CZU Lightning Fire Information, Updates and FAQ's

Website PictureMessage from the City of Scotts Valley:

We were extremely excited to welcome our community back home - with major tragedy to Scotts Valley averted by our amazing firefighters and first responders - including our own Scotts Valley Police Department.  However, our neighboring communities including San Lorenzo Valley and Bonny Doon were not as fortunate.  925 homes were lost to the fire, with many more damaged, and we are now transitioning to how best to help.

We have updated our resources below to provide more links to donation options, housing programs, insurance resources and more.  Now is the moment for us to help those in need, and our community is meeting that moment in every way.  

Below please find helpful information, resources, and frequently asked questions for Scotts Valley, and be sure to follow our Facebook and Instagram for future updates.

Scotts Valley Information, Resources and FAQ’s for CZU August Lightning Complex Fire 

(as of September 4, 2020)


  1. *NEW* I lost my home in the fire and need to find long-term housing.

    • CZU Housing is a new website designed to bring available housing to those displaced by the CZU Lighting Complex Fires.  You can find housing or submit housing on this website.  

    • SLV Support and Home Loss - CZU Lighting Fire is a private group on Facebook for those who have lost their homes in the CZU complex fires and for those that can help.  Housing assistance and a number of other resources are available on that page.  

*NEW* Recovery and Rebuilding 

1.    My house has been damaged or I have lost my home.  What recovery resources are available to start the rebuilding process? 

  • Recovery Resource Center has been formed and representatives from numerous agencies will be available to answer questions about disaster assistance programs and other support to families.  It is open daily from 11:00 - 7:00 pm at the Kaiser Permanente Center (140 Front Street) in Santa Cruz.   

  • The County is offering re-entry toolkits with PPE, hand sanitizer, n95 masks and information about hazards. They are located at re-entry points and will be available 3-7 p.m.

2. Insurance

3. Propane Tanks 

  • Residents who wish to recover their propane tanks left outside their homes when they evacuated should email to initiate the recovery process.  For safety reasons, the City picked up the tanks after the evacuation and then partnered with a local gas station to store them.

  1. What locations are currently under evacuation orders? 

You can find the current status of evacuation orders at the CalFire website.  

  1. Has the evacuation order for Scotts Valley been lifted? 

    • Yes! On August 28, 2020 at 3:00 pm, evacuation orders within the City of Scotts Valley, unincorporated Scotts Valley as well as Paradise Park and Cave Gulch area were lifted. This includes all Scotts Valley residents west of State Route 17 (ZONES: SCO-1, SCO-2, SCO-3, SCO-4, SCO-5, SCO-7, SCO-14, SCO-15, SCO-16, SCO-17, SCO-18, SCO-19, SCO-20, SCO-21 SCO-22, SCO-23, SCO-24, SCO-25, CRZ-18B, CRZ-19, CRZ-20, CRZ-63 AND CRZ-9A).

    • There will still be road closures in and around the Cal Fire basecamp at Skypark while Cal Fire is still battling the fires in the San Lorenzo Valley. You can expect to see a large amount of emergency vehicles and personnel in the city, please do not attempt to enter closed areas as it can impede firefighting efforts. 

    • Please use caution when returning to your residence. If you shut off your gas in anticipation of the fire, and need information on how to properly have your gas turned back on, please visit the PG&E website.   

  2. How will we know when the evacuation order has been lifted in other areas?  

    • Per the SVPD, once they are notified by Cal Fire that the area is safe to re-populate, SVPD will issue notifications through the Nixle alert system (sign up at, social media, and press release. You can also sign up for email updates from Cal Fire to receive accurate information. 

    • When they begin the repopulation of Santa Cruz County, they will announce who can go back to their homes by zones. The zones are labeled by several letters followed by several numbers. For example, UC Santa Cruz is in Zone SCZ-E004.  If the area is red this means that area is still under mandatory evacuation. If the area is green this means the evacuation order has been lifted in that zone. To determine what zone you live in you can check the interactive evacuation/repopulation map and type your address into the search bar.

    • As evacuation orders are lifted, the zones will change from red to green.  Cal Fire recommends community members know their zones.  Repopulation will move from least affected to most affected communities. 

  3. I need a place to stay during this evacuation.  What are my options for shelter? 

    • Santa Cruz County Official Evacuation Centers 

      1. *NEW* - Shelter Sites Begin Transition - Santa Cruz County has begun the process of consolidating shelter sites.  Please review their website for current open sites.  

    • Free Hotel Accommodations - Free hotel accommodations may be available to residents evacuated from the Lightning Complex Fire evacuation areas. Proof of residency will be required.  To apply for the program you will need to go to an official County shelter site and request an application. You can find the list of shelter sites here.  

      1. *NEW* - Online Renewal Form - Once your evacuation order is lifted you will be required to check out of your hotel the following morning even if your 7-day reservation has not expired.  You must check out of our hotel once you are able to return home.  If you are within 24-hours of your 7-day reservation and still under an evacuation order, you can use the online renewal request form to request an extension.   

      2. Hotline for Hotel Evacuees - there has also been a hotline set up to apply for the program, renew your 7-day reservation or general program questions. That  number is (831) 454-21818.  

    • Visit Santa Cruz Hotels and Lodging options, pet friendly options

    • Visit San Jose Hotels and Lodging options

    • Local facilities and churches are also available to help.  Please check the Santa Cruz Church Network 

    • Airbnb is providing emergency housing.  There is currently high demand but more housing may become available in the coming days.  

  4. I am in a mandatory evacuation area but I don’t think it will reach my home. I have decided to stay in my home to protect my property.  Is that ok? 

