ABC 7 smells something funny about the Loma Fire, sparked Monday somewhere near the summit of Loma Prieta Mountain off Loma Prieta Avenue and Loma Chiquita Road, which has since burned through almost 4,000 acres in the Santa Cruz Mountains, forcing evacuations. ABC 7's investigative unit speculates that the initial cause of the fire could have been an illegal pot grow, the kind they'd previously investigated in the area as recently as August after nearby neighbors expressed concern, including fears of fire.
Sources whom ABC 7 identified as "close to the Cal Fire investigation" say investigators have got their eyes on one particular spot, pinpointed in video taken by a UPS driver on Monday. That site, according to KGO, "appears to contain a legal marijuana grow, a suspected illegal pot farm, and a possible meth lab." KGO further notes that illegal pot growers are often armed, per a DEA special agent, and that popping sounds from the UPS driver's video sound like they might be butane canisters exploding. Butane, they add in further speculation, is used in the "highly-flammable" process of making hash oil. As far as a formal investigation "That can take up to you know weeks, months, possibly years to pinpoint that," Loma Fire spokesperson Jonathan Cox told the news channel.
The San Jose MercuryNews writes that the fire's growth as slowed and that officials expect to contain it fully by Monday despite some heavy wind between now and then .“Even though we had high temperatures, we’ve had marine layer recovery every night, and we’ve had light winds, which have been key,” said Cal Fire spokesperson Pam Temmermand tells the Merc.
1,700 fire personnel are at work fighting the blaze, up from 500 two days ago, and it's just one of many in a fire season that's been fairly brutal. Malcolm Kennedy, a Cal Fire firefighter based in Butte County, has been consistently busy. “I love my job, but it’s definitely been a long summer” he says.