The weather also helped firefighters make progress against the C.Z.U. Lightning Complex north of Santa Cruz, which has grown to 78,000 acres but is now 13 percent contained.
A 70-year-old man was killed in the fire and found near his home, officials said at a news conference on Monday, adding that he was “likely leaving the fire” in his vehicle. They added that the city of Santa Cruz was not under a direct threat, though thousands of residents from the area are still under evacuation orders.
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Some who are seeking shelter with friends worry about exposing them to the virus.
For families who might ordinarily flee to the homes of relatives or close friends, worries about the virus have complicated those decisions.
Chelsea Sterrett and her husband, both high school teachers, were in the midst of their first week of online instruction when they were ordered to evacuate, as the River Fire, south of Salinas, approached last week.
So they packed up their three children (ages 7, 5 and 1) and a dog, and left home to stay with family friends whom they hadn’t seen in months because of the pandemic.
“The immediate crisis of the fire was bigger than our concerns about Covid,” Ms. Sterrett wrote.
Kevin Susco wrote in an email late last week that his daughter-in-law asked on Tuesday if she and her son, who were under an evacuation warning in Boulder Creek, could stay with him and his wife in Palo Alto.
Their son, he said, is an Army Reservist currently in Kuwait.
“We’ve been together only briefly since the pandemic, because my wife and I are both in our sixties, and we take the threat from the virus seriously,” he wrote in an email. “But we didn’t think about it too much before we said, sure, come over if you need to evacuate.”