A Turning Point For Central Coast Wildfires

Aug 28, 2020

Welcome to KAZU's weekly news roundup where you'll find the top local stories of the week and a few select national stories from NPR.

Green shoots of hope are emerging across the charred landscape of the Central Coast. A lightning storm forecast for early this week fizzled and the weather has finally begun to cooperate with firefighting efforts. Cooler temperatures and lighter winds allowed fire crews to begin to turn the corner. After days of uncertainty, those evacuated because of the River and Carmel fires can now go home. UC Santa Cruz was cleared Wednesday and Scotts Valley residents got the go ahead to return Thursday.

KAZU’s Hannah Hagemann, in Santa Cruz, noted the change in mood midweek, saying, “It’s too early to call it a turn around (in the CZU Lightning Complex Fire), but there definitely is a change in attitude.” She spoke with KAZU’s Doug McKnight about what it’s like on the ground

Containment as of Friday morning:

  • CZU Lightning Complex Fire - 26%
  • River Fire - 66%
  • Carmel Fire - 71%
  • Dolan Fire - 20%

For updates, resources and coverage on the Central Coast wildfires, KAZU is keeping you informed online.

The numbers don’t share the full extent of the damage. The loss of homes and habitat will affect our community for a long time. 

KAZU’s Michelle Loxton reported on the decisions local residents make when faced with an evacuation order.

And KAZU’s Erika Mahoney visited a strawberry field in Salinas. Farm workers have been harvesting produce under smoky skies.

1A wants to hear your story about living through the fires. You can leave a voicemail at 855-236-1212, use the 1A VoxPop app, or send a voice memo to 1a@wamu.org. 1A will share some of the stories Tuesday, September 1. You can hear 1A weekdays at 9 a.m. on 90.3 KAZU or kazu.org

Nationally, NPR reported on the effects of Category 4 Hurricane Laura as it slammed the Gulf Coast. 

These natural disasters are particularly hard to go through amid COVID-19. The World covered a study based on what happened after wildfires forced thousands of people to evacuate their homes in Fort McMurray, Alberta, in 2016. The study predicts an increase in mental illness following the pandemic.

Locally, COVID-19 is still challenging our communities: 

Republicans held their historic virtual convention as President Donald Trump and his supporters presented the case for four more years. President Trump closed out the final night of the RNC from the White House's south lawn, an unprecedented move that watchdogs criticized as an illegal mixing of government and campaign activity. 

NPR continues special coverage, America Reckons with Racial Injustice. On this Friday, 57 years after the March on Washington, thousands are gathering in D.C. to demand an overhaul to the criminal justice system and push for racial equality in a march called "Get Your Knee Off Our Necks."   

At a time when our country feels divided, trustworthy national and local news is vital. Yesterday, for the first time in California's history, public radio stations up and down the state united for one special day of support for California Public Radio Day

KAZU listeners from Bonny Doon to Big Sur stepped forward to make a contribution, and you still have time to participate. Thank you to everyone who donated. 

Until next week,

The KAZU Team