Thousands of residents have been evacuated due to the wildfire burning in the Santa Cruz Mountains south of San Francisco; according to authorities opportunistic criminals are burglarising their unoccupied houses.
Eight people have been detained on suspicion of looting or planning to loot neighbourhoods in Santa Cruz County, Sheriff Jim Hart said.
Sheriff Jim Hart ordered his deputies to pull over any non-police or non-fire department vehicles.
“I have no empathy, I have no patience for somebody who’s going to come into our community and steal from people who have been evacuated and victimised and traumatised,” Hart said during a news conference as quoted by the New York Post.
On Saturday, the LNU Lightning Complex in Northern California became the second-largest wildfire in state history, after the 2018 Mendocino Complex, according to Cal Fire. The LNU fire has scorched 314,000 acres, while the Mendocino Complex burned over 459,000 acres two years ago. Another active fire, the SCU Lightning Complex, currently ranks third, having burned over 291,968 acres.