Steve Palumbi


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Wildfire season is off to a record-breaking start in California, and the recovery will be a long process, especially for the hundreds of people on the Central Coast and throughout the state who have lost their homes.

Hannah Hagemann

When the CZU Lightning Complex Fire ripped through northern Santa Cruz County and mandatory evacuations were triggered, a patchwork of people in Bonny Doon assembled to fight the blaze. They defied orders to defend their neighborhoods.

Natalia Jessen Fleschig.


Emotionally spent! That’s what many residents say they’re feeling now, after days of wildfires burning across the Central Coast. Some have fled their homes after being told to "leave now." Others had to anxiously wait to see if they would be ordered to evacuate. And then there’s those who defied evacuation orders in hopes of defending their properties.    


The upshot of climate change is that everyone alive is destined to experience unprecedented disasters. The most powerful hurricanes, the most intense wildfires, the most prolonged heat waves and the most frequent outbreaks of new diseases are all in our future. Records will be broken, again and again.

But the predicted destruction is still shocking when it unfolds at the same time.

Erika Mahoney

With sheer precision, a farm worker harvests a row of strawberries. He tosses the bruised berries that won’t sell on the ground, the others into plastic packaging. It’s hard work, even without a pandemic and wildfires. 


CZU Lightning Complex Fire Santa Cruz evacuees
Hannah Hagemann

Progress is being made on the CZU Lightning Complex Fire burning in San Mateo and Santa Cruz Counties. The fire is now 19% percent contained after burning over 80,100 acres, as of Wednesday morning. KAZU’s Hannah Hagemann is covering the fire, which has burned over 520 structures in Santa Cruz County so far. She spoke with KAZU’s Doug McKnight on Tuesday.

The flames from wildfires raging across Northern California did not spare Andy Pestana and Sarah Hawkins' home and farm in Vacaville, Calif., on Wednesday.

"Our barn, all of our farming equipment, our greenhouse, the house," Hawkins tells NPR's David Greene on Morning Edition.

"The house is [now] just a six-inch layer of crumbled drywall and shattered tile. And we lost all of our junior does," adds Hawkins, who is a goat breeder.

At 3 a.m. on Friday morning, biologist Kelly Sorenson was awake, nervously watching the live webcam feed of a California condor nest on the Big Sur coast. He could see a 5-month-old chick, still unable to fly, as the flames of the Dolan Fire came into view.

"It was just terrifying," Sorenson said. "Having the live-streaming webcams was both a blessing and a nightmare because we had to watch the fire as it burned through the canyon."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.


Red Cross


Not so long ago, people were told to stay home because of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, thousands have been told to leave as multiple wildfires burn across the Central Coast. And because of COVID-19, emergency operations have also had to evolve. 

On a cool February morning, around 60 people gathered in the Sierra Nevada foothills to take part in a ceremony that, for many decades, was banned.

Updated at 8:01 p.m. ET

California Gov. Gavin Newsom offered a litany of devastating statistics Monday as hundreds of thousands of acres continue to burn across California in some of the largest wildfires in state history.

CZU Lightning Complex Fire Santa Cruz
CHP Santa Cruz

Wildfires have forced tens of thousands of people to evacuate across the Central Coast. Law enforcement officers are working overtime to protect the homes and businesses they left behind. In hard hit Santa Cruz County, looting has led multiple arrests.

Carmel Fire—In Carmel Valley

Aug 22, 2020
SPCA Monterey County

Back to Wildfires: Updates & Resources page

This page includes resources for those affected by the Carmel Fire.

The Carmel Fire broke out on August 18. It is fully contained. 

CZU Lightning Complex Fire—Santa Cruz County

Aug 22, 2020
CZU Lightning Complex Fire Santa Cruz
Cal Fire

Back to Wildfires: Updates & Resources page

This page includes resources for communities affected by the CZU Lightning Complex.

The CZU Lightning Complex broke out on August 16 and has burned over 86,500 acres. The fire has destroyed more than 1,400 structures, including over 900 homes in Santa Cruz County and over a dozen in San Mateo County.

Dolan Fire—Big Sur

Aug 22, 2020
Dolan Fire Big Sur California
Jeff Gillentte / A firefighter from Pennsylvania monitors the Dolan Fire

Back to Wildfires: Updates & Resources page

This page includes resources for those affected by the Dolan Fire. 

The Dolan Fire is burning south of Big Sur and into the Ventana Wilderness. It broke out on August 18 and has burned over 128,000 acres.

For the latest information on fire activity, size and containment, see the Los Padres National Forest Service incident page.

Michelle Loxton.


Over the past few days, the smoke from the River Fire burning southeast of Salinas has evolved. First, it was a huge mushroom-shaped cloud ascending high into the sky. And now, that smoke has descended into the valleys and is blanketing much of the Monterey Bay region. 

Nursing Homes Weren't Ready for a Pandemic. They're Not Ready for Wildfire, Either

Aug 17, 2020
Beth LaBerge/KQED

When the ominous beep of an emergency alert roused Mark and Kathy Allen out of bed in Sebastopol on Oct. 9, 2017, the Tubbs Fire was heading toward Santa Rosa. 

So the Allens did too. They knew the assisted living facility where Mark’s mother lived was in the path of fast-moving flames. They sped toward the facility, called Villa Capri, the air smoky, the care home dark at two in the morning. 



Santa Lucia Conservancy


Wildfire season is very much upon us here in California. So far this year, CAL FIRE has responded to over 3,900 fires, which have burned over 34,000 acres. Managers of a small preserve in Carmel are hoping to change the way communities approach wildfires across the state by instead focusing on wildfire management and mimicry. 


Michelle Loxton

Grazing goats have been credited with stopping the spread of wildfires, including the one north of Los Angeles recently that threatened the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Fort Ord National Monument has been using these goats for years to reduce the threat of fire.