Loma Fire: Not Many Staying at Soquel High Evac Center

About 18 miles south of the front line of the Loma Fire sits Soquel High School. It was the first of three evacuation centers opened Monday for those who needed food and shelter after fleeing their homes.

The center, at 401 Old San Jose Road in Soquel, had a steady stream of evacuees Monday evening, but not many of them stuck around. Instead, they headed back to the fire line to see if their homes were still around.

"We have about 10 people here right now," said Craig Jenni, of the Red Cross, which also set up evacuee centers at the Jewish Community Center of Silicon Valley, 14855 Oka Road in Los Gatos and the Morgan Hill Presbyterian Church, 16970 DeWitt Ave. in Morgan Hill.

Many of the estimated 300 evacuees stopped by the Soquel High campus, but the stay was short.

"I was just planning to have an early dinner, watch the debate, and it turned out to be different," evacuee Lisa Ryan said.

Some people checked into hotels, while others just decided to rest in their vehicles, as close to their homes as officials would allow.

Emergency pet and animal shelters saw a number of drop-offs.

"We are welcoming any animals if people are being evacuated from their homes," said Melanie Sobel of the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter.

Four animals were being kept there while their owner, whose house was threatened by the fire, looked for a more permanent family shelter.

"We will make it work," Sobel said.

Even with the low turnout of evacuees at the center, the giving remained high. Dozens of residents signed up to volunteer or donate.

"I brought all kinds of stuff like clothes, toothbrushes and things like that," said Leanna Nicholson.

The Loma Fire had burned more than 1,000 acres and was still threatening hundreds of structures by late Monday night.

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