How did it start?
Lightning strikes on Saturday, August 15, 2020. Almost 12,000 lightning strikes. More than 500 new wildfires.
Get Emergency Alerts
If there is one thing you can do to keep yourself updated with the fire conditions, please subscribe into the automated alerts.
- Santa Clara County: sign-up here
- San Mateo County: click here to join
- Santa Cruz County: click here to join
- For any California county: click here
- Saratoga’s Fire Info page is here
- CalFire Evacuation Map is here
- Fire Incidents here by Cal Fire
- University of California Fire Activity Map is here
- Fire Maps - click here
- Fire and Smoke map is here
- Chronicle’s California Fire Map is here
- Mercury News Fire site is here
- The Santa Cruz County Damage Assessment Map is here (unstable)
The latest Evacuation Updates
- Here is a Santa Cruz site for your latest updates
- Here is Santa Clara County’s Emergency Operations Center
- Here is San Mateo County’s fire update
If you are evacuating
Santa Clara County: If you are evacuating your home and have questions, call (408) 808-7778. You can call the Red Cross at (866) 272-2237 to seek their help with shelter. Check out Airbnb’s offering for a limited time
Preparing to Evacuate and Learning
Visit https://www.disasterassistance.gov and apply online to get help. Business can apply for the EIDL loan via SBA.
How to donate or volunteer
- You can volunteer here.
- You can donate to the Fire Response Fund here. Donations to the fund will be distributed to nonprofit agencies and organizations directly assisting individuals.
- The County of Santa Cruz is coordinating and accepting donations here: Santa Cruz County Warehouse: 1082 Emeline, Santa Cruz. Find info here (website overloaded intermittently).
Can we help?
If you need non-emergency help please reply or call our campaign at 408 805 5993. Our Neighborhood Preparedness Team is on standby and available to help. Hundreds of our volunteers have helped thousands of neighbors during the pandemic.
- Here is a Santa Clara County map and the county site which has regular incident and evacuation updates.
- Air quality can be monitored here. To receive notification of Spare the Air Alerts via telephone, email or text, sign up on their website at sparetheair.org.
- For information about the Air District, visit baaqmd.gov.
- Here is a wonderful site offered by San Mateo County to aid in evacuations! This site also applies to Santa Cruz county.
- If you want to post your status to family and friends, go to http://redcross.org/safeandwell and click "List Yourself as Safe and Well."
Additional info resources:
Those impacted by an evacuation will be notified as early as possible, but it is important to proactively monitor conditions if you are near a wildfire or other disaster area. Sign up for emergency alerts, including evacuation orders, at alertscc.com, monitor the news on local radio and television stations, and keep an eye on social media.
If you are asked to evacuate, immediately follow instructions provided to safely leave the area. Information about where to evacuate to will be communicated in the evacuation order or by law enforcement officers managing the evacuation process. The City has identified several locations in its emergency plans as potential evacuation centers. During an actual evacuation, you will be directed to the best location based on the emergency conditions.
Residents should also take steps to prepare for an evacuation in advance of an emergency. Visit the Santa Clara County Fire website for a detailed list of tips for preparing for evacuation and what to do during an evacuation. A few key recommendations are below.
When an evacuation is anticipated, follow these checklists (if time allows) to give your home the best chance of surviving a wildfire.
- Inside the House
- Shut all windows and doors, leaving them unlocked.
- Remove flammable window shades, curtains and close metal shutters.
- Remove lightweight curtains.
- Move flammable furniture to the center of the room, away from windows and doors.
- Shut off gas at the meter; turn off pilot lights.
- Leave your lights on so firefighters can see your house under smoky conditions.
- Shut off the air conditioning.
- Gather up flammable items from the exterior of the house and bring them inside (patio furniture, children’s toys, door mats, trash cans, etc.) or place them in your pool.
- Turn off propane tanks.
- Move propane BBQ appliances away from structures.
- Connect garden hoses to outside water valves or spigots for use by firefighters. Fill water buckets and place them around the house.
- Don’t leave sprinklers on or water running, they can affect critical water pressure.
- Leave exterior lights on so your home is visible to firefighters in the smoke or darkness of night.
- Put your Emergency Supply Kit in your vehicle.
- Back your car into the driveway with vehicle loaded and all doors and windows closed. Carry your car keys with you.
- Have a ladder available and place it at the corner of the house for firefighters to quickly access your roof.
- Seal attic and ground vents with pre-cut plywood or commercial seals.
- Patrol your property and monitor the fire situation. Don’t wait for an evacuation order if you feel threatened.
- Check on neighbors and make sure they are preparing to leave.
- Locate your pets and keep them nearby.
- Prepare farm animals for transport and think about moving them to a safe location early.
