Fire Season is Here


Sadly, we can say that just about any day of the year now.  But today, as this is being written on August 21 of 2020, everyone is painfully aware that fire season is here, because there is fire just over the hills. This page is about getting the best information on the current fire season, quickly.


There are 3 main sources where you will find accurate information, updated daily, our fire department's website, and the websites of our two towns, Portola Valley and Woodside. Especially during times when there is nearby fire happening, you can expect all of these sites to have up-to-date information, posted daily or more often. Please check them all, as each offers unique insights based on its particular purpose.  And while most information is posted cooperatively on all 3 of these sites, you may find it posted first at one of them.


And if you have not set up your SMCAlert account yet, please do it right now, before you even read anything else.

This is the primary source of emergency alerts and information in our area.


Of course, we teach people to be prepared in general, but during times when fires are burning nearby it is especially important that every neighbor in our district think, right now, about things like emergency plans, and how to evacuate if that order is given (via SMCAlert). And if you are not comfortable with "how to evacuate," here is a page with tons of guidance;


During the current fire event, the CZU Lightning Complex fire, there are some specific resources available.


Cal Fire has created a Twitter feed specifically to manage tweets about this fire.


There is a map of evacuation zones, using the new "zone tools" which may or may not be stable when you visit the page.  But they work great for managing evacuation orders, so let us thank all the firefighters and technicians who made this possible.


Our local Fire Safe San Mateo County organization has an excellent news feed page.


And the good folks at our San Mateo Resource Conservation District have coordinated a file of community resources, organized as a Google Doc.  There is a limit of 100 concurrent users accessing this file, so please get in and out quickly.  You can download a copy and read it at your leisure.  If you do want to update the file, please think ahead so you can do so carefully and quickly. In the words of Sheena Sidhu, the Conservation Program Manager, "Please use this community resource google document to list needs and offers. This list covers NEEDS/REQUESTS, TRANSPORT OFFERS, HOUSING OFFERS, DONATIONS, COORDINATION OFFERS, and a RESOURCE LIST."

You can familiarize yourself with the file by looking at this copy we made (just click here) in the very early morning of 8/22/2020.


The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has a live map that shows you where the good/bad air is.  If you compare it to a map that shows where fires are, and the weather map that shows prevailing winds, it is pretty clear why the bad air is where the bad air is.

The PurpleAir website has data from individual air quality sensors. Beware that not all of the sensors are high grade. But it is useful to flip back and forth between these two maps to see "how the averages happen."


These fire incident maps from Cal Fire and the UC system are good resources for general information on each fire in California.


This site lets you see from various cameras around our mountains, and the state.


The San Mateo County Large Animal Evacuation Group is a good site to keep bookmarked.


This page uses a tool called Notion to collect many useful resources together.


Sadly, this fire has destroyed the homes of several in our firefighting family.

The fire department has organized GoFundMe campaigns to help these heroes and their families get back on their feet.

For the Brian Schindler Family Recovery Fund:

For the Wels Family Recovery Fund:


We will post more information as we find it.  Check back daily.


Stay safe, neighbors!


Please be prepared. This is when we need you most.


          updated September 8, 2020

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