September 2, 2020
  • Our condolences to those in our community who have lost their homes or suffered property damage due to the CZU Lightning Complex fires. We understand your desire to move forward with rebuilding efforts as quickly as possible, and we are committed to building a streamlined process to assist you. We will be posting more information here as we receive updated information about the areas affected by the fire and expedited processes are developed.

    Damage Assessment

    Assessments regarding basic infrastructure and property status need to be made before you can begin planning for rebuilding. County staff, in coordination with Cal Fire, will be assessing both public and private infrastructure when it is safe to do so. Please be aware that because the fire is still active in some areas, all assessment work must be carefully coordinated so as not to interfere with fire-fighting efforts. Assessment teams are being deployed to the fire zone, and residents may not return to evacuated areas until they are cleared by public safety officials. We are working hard to assess properties as quickly as possible. For preliminary information, please refer to the and SMC Wildfire Recovery page, which includes the CZU Lightning Complex SMC Fire Damage Inspections Map (DINS).

    Insurance Claims/FEMA Assistance

    Once your property has been assessed for damages, the next step in the process is for you to file a claim with your insurance company. In addition, property owners can apply for financial assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Please refer to the SMC Wildfire Recovery page and see “Additional Resources” at the bottom of the page to access FEMA forms.

    Rebuilding – Next Steps

    Following assessment of property damages and upon securing funding to rebuild, the next steps in the process will generally be as follows:

    Submit a Calamity Relief Filing with the Assessor’s Office. Through this process, you may be eligible for property tax relief, provided the loss exceeds $10,000. In such cases, the San Mateo County Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder’s Office, Assessor Division will reappraise the property to reflect its damaged condition. If the property is rebuilt in a like or similar manner to the original, the property will retain its previous value for tax purposes. Please go to the Assessor’s Office website for more information.

    Obtain Building Records. You can obtain permit history and, in some cases, archived project plans, by emailing Building Department staff at with “Fire Records Request” in the email subject line, to allow for expedited processing. These records are required for staff to determine next steps in the permitting process.

    Obtain Environmental Clearance for debris removal from the site (more information to follow).

    Submit Permit Application(s). Repairing or replacing damaged or destroyed buildings will need a building permit. Some locations or projects may also need a discretionary development permit or other special exception or consideration, but permit processing review will be expedited (more information to follow).

    For more information about records research and permitting, please email our Building Department at with “Fire Rebuild” in the email subject line