Take Action Immediately
Leave as soon as evacuation is recommended by fire officials to avoid being caught in fire, smoke or road congestion. Don’t wait to be ordered by authorities to leave. Evacuating the fire area early also helps firefighters keep roads clear of congestion, and lets them move more freely to do their job. In an intense wildfire, they will not have time to knock on every door. If you are advised to leave, don’t hesitate!
- Officials will determine the areas to be evacuated and escape routes to use depending upon the fire’s location, behavior, winds, terrain, etc.
- Law enforcement agencies are typically responsible for enforcing an evacuation order. Follow their directions promptly.
- You will be advised of potential evacuations as early as possible. You must take the initiative to stay informed and aware. Register for emergency alerts, listen to your radio/TV and look for announcements from law enforcement and emergency personnel.
Before an Evacuation
- Identify a meeting location for your family outside of the fire area.
- Consider the route you will use to leave your home, if needed.
- Come up with a plan for pets or large animals, like horses.
- Pack an evacuation kit with important papers and documents, phone numbers, prescriptions and everyday medications, eyeglasses, irreplaceable memorabilia, personal computers, credit/debit cards, and cash.
During an Evacuation
- Closely monitor conditions. Sign up for AlertSCC emergency notifications, monitor social media, and listen to your radio/television for evacuation announcements.
- Leave as soon as an evacuation order is recommended by officials.
- Local law enforcement will be present to manage the evacuation.
- You may be instructed to take certain routes, head in a specific direction, gather at a temporary assembly area to wait to be transferred to another safe location, or directed to an evacuation center in the order or by law enforcement. Follow all prompts.
- Locate your family and pets, and take them with you when evacuating.
- Wear long pants, long sleeves, heavy shoes, a dry bandana or other face cover, and goggles or glasses to protect against heat and flying embers.
- Grab your evacuation kit before leaving home.
- Meet family and loved ones at agreed upon meeting location.
Defensible Space Checklist
For more information on preparing your home, property and family for wildfire, visit sccfd.org/rsg. Assess your home - here
Get ready for wildfire season by removing wildfire fuels around your home and creating defensible space to serve as a buffer to slow or stop the spread of wildfire. Follow this checklist to help minimize wildfire threat:
- Zone 1 (within 5 feet of your home)
- Clean gutters of dead leaves, debris, and pine needles
- Move any flammable material away
- Block off areas below patios and decks with wire mesh to prevent accumulating debris
- Zone 2 (5-30 feet from your home)
- Remove all dead plants, grass, and weeds
- Trim trees regularly to keep branches a minimum of 10 feet from structures and other trees
- Remove branches that hang over your roof
- Zone 3 (30 to 100 feet from your home)
- Mow lawn down to a maximum height of 4 inches
- Trim shrubs and trees so branches are off the ground and not touching other plants
- Ensure your home can be easily accessed by emergency responders
For more information on how to harden your home and create defensible space, visit the Santa Clara County Fire Department website.
Fire Evacuation Checklist
- Have at least 1/2 tank of fuel in your vehicle at all times. Flashlight, portable radio.
- Round up your pets: get them secured and ready to go into the car with no way of escape before they are loaded into the car (this is especially important with cats)
- Make a prior arrangement to contact a neighbor or friend who might be available to help you in an evacuation situation with loading or driving a second or third vehicle, or to help with large animals such as horses/ penned animals etc.
- Have pet carriers, leashes, food bowls, food, litter boxes, litter, and other pet needs ready to go & ready for car (store in a secure place so these are easily loaded into the car).
- Have very important files, back-up disks, plug-in USB virtual drive, small compact file box ready to go.
- Include such things as homeowner’s policy, auto policies, life & investment files, bank records, legal documents, licenses, etc. (or store in a fireproof safe or fireproof bunker).
- Computers (hard-drive most important) if you have no back-ups.
- Photograph albums, photo CDs, etc,... Have these ready, packed, stored in a secure place to go immediately into a car (or store in a fireproof safe).
- Cameras & expensive jewelry or important electronic devices.
- Suitcase filled with old but usable clothing, socks, underwear, jackets, sweatshirt, extra shoes, etc. Keep this packed ahead. Include a bag for him and for her of toiletry items, including: deodorant, disposable shavers, extra toothbrushes, shampoo & shaving cream, toothpaste, extra regular medications to last a few days.
- If you have enough room, consider a few items from your camping or picnic supplies. Pillows & light blankets (in case you might have to sleep outside while evacuated).
- If time, draft email, send to friends and family about your intentions.
- All household & car keys, wallet, handbag, cell phones & any credit cards you keep in a drawer that you might need.
- Complete phone list or phone address book (snail and email), including cell phones of neighbors, family. Special or valuable items (make your own list).
- Close all windows, close all interior doors, remove curtains from area of windows.
- Turn off propane gas at tank, remove BBQ propane tank, take it with you or store in a secure place such as a bunker or away from your house.