May 2021 – SMokeeScreen by Chad Hanson

Very interesting (technically challenged) presentation where Hanson talks about how the biggest problem is the forest service mission for commercial logging. He especially decries logging of recently burned areas which destroys all the natural regrowth. Of course artificial fire suppression of the previous 100 years is also a problem, but he has data which says that “thinning” operations do more harm than good.

Mar 2021 – Upcoming and recent Presentations

Speaker Series Event – Paradigm Shift: Strengthening Our Wildfire Resilience

California Natural Resources Agency

And here’s an upcoming Bay Nature talk on Chaparral fire (includes fire following plants that we heard Tim discuss)

Bay Nature Talks: Chaparral Fire Ecology & Fire-Following Plants Around Us

Link for March 4 event

Effects of Altered Wildfire Regimes on California Plant Diversity – Webinar

Link for Mar 4 event

Prescribed Burns; Exploding Stars–Mar2

Nov 2020Fanning the Flames – excellent informative presentation by the Nature Conservancy. here’s my partial slideshow of screen prints – will replace with the original when I get a copy

October 2020 Helpful leaflet on Wildfire preparation

September 2020   

Results of the CZU fire

Series on fire recovery by RCD – Santa Cruz Resource Conservation District . Details at:

Already posted from Rich Casale’s presentation Sat Sep 12

Why bigger, more destructive wildfires? Oct 2020

Climate in California has changed over the last century and during the last four decades. The changed climate is a fire threat multiplier.

Temperatures have risen especially in summer and autumn such that a new hotter climate regime concentrates precipitation in December and January with decreased amounts in autumn and spring.

Goss et al., Fig. S1, Creative Commons 4.0 license
Dong et al., Public Domain, courtesy of authors of “Contributions of Extreme and Non-Extreme Precipitation to
California Precipitation Seasonality Changes Under Warming” Geophysical Research Letters, 2019,

Increased drought and drying of fuels have stretched the length of the peak fire season months of September through November (SON) into December and increased the territory burned exponentially.

The autumn and winter in California frequently have dry, strong, downslope, off-shore winds, called Diablo winds in Northern California and Santa Ana winds in Southern California. They can vastly increase the danger by boosting the speed of fire propagation.

Such was the case of two episodes in November, 2018 that Michael Goss, et al. discuss in detail, the oak woodland Camp Fire that wiped out the small city of Paradise in the northern Sierra Nevada foothills that killed 58 people, and the coastal chaparral Woolsey Fire that jumped the 12-lane 10l freeway early in the morning of its second day and rushed six miles over mountains to the sea near Malibu by noon. The Woolsey Fire started with humidity at only five percent and wind gusts of 40-50 mph.

More information:

Daniel Swain, one of the coauthors published a very readable Weather West blog special on the Goss study here Increasingly extreme autumn wildfire conditions in … – Weather West

Daniel Swain addresses Camp Fire and Woolsey Fire in In wake of California’s worst wildfire catastrophe … – Weather West

The Michael Goss, et al. article features an extensive academic literature review and broad overview of the accelerating wildfire risk including modeling results of future California climate heating, drying and resource constraints. It concludes with suggestions for addressing challenges:

“Climate change is increasing the likelihood of extreme autumn wildfire conditions across California,” Environmental Research Letters , Volume 15, Number 9, Published 20 August 2020.(The article is open-access and available online


In November 2017 a group of neighbors started working to create the first Firewise group in Santa Cruz.

With the help of Fire Chief Jason Hajduk, one active group formed on the East Side of Santa Cruz, and two new ones are forming on the West Side. We have been meeting with our neighbors regularly to learn about wildfire preparedness and have conducted public meetings, yard cleanup events, and home risk assessments.

fireman copy.jpg

Recent Events:

May 4, 2019 was national Wildfire Community Preparedness Day. To join in the effort, Santa Cruz Firewise conducted projects in several Santa Cruz neighborhoods to reduce wildfire risk, including yard clean-ups, gutter clearing, creating defensible space around homes, and spreading of wood chips as mulch.

In support of this day, Mayor Martine Watkins issued a proclamationMay 4 Mayor's Proclamation.jpeg

declaring May 4, 2019 Wildfire Community Preparedness day to “encourage all residents to recognize the importance of wildfire prevention efforts and work together to enhance our resilience and readiness.” We thank the Mayor for the proclamation and the City’s support.

April 1, 2019: Fire Battalion Chief Robert Young and Urban Forester Leslie Keedy conducted a demonstration walkthrough around two Prospect Heights homes to assess fire risk and teach us how to create defensible space around our homes. See Defensible Space for details and advice for everyone on how to do this

Things you can do to protect your home: The FireWise homepage has detailed information on what areas and actions you should focus on around your home to reduce wildfire risk and losses.   For additional information on projects you and your neighbors can easily accomplish visit

Evacuation maps for Santa Cruz

Here is a link to Code RED to register yourself with our 911 center for emergency notifications. Please take the time to register so that timely notifications can be sent to you.

For more information about Firewise Santa Cruz, and how to start a group in your neighborhood, contact

The National Fire Protection Association’s “Firewise USA®” program ( teaches communities how adapt to living with wildfire by encouraging neighbors to work together and take action to protect their homes. It provides information and resources to help neighborhoods understand wildfire risk and engage in risk reduction efforts.