    • No!  By staying in your home, our first responders are required to track you (or rescue you) and as a result will divert valuable resources from our first responders.  This will jeopardize not only your home but our entire community. For example, if CalFire wants to make an air dump over an impacted area it may be impeded because you have remained in your home.  We understand that you want to protect your property, but the best thing you can do for your property and for your community is to comply with CalFire’s requests. 

  1. Why are the roads closed? 

    • Safety! There are downed power lines and burned bridges that are a safety hazard.  

    • Keeping our Firefighters Dedicated to Fighting the Fire!  If people try and sneak back into their residences to pick up things, then CalFire has to divert resources to make sure they are safe and potentially rescue them.  There have already been 4 rescues.  This diverts valuable resources from fighting the fire. 

    • Receive up-to-date road closures from

    • Follow the Scotts Valley Police Department Facebook page for current updates.

  1. Can I go back to my house if I am in a mandatory evacuation zone?  

    • Personal Belongings.  You may NOT go back to your house to pick up personal belongings at this time.  CalFire and first responders need to focus on fighting this fire and protecting our property.  Please see this Facebook link for Property Retrieval Policy for more details.    

    • Family Members and Pets.  You may be able to get a police escort to retrieve a family member or pet.  Please see this Facebook link for Property Retrieval Policy

    • Medicines.  An officer may retrieve your medicine or medical equipment if you have exhausted all other methods.  Please see this Facebook link for Property Retrieval Policy

    • Contact Info.  If you absolutely need something from your home or business, and you believe you fall under the approved guidelines, call police dispatch at 831-440-5670.  Please note that given the overwhelming demand, there may be a wait, so please be patient.  

  2. I have left things behind in my home or office that relate to livelihood.  Can I go back to my office space or home to retrieve them? 

    • People can get a police escort to get work vehicles, tools and things directly related to their livelihood.   This is a one-time allowance.  Please see this Facebook link for Property Retrieval Policy

  1.  I’ve heard of looting in the evacuated areas.  What is the county doing to help us? 

    • The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s office has increased resources, patrolling and the Santa Cruz DA’s office has committed to putting its full weight and authority to prosecute looters to the fullest extent of the law. 

  2. My home was lost or I have had to evacuate my home. I am deeply grieving and at a loss.  Are there any counseling resources available?  

  3. How do I know whether my home was damaged in the fire? 

    • Damage Map is now available.  The map includes a list of damage sites provided by CalFire. More info provided here in this press release.  

Resources (Meals, Showers, Laundry, WiFi) 

  1. I am displaced and looking for a meal.  Where are they providing meals? 

  1. I need a place to shower.  What resources are available?  

  2. I need clothing, toiletries and other essential supplies.  Where can I find some resources or help? 

  3. We need reliable WiFi for remote work or school.  Where could I get free and reliable WiFi? 

    • XFinity is providing free WiFi for those impacted by fire. 

    • Any public library in Santa Cruz County has free WiFi available even if closed.  Simply pull up and park nearby. 

    • Local facilities and churches are also available to help.  Please check this Santa Cruz Church Network sheet for more information.

  1. I need to do my laundry.  Where can I do a quick load of laundry?   


  1. I need to evacuate my animals.  What resources are available? 

  2. I need lodging for my pets/animals?  What resources are available? 

  1. I need pet supplies for displaced animals.  Where can I find help? 


  1. I need parking for my RV/trailer/car during this evacuation period.   Is there a place where I can park them? 

  1. I need help transporting things.  What resources are available?

    • A Santa Cruz Fire Assistance resources list has been created.  Please see the “Transportation” tab of this Google Sheet.  

  2. I have a family member with special needs and need help with transportation.  Any resources available to help? 

    • Lift Line (831) 688- 9663 has vehicles that can accommodate special needs and small pets.  

    • Paracruz with Santa Cruz Metro is doing the same 831-425-8600.

Mail/Post Office 

  1. I heard that my local Post Office is closed.  Has my mail been redirected and if so, where can I pick up my mail? 

    • Please review the USPS website for alternative locations for mail pick-up: 

    • *NEW* - All of the Scotts Valley mail has been returned to the Scotts Valley post office.  Accumulated mail will be returned to your home by your mail carrier.  The post office is working  overtime and with extra staff (from outside the area) to try and catch up.  Please be patient as they are dealing with large amounts of mail and parcels that need to be sorted and distributed.  

  2. What services are available by the United States Postal Office that might be helpful in this situation? 

    • Informed Delivery Service.  This service allows you to see what is coming in your  mail.  The USPS will send you an email with a digital preview of your mail.   

Donations & Volunteering 

  1. I would like to donate money, items or gift cards.  Where do I donate? 

  2. I have time and want to help.  Where do they need people for help?  

    • **Volunteers needed at the Donation Center at 114 Walker St in Watsonville.  This donation center is supporting all of the many shelters around the county.  

    • Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County

Other Resources 

  1. Where can I get details about the status of the fire (ie., % containment, evacuation orders, road closures)? 

  1. Are there any other additional resources that might be helpful? 

    • *NEW* Santa Cruz Relief has recently been set up to provide additional resources.  

    • Yes.  Please visit the “Santa Cruz Strong” website for a list of valuable resources, such as fire maps, evacuation resources, and volunteering opportunities.  

     3.    How can I apply for Government Disaster Assistance?

The Santa Cruz County Human Services benefits hotline is 1-888-421-8080 (toll free). Residents impacted by the fire who are enrolled in benefits programs may be eligible for replacement benefits. 

SBA Virtual Recovery Centers: 

Virtual Business Recovery Center and

Virtual Disaster Loan Outreach Center

Mondays – Fridays

9 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

(916) 735-1500

To be considered for all forms of disaster assistance, survivors must first contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency at Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (916) 735-1500 or email for more information on SBA disaster assistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing may call (800) 877-8339. Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.