SAN MATEO COUNTY (CBS SF) – Coastal communities in San Mateo County are urging potential visitors to stay away this weekend, as crews continue to battle the massive CZU August Lighting Complex Fire.
The cities of Half Moon Bay and Pacifica, in conjunction with the county, are telling people not to come to the coast during the extreme fire situation in southern San Mateo and northern Santa Cruz counties. Meanwhile, Half Moon Bay City Manager Bob Nisbet ordered beaches closed as of Friday morning through sunrise on Monday.
“I’m appealing to anyone considering driving to the coast: just don’t do it,” Half Moon Bay Mayor Adam Eisen said in a statement on Friday. “Coming to the coastside now would be foolish and pose a serious threat to the safety of others by slowing down emergency response and impeding evacuation routes. It’s time to be responsible and smart – do not come to the coast during these fires.”
Pacifica Mayor Deirdre Martin echoed those concerns, even though her community is further away from the fire zone.
“First responders from across Northern California need to focus on stamping out the vast number of wildfires and protecting lives and property,” Martin said. “They don’t need or want to be fighting traffic so someone can enjoy a day at the beach.”
Tourism officials in Santa Cruz County have made similar calls for potential tourists to avoid the area.
Residents of several communities to the south of Half Moon Bay, including Pescadero, San Gregorio and La Honda, were told to evacuate as of Thursday night. At total of 64,000 people in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties are under evacuation orders.
Several highways are closed due to the fires, including Highway 1 from Tunitas Creek Road to Shaffer Road in Santa Cruz County, Highway 35 (Skyline Blvd.) from Highway 84 to Highway 9, and Highway 84 from Skyline Blvd. to Highway 1.
As of Friday morning, Cal Fire said the fire has scorched at least 50,000 acres (78 square miles), with no containment. The fire, along with hundreds of others, was sparked from a rare lightning storm that hit the region over the weekend.