After more than a thousand lightning strikes hit the state Thursday night into early Friday morning, the Coastside appears to have been spared from any new lightning-sparked wildfires. Most of the strikes landed in the North Bay and around the Lodi area. Half Moon Bay residents woke up to damp conditions on Friday.

Cal Fire Public Information Officer Cecile Juliette said there was no new fire activity within the CZU unit as a result of the lightning strikes. Loma Mar Fire Brigade Chief Chris Conner confirmed that there were no new blazes reported in his South Coast jurisdiction, either.

The concerns about lightning-sparked fires began early this week when storms appeared to be rolling in and the National Weather Service issued a Red Flag Warning from 5 p.m. on Thursday through 11 a.m. Friday, fearing cloud-to-ground lightning could spark new wildfires. A handful of new fires emerged in the Napa and Mendocino areas Thursday night, with firefighters on the scenes immediately.

While the Red Flag Warning did not include the Coastside or Santa Cruz, the local Cal Fire CZU unit was ready on Thursday in case new fires were to emerge across Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties. With eight engines, one dozer and a helicopter in wait at Alma Helitack Fire Station in Los Gatos, CZU staff were prepared to jump on any potential fire threats, according to a Cal Fire post on Thursday. While many CZU personnel are already on other fires throughout the state, the post said, state firefighting staff was also ready to help out neighboring units should new fires emerge overnight.

Concerns are heightened this year after the CZU August Lightning Complex fire swept through the San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties as a result of a more severe dry lightning event in August 2020. The fire would last more than a month and burn more than 86,500 acres across the two counties.

On Friday morning, a new post from the Cal Fire CZU unit said that no strikes hit the ground in the CZU unit and no fires were ignited, but that the unit remained at the ready to support regional firefighting efforts. At around 8:30 a.m. on Friday morning, National Weather Service Bay Area announced that the Red Flag Warning had ended.

Sarah Wright is the deputy editor for the Review. She reports on unincorporated San Mateo County and local schools. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and has worked in policy and communications in Washington, D.C.

(2) comments


I guess we can talk about what didn’t happen , or maybe we could discuss Biden Blunders , or we could deflect and talk about COVID, or the anniversary of 911 . I guess it’s a slow news week .


Now is the time for SM County to address the appalling number of dead and dying trees and vegetation on Hwy 92. Not only could a fire on 92 wipe out the Coastside it is bordered by watershed land.

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