miles.

Fire officials estimate the fire could spread to 10,000 acres before they can put it out.

"I want to extend my deepest appreciation to the brave firefighters," Schwarzenegger declared to the California media. "As I’ve said many times before, we have the most courageous, talented and best trained firefighters in the world. They are doing a great job fighting the Summit Fire."

The fire started at about 5:30 a.m. Thursday off Summit Road near Loma Prieta Road in the Santa Cruz mountains. Officials said smoldering brush from a homeowner's legally permitted burn ignited the wildfire. Cool temperatures and low winds may help firefighters.

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