The CZU Lightning Complex Fire is 100 percent contained as of Sept. 22, reported Cal Fire. The San Mateo and Santa Cruz fire fighting units continue to monitor remaining smoldering and prepare for evacuations due to possible landslides, caused by fire debris and root loss, during the upcoming rain season.
The CZU Lightning Complex Fire burned 86,509 acres of Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties, destroying 1,490 structures.
Gov. Gavin Newsom declared San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties under a state of emergency on Aug.18. This order included a provision against price gouging, preventing businesses from overcharging for essential items. In areas affected by the fires, people are protected from price gouging for 180 days.
“We noticed there were going to be problems in the cost of building materials and rent, because we do understand that people are going to be negatively impacted by this for a while, and what we don’t want to see is people being taken advantage of because of their situation,” said Santa Cruz Mayor Justin Cummings.
In Santa Cruz and surrounding counties more than 70,000 people evacuated, including everyone on the UC Santa Cruz campus. Evacuation orders have since been lifted.
All evacuation shelters set up by the Santa Cruz City Council followed social distancing and safety guidelines, and Cummings said there were no new COVID-19 cases linked to the shelters.
Although the fires have now been mostly extinguished, Santa Cruz officials are worried about the danger of mudslides and debris flow in the rain season from November to May.
“We need to be ready and have the communications ready so that we can stand up relief centers, as quickly as possible, and ensure that people know when to donate, to volunteer,” Cummings said. “And we’re really starting to try to think about what can we do in the city so that we can ensure that people and people’s properties are managed in a way that they can reduce the risk of fire related damage.”