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Posted on: August 26, 2020

News Release - City of Half Moon Bay Declares Local Emergency Related to CZU Complex Fires

Beaches to be closed over the weekend. Please click here to read the full press release.

Half Moon Bay, CA – As the City’s Director of Emergency Services, Half Moon Bay’s City Manager has declared a state of local emergency in response to the CZU Complex fires. This declaration was made on Wednesday, August 26, and is subject to ratification by the City Council within seven days. That ratification is on the agenda for the City Council meeting of September 1, 2020.

Given the presence of evacuees and fire safety personnel along the coast, Half Moon Bay will once again close its beaches from sunrise on Saturday, August 29 to sunrise on Monday, August 31 in an effort to keep roads clear for evacuees and emergency personnel. Camping reservations at California State Parks along the coast have also been cancelled through Monday, and beaches and parking lots within the San Mateo County Harbor District will be closed well. Additionally, San Mateo County parks along the coast will be closed.

There are a number of issues which led City Manager Bob Nisbet to make the emergency declaration. The CZU Lightning Complex Fire has forced the evacuation of a great number of residents from the unincorporated south coast area, many of whom have been evacuated to Half Moon Bay. Half Moon Bay High School has been designated as a check-in point for evacuees, where they may obtain water, food, information, and other resources. Portions of Highways 84 and 35, and Highway 1 south of Half Moon Bay, have been closed due to the fire, leaving only northbound Highway 1 and eastbound Highway 92 as evacuation routes from Half Moon Bay and the coast.

Compounded by the existing COVID-19 state of local emergency (implemented March 17, 2020), these conditions are (or are likely to be) beyond the control of the services, personnel, equipment, and facilities of the City. Further, the efforts required to prepare for, respond to, mitigate, and recover from the local effects of the CZU Lightning Complex fires are continuing to impose extraordinary requirements and expenses on the City, diverting resources from its day-to-day operations.

While Half Moon Bay is not at this time directly threatened by the wildfires, our City is under great strain as evacuations continue, and because of our location in relation to fire-related road closures which create a traffic pinch-point here,” said Mr. Nisbet. “Taking this measure now is crucial to how we can best protect the community of Half Moon Bay, provide support and assistance to evacuees and others who are in dire need during this situation, and ensure that we are eligible for FEMA reimbursement funds.”

A declaration of emergency provides the City with additional powers such as authorization to issue orders and regulations, immunity for emergency actions, and the ability to request state or federal assistance and activate pre-established emergency provisions. San Mateo County has already declared a local emergency (August 19, 2020) to aid in providing resources needed to fight the CZU Lightning Complex Fire.

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