Evacuation Orders

When will the CZU Fire evacuation order be lifted?

All evacuation orders have been lifted for San Mateo County.

How does the public get information on evacuation orders?

All evacuation orders have been lifted for San Mateo County.

How are the decisions made on when the evacuation orders are set and lifted?

Collaboration between Cal Fire at command post and SMC EOC

Who is responsible for making the community safe enough to move back in?

Cal Fire and San Mateo County EOC

Why is there no one at the road closure preventing non-residents from entering during the evacuation orders to prevent looting?

Security was provided by SMC Sheriff’s Office. Guards were discontinued when evacuation orders were lifted.

How long can you keep your hotel voucher after evacuation orders are lifted?

State (DGS) program terminates Sunday, October 25, 2020.


Road Status

What are the current road closures?

All County maintained roads are open for use.

Will the County repair Gazos Creek unmaintained County Road?

No, the County is responsible for public roads in the County maintained system. Private roads are the responsibility of the private property owner to repair.

What is the process to request street signs?

Contact San Mateo County Roads Division at 650-363-4100 to make the request.

Could we have signage to deter bicyclists, tourists, etc. from using Butano Canyon Road?

Possibly. Public roads are available for use by vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians. We can advise bicyclists not to use certain roads, but we cannot prohibit it. We will evaluate installing signage as allowed by CA signage standards.

Can we have a sign “Whitehouse Creek Road” at the crossing with Hwy 1?

Hwy 1 is controlled by Caltrans, not San Mateo County. We’ll pass on the request to Caltrans for their consideration.


Phase I Recovery

What is Phase I Recovery?

Phase I: Removal of household hazardous waste (HHW). The removal of HHW needs to happen first so that the ash, foundation, and soil that is removed in Phase II can be taken to a Class III landfill. Hazardous waste cannot be deposited in a Class III landfill. CalRecycle has a very informative website that gives a general overview of the Debris Removal process.  https://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/disaster/wildfires/operations

What agency is responsible for managing Phase I recovery?

The State of California has enlisted the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) to conduct Phase 1 recovery. The San Mateo County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) coordinates with the State and downline with USEPA with advice from San Mateo Environmental Health.

How do we notify the appropriate agency of structures that are out of the way and may be missed?

Contact Environmental Health: envhealth@smcgov.org

Where can we dispose of hazardous waste?

You must contact Environmental Health prior to attempting to remove any HHW or structural debris from your property.


Phase II Recovery

What is Phase II Recovery?

Phase II: Removal of fire-related structural ash and debris. Local and State government agencies are coordinating to provide assistance with this step. Property owners may also choose to hire a private contractor to conduct the debris removal. Before the property owner proceeds with this option, they must receive approval from San Mateo County. A process to apply for approval is currently being worked out. 

What agency is responsible for managing Phase II recovery?

The State will oversee a centralized Phase II Debris Removal operations, with support and coordination from the San Mateo County.

Who will be in involved in debris removal?

To be determined, pending the State.

Is there a formal release process for Phase II large debris removal?

Yes, for properties eligible for a centralized Phase 2 Cleanup Program, the property owner will need to formally “opt in” in writing before the property will be included in the Program. Opt In applications are currently being worked on.

Who is responsible for removal of killer trees that impact the public right of way?

The County will evaluate and remove hazard trees as necessary based on the findings from a certified arborist.

Who is responsible for removal of killer trees on private property?

The private property owner whose land the tree resides.

Will the County or other organization assist with marking parcel lines to ensure we don’t remove trees from the adjacent land?

The County does not provide this service. Property owners should contact a licensed land Surveyor to identify property boundaries.


Debris Flow

San Mateo County is in the process of establishing an Early Warning and Evacuation Protocol in response to the debris flow hazard. 

Will the County be working with RCD to reduce the danger of debris flow in the upcoming winter rains?

Yes, the County continues to work with RCD on fire recovery efforts. 

What does a landowner have to do to prevent or lessen the possibility of landslides due to the fire burn areas?

Given the magnitude of the burn area, there is little that property owners can do to mitigate landslides or debris flows. Planting vegetation or installing “waddles” to hold the soil in place is an option, but debris flows do not respect property boundaries, so even though you may have mitigated soil movement on your land there’s a possibility that debris flows from higher elevations may slide onto your property.

I have registered for FEMA and have an ID # for the CZU Fire.  If my house is affected by a debris flow, do I have to re-register for FEMA?

To be determined.  Currently the FEMA disaster declaration does not specifically mention debris flow damages. This does not necessarily mean FEMA can’t or won’t amend the declaration if debris flows occur.

Will Big Creek Lumber remove dangerous trees above the canyon and if so when?

It is up to individual property owners to mitigate hazards on their land. Big Creek will be notified of hazards on their land, but it is up to Big Creek to address the hazards.