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Posted on: August 24, 2020

Special eNews - Update on CZU Lightning Complex Fire, Beach Closures

Read the latest eNews which provides the latest update on the CZU Lightning Complex Fire.

Please see the update below from San Mateo County on the CZU Lightning Complex Fire. The City has created a webpage that includes links and resources for evacuees and the community. As the lead agencies, the County’s fire webpage and CalFire’s incident page should be your main sources for up-to-date, accurate information. As we receive updates from both entities, we will include on our webpage and social media (see below for social media links). We will send out a Special eNews for any updates that are more than routine in nature. Otherwise, please stay up to date with the websites mentioned.

As you’re aware, the City closed its beaches this past weekend in an effort to keep roads as clear as possible for emergency personnel and evacuees. There was a strong push on social media and other methods (news release, SMC Alert, evening news interviews, etc.) by all agencies involved, and the goal was to get the word out as far as possible. We received many inquiries regarding enforcement and the number of people at the beach. We wanted to clarify that while we did close our beaches, the intent was to keep roads clear. With the fire burning just south of us, there simply weren’t enough resources to enforce the closure. Many reports were that traffic was down compared to other weekends and days, so we hope the message reached enough people that it encouraged them to stay home. We knew we could not reach everyone, but if we reached enough that emergency personnel and evacuees could travel without delays, that would be worth the effort. Thank you for your patience as we continue to be supportive to our neighboring communities.

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The fire grew to 78,000 acres across portions of southern San Mateo County and northern Santa Cruz County with 13 percent containment as of this morning.

Approximately 77,000 people have been evacuated from an area roughly bounded by Highway 84 to the north, Highway 35 (Skyline Boulevard) to the east and Highway 17 to the south.

A total of 231 structures have been destroyed across both counties. Approximately 24,300 structures remain threatened.

A Red Flag Warning previously issued for the coastal region by the National Weather Service has been lifted.

While many evacuees are eager to return to their homes to assess damage, Jonathan Cox, a CalFire deputy chief, asks for “a lot of patience.” Cox said the evacuation zone is extremely dangerous in areas where fire is no longer active due to charred trees, burned-out bridges, hazardous waste and risks.

For instance, the bridge over Gazos Creek is being assessed for safety by crews from San Mateo County Parks and the Department of Public Works. It is currently unsafe to cross, and officials remind the public never to drive across a bridge following a wildfire until it has been inspected and cleared by professionals.

Six people required emergency rescue over the weekend as they sought to return to their property in the fire zone without authorization. This depleted resources that could otherwise have been focusing on firefighting and other public safety priorities.

For CalFire updates, follow https://twitter/CALFIRECZU or sign up for email updates at https://tinyurl.com/czulightning

For information about the County of San Mateo’s response as well as evacuation zone maps, go to https://www.smcgov.org/smc-wildfire-response

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