20200831 Cal Fire news conference 6pm
2:44AM Sep 1, 2020
santa cruz county
san mateo county
Well, good evening Welcome to the 6pm press conference here on the CCU lightning complex. My name is Jonathan Cox deputy chief with Cal Fire San Mateo Santa Cruz unit and the line officer here on the incident. As always, if you could just mute your cell phones and take any conversations away from the press conference area, as well as keep your mask on at all times. It'll be greatly appreciated. We will have time at the end as usual for questions and answers with all of the representatives up here. With that just the 6pm incident information on the complex itself the fire is now at 5060 acres 85060 containment has gone up to 41% Fire is now 41% contained. There are still 6759 structures that are threatened and the destroyed Structure count is now up to 1453 of those 1453 52 are in San Mateo County, eight of which are single family residence. There's 1400 1401 structures destroyed in Santa Cruz County 901 of those are single family dwellings. We continue to increase the personnel assigned to the fire, we now have 2394 firefighting personnel on the line. And as we've discussed over the last few days, the incident is really transitioning from a mitigation to a recovery phase as we continue to improve the lines with that just understanding and recognizing that resources are very much being directed to each of the individual counties now instead of the incident. It's each individual County, and we'll get more information on that this evening. With that, just a quick operations update from Cal Fire Incident Management Team three Operations Section Chief Mark run
Good evening. So we've had it yet another really good day of suppression activities on this incident predominantly in the northern North Zone near a botanic Park has been a majority of our work today. Construction line getting in there and and really getting into the heart of the fire that exists, they're doing some burn operations to straight up the lines and to make sure that the fire is flowing out and instead portion so a lot of work today and a lot of continued work on the coming days because it's looking really good. A lot of mop up in those areas to take care of those hotspots around Davenport. That's looking really good with every populated area there. The southern end of the fires is doing rather well and we've got a lot of mop up in that area. Moving up the highway nine corridor just outside of the community Filton will continue to mop up along the lines all the way up towards Boulder Creek and beyond. Again, that line construction is ongoing and being approved, very steep area and a lot of heavy fuels. A lot of burned out trees are still falling. We have what's called rollout and some of the crossing lines and we're just continuously monitoring that picking that up as it occurs. And that's gonna be something we're going to see for the days to come. With the repopulation. We are getting numerous calls for calls for service people at detecting smoke seeing smokes, outside or near the line but outside of their property and that sort of thing. So responding those taking care of those. And something we will see in the coming days especially as the weather gets hotter and drier, which will happen mid to late next week. That could be your body do a lot of really good work being completed within that area, getting lines around all the various fires and spot fires that had occurred, the burned out areas and rendering that safe roadways being kept open so that utility companies can get into their work a lot of work being done by the utility companies throughout the fire. So we're maintaining that I just got back from the the steep part of the basin and pretty devastating on there significant devastation within that park. And so there's a lot of work to make that safe in there and to get the utility companies so that they can start doing the repairs through that area. For our air program, they've done a quite a bit of flying this afternoon when the air cleared, dropped just under 100,000 gallons of water just today. And again, as the weather starts clearing and becomes more conducive for flying, they're continuing to do good work and heavy days. And then today was the first day that we started fire suppression repair. So those teams are going in and cleaning up our fire lines and and making those so that they can know whether they cutting weather this winter and not cause erosion or anything of that nature. And today was the first day that we use our National Guard crews to go in and so we've worked on throughout the fire Whether it be in the North Zone South Zone and Bonnie doon area and in the suppression repair, so we've divided those out among those different suppression efforts and utilizing the staffing amount part of they bring to the incident to assist as good as another day closer to recovery and completing this incident.
Speaking next from the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office is chief deputy Chris Clark.
Well, good evening. Today was a busy day, really busy day. And so and frustrating to I can imagine for people that are that are watching this that are sitting someplace and really hoping to get home. And so what I wanted to do is really provide some perspective on what's going on because it's myself, the sheriff, we drove around today, and I kinda want to just kind of give you a picture of what we saw today, but this is Something we do. And we've done every day since this event started, you know, we were given information through CAL FIRE Cal Fire is doing an outstanding job and trying to put out this fire. And utility companies are also working just as equally hard even before the fire is completely contained and completely put out. So today, you know, we we drove around, we drove throughout the county and so and really what we saw was that this area that's that's this this fire impacted areas still very, very dangerous and and there's a lot going on, you couldn't even go. We drove Empire grade, you couldn't go 50 yards without a number of pg&e trucks. I mean, really, there's so many different pg&e resources here in the county trying to get those lines back up, that it's just incredible to see that amount of people working and really trying to string lines and doing all that. I couldn't imagine them doing that work while people are trying to drive along Empire grade so that so them having the ability to work in that area is exciting. Really important to get those utilities back and just makes that situation safer for them and makes it safer for anybody else that's on the road, but we drove other areas like McGivern, for example off of empire grade. And so and there's still fire crews in that area. Still working to make sure that the fire is completely contained and put out. And then we drove swatting in last chance and then back around THROUGH THROUGH THROUGH Jamison Creek and, and and highway nine back towards Felton. And really just the dangers that exist from falling trees. There. I mean, the county I couldn't speak more highly of county roads, and the timber companies working literally nearly around the clock and trying to get those trees out of there to make those areas safe. I mean, just the thought of potentially a fire impacted tree dropping onto a car or dropping onto a road you can't get out. Those things are happening now and they'll continue to happen until those areas are safe, to get you back home. And that and that absolutely is our goal is to get you home as is As safely and as efficiently as possible. And so we're getting in, as I mentioned before, it's it's a day by day process. And while today, necessarily we weren't able to get people home, and you know, and we've said this before, we want to get people home, as we want to get you home as fast as we can. But these folks, they have to have room to work. And so really, that that was a huge priority today in terms of getting that making that area safer. And so we're going to take this day by day and there's going to be areas that are going to become more and more available as we go on. And so I just encourage you to you know, to keep keep up to date on on our social media and and Cal fire's website as we start repopulating these areas, but you know, today's sorry, tomorrow's another day. And so, there, there'll be more areas opening as the days go on. The other thing I want to talk about is water in the San Lorenzo Valley. So another issue you know, and trying to get you back home to water. If you've gone to the San Lorenzo Valley waterboard website, the water is not drinkable. North of Brookdale, and that's a huge that's a huge problem. And so in trying to get that water back, the SLV Water District is working extremely hard and getting those pipelines put back and making that water safe again, but definitely check SLV water district's website to make sure that you're up to date on that water situation, especially if you haven't evacuated in that area. So you definitely if you live north of Brookdale there enough in especially the fire impacted areas,
you know, slb water districts advice, you just can't drink the water. You can even brush your teeth with it, that it's just that unhealthy, unhealthy in terms of our resources. Today, we had 53 people, officers and deputies that were driving around protecting the evacuated areas. Tonight we're gonna have 46 and again 24 from our agency 12 from in county and then 10 mutual aid officers from over the hill. In terms of calls for service we responded to two suspicious people and one welfare check and we made two arrests in these are two people that didn't belong in the area that had no business being here and our folks came across them and they ended up going to jail. There, we have just the two missing persons cases. Total, we did develop one overnight and sorry detectives are working on that. And again, we will continue to work on that until we find where these where these folks are. The other piece I want to touch on briefly as escort so we have, you know, people absolutely need medication and, and things essential to life. We've been we've been making that happen. And so we understand that sometimes, you know, in the rush to get out of your home, you couldn't get something that you absolutely had to have. And so we've been working diligently as these days that progressed and getting people back to, to their homes potentially get things that they have to have. And then what you'll hear chief Cox mentioned tonight, at the culmination of his press conferences that we're going to go to more of a as an as needed basis for these press conferences, but What I want to what we want to assure people is that our we absolutely can empathize that you need updates, you want to know what's going on. And so we want to provide you with that information. And so just because these press conferences in this format may not continue, at least not on a routine and regular basis, that's not going to stop us from providing you with information as we know it, and things that you knew that we feel you need to know or allowing you to be able to reach out to us to ask us questions. And so please, you know, Stay Stay tuned our Facebook page. If you have questions. I feel that a number of emails, you know, we want to know what you have to say. And so we've even our press information officer has reached out to people as they posted comments about certain things. So we want to hear from you and we want to provide you information so that absolutely will not change until we're able to get everybody home. Thank you.
Next from the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office is detective blanks.
Thank you. Good evening, as you heard these press conferences are in the wrap up phase. And we want to tell you how much we have learned not only from communicating with our partners here, but also from communicating with the public and the manner in which we did that. So we've definitely gained a lot from this incident. The community and the and the neighbors that have been affected by this, we know that there has definitely been some hardships. It's it's hard we know to be patient when it feels like maybe you're not getting a lot of information, but we will continue to give you that information. You can find a lot of it on our social media pages. So Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and also, most importantly, on the sheriffs app where you can get all of those platforms without needing to register or sign up for anything. We want to express our sincerest appreciation for everyone who has showed patience and cooperation and under Standing there during this emergency response, we will continue to do the safety and security patrols throughout the evacuated areas and throughout San Mateo County as a whole as well. And a lot of work has been done, as you heard already from chief Bratton and also from chief Clark as well. A lot of work has been done even though you might not necessarily see it, we have been doing the best that we can to show that behind the scenes information on our social media platforms through the stories portion. So definitely stay up to date, as best as you can with those and check out all the hard work that's really being done through all of our partners, Department of Public Works, pg&e and a lot of the support staff as well. It's going into making sure that this is truly a recovery phase. And all this although this might be one of the last press conferences. We want to keep everyone informed like I said on social media and we can only begin to tell you how grateful we are for Everyone being so engaged with us on those different platforms. It's definitely been unprecedented times as you've heard from all the fire personnel, but the engagement that we've seen from the community and our neighbors as a whole has been absolutely touching. So thank you again to all of our partners and to all of you.
Next is representing all of the unified incident commanders on the incident is CAL FIRE Incident Management Team three ICBC.
Good evening. Obviously, you're hearing a lot about this may be one of the last daily press conferences we do. Rest assured, we're still going to have quite the large contingent of firefighters out working on the ground each and every day. And with that said, there's going to be a lot of fire engines and apparatus pickups coming through and they're going to be challenged with the roadways with the population increased docking All these areas so just be cognizant of the amount of fire traffic that's going to be moving up and down the roads over the next few days. Firefighters are working diligently gainax are gaining ground each day increasingly containment efforts. So we've got a warmer and drier conditions coming in the next few days, we anticipate and predict that there's going to be increased smoke from time to time, and different areas that heat up, but when the moisture decreases and the temperature increases, so we'll have firefighters out on the line diligently monitoring those areas and taking care of any hotspots that should arise. Thank you.
Speaking next, representing the CAL FIRE San Mateo Santa Cruz unit is your unit chief Ian Larkin.
So another good day, we continue to see progress with our containment numbers going up and that's always good. So As it's been stated, since we've started to repopulate the areas have been loman and Felton. And we just want to make sure everybody's village vigilant out there watching the roadways, and making sure you're paying attention to those apparatus in those pickups that are coming through so that we won't have an incident where somebody may have an accident. So those firefighters are out there to make sure that the line is contained. They're going to be patrolling that and putting out hotspots throughout the area for many weeks to come. This is an 86,000, almost 86,000 acre fire. And we're going to be here probably until it rains during this Chase and smokes throughout the interior as well as a perimeter. So chief c alluded to we have some weather coming in. This will be a real test to our line as that weather comes in and we'll make sure that we hold that line so we don't get in the growth of the fire. I just want to reiterate to folks that are entering back into their homes, to be vigilant. went through this remainder of the fire season. You know, there is potential that new fires can start throughout the communities. And just be vigilant and be ready in that event. Really, right now is the time for that recovery phase and you're going to hear some more about that just in a minute. To start that process. Santa Cruz County and San Mateo County both have their damage inspection websites up so that you can find out whether your structure if you're still evacuated was damaged or destroyed. And if it has been, now's the time to start that process and reach out to the recovery centers or the local assistance centers in the two counties to start that process. So with that, you know, we appreciate your patience and just bear with us a bit longer until we can get everybody back into their homes. Thank you.
And our final speaker this evening from the Santa Cruz County Emergency Operations Center is The emergency operations manager, Rosemary Anderson.
Good evening, everyone. So as you've heard the previous speakers speak we are really heavy in the recovery phase right now. The county emergency operation center really stands in support of all of the activities that are happening out in the field which is includes shelters. We are consolidating our shelters this week, and we'll have only five shelters remaining open and they will be at the fairgrounds, the Seventh Day Adventist camp harbor High School and Simpkins swim center. We still have an active COVID incident as well. So we're we're running all those shelters separate from the fire incident. We stood up our recovery Resource Center on Saturday morning, and that is located at 114 Front Street at the Kaiser Permanente stadium. It we had about 300 50 people come through there on Saturday about 266 yesterday, and the count today is about 225. We have federal FEMA trailers just adjacent to where the stadium is. We have state and other partners inside the Resource Center as well as nonprofit organizations, and other resources for people that need information about how to rebuild from everything from the DMV to the franchise, Tax Board, etc. are hoping to have the list of all those agencies, we've been improving the information about what those agencies do and how people can access them and why they would need to see them. A lot of times that's the overwhelming thing in recovery. Who do I need to see first, what do I need to do? We've been pushing things out also on our social media and Facebook pages. But understand that people who are displaced from their homes or living in areas that they don't have access to the internet, we're trying to bring that information to those areas to people directly. The way of flyers and phone numbers and things where they can get information without having to access the internet. But keeping in mind that our our social media presence along with linking with all of our partners is really the best place to get the most comprehensive information, especially because it changes daily. We have two donation sites that are set up and there's updated information on our website for that about what specific needs they are. We're really channeling people through the Community Foundation specifically for cash donations, and they can donate to different areas, but we also have a large amount of donated items that we're getting to evacuees. Those site hours change today from 10 to four daily, and they're open from Monday through Saturday. And they have been doing some amazing work. Our volunteers that are working out in the the recovery Resource Center or shelters as well as these donation centers has just been astounding. I've lived in the county for 45 years been through every disaster I've never seen such an outpouring of support community involvement. And just the collaboration between all of our agencies, it's, it's should make you feel really proud to live here. We also are working to stand up a recovery branch in our emergency operation center that would really cover all things about what people need to understand or businesses and, and for public assistance of what FEMA will be able to offer, how that's going to work, how they're going to be able to file their claims, and so forth. And again, we have some great partnerships sitting in our emergency operations, helping us get that information, get it out to where it needs to go. And I'll be available for any questions after Thank you.
So as you've probably heard, we will be going to an as needed basis on the press conference. Just to align to make sure everybody understands the information. Fire information will still be coming out 6am and 6pm daily as far as the latest numbering containments ongoing. Additionally, the operations briefings have been broadcast on Twitter and Facebook for really specific information about the firefight. As we go forward evacuation information will also be broadcast through each respective sheriff's agencies, information portals and channels. And the recovery aspect of this incident really goes to each individual County. So each website in their respective county and social media is the kind of go to spot for that information. So as this kind of transitions to a recovery phase, we get that a little bit of separation of different responsibilities. I'm just making sure everybody knows where to go to get the latest information. With that we're happy to answer any questions.
Great, great. Well
was that at all fire connected or
So the question was related to the vehicle that went over the cliff gray whale Cove and highway one this morning. That was an unrelated traffic accident where a vehicle left highway one over the cliff and firefighters performed a cliff rescue.
Yeah, the question is how much of the inspection process is complete? I believe chief C has that answer.
The damages section process is about 95% complete right now we're doing cleanup work using aerial imagery and comparing it to the ground truthing that has been done by the field personnel. So over the course of the next four or five days, we should be at 100% now and hador and groundtruth.
So the question was really How many shelters in Santa Cruz County there's four shelters in Santa Cruz County.
Randy Gordon kvcc.
Now that we are entering into a recovery phase and
press briefings are coming
in the future will
more than there be any other agencies represented in the press conferences that we that are held? Will we be able to hear from representatives from pg&e slb, Water District Caltrans, some of those various agencies, FEMA, Yossi about, you know, with updates about the progress that they're making regarding repairs and
residents returning to their properties?
Yes, the question is related to individual representation from other agencies or cooperators as far as information flows are concerned. And, you know, as this incident continues as the firefighting still goes on the coordination with all those individual Agencies occurs internally as far as the repopulation process is concerned. Once that transition back to the repopulated areas that have been kind of heavily impacted, that's when a more one on one between communities and individual agencies would occur. And that will that will really take place once those areas are repopulated and made safe. Their focus right now, obviously, is to get the area safe to get people back. And I think if you have specific questions for them, we can help you find the right contact.
And I can just mention also that on our recovery website, we will have all of those agencies in place places that people can get that information. So it's all linked from one place. Obviously, you can go to other agency websites and find that information. We're trying to pull all of that into that recovery page so that people can find it readily and easily. And really encourage you to go to the recovery Resource Center even as media and see what's available. There. And what we are doing in terms of outreach for our partners, I did fail to mention that the Red Cross is taking over the operations for our remaining shelters and they were transitioning or county staff support out of those shelters and the Red Cross will be operating those shelters until we demobilize them and people are able to get back repopulated to their houses. It is the county of Santa Cruz website and I'm sorry, I don't know the actual URL. But if you just Google the county of Santa Cruz on the front page, it has all of our COVID-19 information that you can click on immediately. And then the CCU lightning fire. It tap is right available on the front page as well.
Do we have a definitive answer about the safety of the water and the areas that aren't affected by the do not drink do not boil
the questions related to the status of the water outside of the do not drink Boil noticing that you've Parker probably have more information on that
shirt Randy I would pay special attention to the SLV Water District website. What I was told today I had a conversation with him was that really that that do not drink and even boiling doesn't matter is just really affecting that Brookdale area and then north and then obviously the Bonnie doon area that were impacted by fire. That's basically it was the impact of the and as I understand it, water was transmitted through like PVC type pipes and so fire obviously got damaged those pipes and so it allowed contaminants to get into that conduit. And so they just don't feel comfortable with people consuming the water until they've had a chance to test it repair or repair the lines, test it and do all those things to make sure the water safe to drink. So without being an authority on the water, I would definitely check the SLV Water District website to make sure that I had the best information and I want to say that was updated at like three o'clock this afternoon. With new information
All right, well, everyone up here is available for one on one questions. Should you have any, I just wanna say thank you for joining us. And this concludes the 6pm press conference.