wildfires

It's no surprise in an already polarized country that debate over what's causing the wildfires ravaging the West Coast would get partisan, especially with this being an election year.

Visiting California this week, President Trump again tried to put the blame on forest management, while his rival, former Vice President Joe Biden pointed to climate change.

With wildfires devastating the West and a hurricane bearing down on the Gulf Coast, President Trump, who has for years mocked and denied the reality of climate change, was briefed on Monday on the status of fires in California.

Farmworkers in California are facing two crises at once: the coronavirus and exposure to dangerous air from wildfires.

Massive fires border large swaths of California's agriculture region, the Central Valley. Monitoring stations report unhealthy air across the interior of the state.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday signed a bill allowing inmate firefighters to have their records expunged, clearing the path for them to be eligible for firefighting jobs upon release.

Steve Palumbi

 


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.

With precision, farm workers swiftly harvest rows of strawberries at an organic field in Salinas, Calif. It's hard work, even without a global pandemic and wildfires burning in the background.

Four major wildfires erupted across the state's Central Coast in mid-August, one near Salinas. Smoke blanketed the region, the sun glowed orange and ash rained down.

"It hurt our sinuses," said Jesús Ahumada, an agricultural foreman, in Spanish. "The smoke was so thick."

Not Your Typical Monterey Bay Labor Day Weekend

Sep 4, 2020
Erika Mahoney

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.

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.

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 Fire broke out on August 16 and burned over 86,500 acres. Firefighters fully contained the blaze on Tuesday, September 22.

The fire destroyed over 900 homes in Santa Cruz County and over a dozen in San Mateo County.

River Fire—Near Salinas

Aug 22, 2020
River Fire Salinas California
Dave Beck

Back to Wildfires: Updates & Resources page

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

The River Fire broke out on August 16. It  has been fully contained.

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.

Hannah Hagemann

More than 77,000 people have been displaced by the Lightning Complex Fire In Santa Cruz and San Mateo Counties. In Santa Cruz County, that’s put a strain on shelter capacity. 

Sutter Laird

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.

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. 

Erika Mahoney

The River Fire, south of Salinas, is 10% contained and has burned 2,800 acres. Around 1,500 structures are threatened and five have been damaged. Not only are people evacuating, so are their animals.

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.

Erika Mahoney


Nearly 40,000 PG&E customers lost power in Santa Cruz County. County officials say the restoration process is beginning. But the shutoff has taken a toll on people and businesses.