Aug. 19, 2020
REDWOOD CITY— The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors today proclaimed a local emergency as lightning-sparked fires forced evacuations and burned through dense vegetation near Loma Mar and South Coast areas.

The Board voted 5-0 in emergency session to approve the proclamation, which makes the County eligible for federal reimbursement for some costs associated with the response and additional flexibility for staffing and purchasing.

As of this afternoon, a series of fires collectively called the CZU August Lightning Complex Fires, had burned more than 10,000 acres in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties.  

The fires, apparently caused by lightning strikes, “have given rise to conditions of disaster and extreme peril” in local communities threatened by the blazes, according to the emergency proclamation.

Multiple communities were under mandatory evacuation orders as of today in San Mateo County, impacting approximately 1,000 residents. These include the communities of Loma Mar, Dearborn Park (west of Loma Mar), Pescadero Creek County Park area and numerous additional neighborhoods and communities. An evacuation center has been established at Pescadero High School.

The most current evacuation information can be viewed at www.smco.community.zonehaven.com.

The County of San Mateo is working closely with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire), local fire agencies and the County of Santa Cruz to notify residents about impending threats, establish evacuation routes and minimize the extent of the fire.

“My hope is that everyone takes these evacuation orders seriously so that we can minimize the loss of property and maximize helping individuals and families stay out of harm’s way,” said Supervisor Don Horsley, whose District 3 encompasses the South Coast.

“We are working hard to give everyone plenty of warning so that they can secure their valuables and their pets and in many cases their livestock. The threat from this is very real and my heart goes out to everyone impacted by it.”

Warren Slocum, president of the Board of Supervisors, said, “This is unprecedented. We have never faced twin emergencies at the same time like we are now — COVID-19 and now the wildfire. These times test every one of us. What’s important to know is that we are working closely with CalFire, local fire agencies and other first responders to deploy every available resource to protect our communities.”

Residents who would like to receive email updates about the fires can follow the link below to opt-in: https://tinyurl.com/czulightning

Fire updates are also available on Twitter at @calfireczu and @sanmateoco

Note: “CZU” stands for CalFire’s “San Mateo-Santa Cruz Unit”

For an overview of local response to the wildfires, visit https://www.smcgov.org/smc-wildfire-response

Today’s Board agenda and proclamation can be found at https://sanmateocounty.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx