Santa Cruz evacuation centers assist those impacted by Bay Area wildfires

Wildfires

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KRON) —  As several fires continue to burn throughout the Bay Area, city and county leaders are racing to get adequate assistance to their residents.

Residents living in Santa Cruz have now been ordered to evacuate as fire crews respond to the CZU August Lightning Complex wildfires which are also burning in San Mateo County. 

In response, the county has set up two shelters for Santa Cruz County residents who are unable to secure alternative accommodations. 

“This is a place where people can get shelter, park their RV or get a tent, get some food, use the bathroom” said Ryan Coonerty Santa Cruz County Third District Supervisor. 

“We’re also taking in animals … pigs and goats, we’re trying to help people protect their livestock.”

Supervisor Connerty says the last 24 hours have been a challenge to ensure everyone’s safety but that the fight is long from over. 

“It’s been a terrible 24 hours, trying to get people out safely, trying to determine where the damage has been done and where the fire is spreading,” said Connerty.

“We still have a long way to go but I am happy that we have been able to evacuate so many people and animals safely.”

The evacuation center at the county fairgrounds in Watsonville is one of two that are currently open for Santa Cruz County residents — the other shelter is located at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium. 

“We’re in talks to create more shelter because we think the need is only going to grow,” said Connerty. 

Residents are also reminded to help one another during this time and to avoid affected areas to allow firefighters to do their job. 

Supervisor Connerty emphasises getting vital fire updates from trusted agencies to avoid false information from spreading. 

“The big thing right now is we all need to support each other, people can stay out of the affected areas, that helps the firefighters,” said Connerty. 

“Also to really focus on Cal Fire Alerts and not just rely on rumors that are flying around on the internet … focus on what the professionals are telling you and we will try to keep everyone safe.”

For information on accommodations for evacuees, call the Red Cross at 1-866-272-2237. 

If you need assistance with evacuating animals, call 831-471-1182.

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