SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KION) The Santa Cruz Fire Department said in an emergency order Tuesday that the city is going into an extremely dry summer, so they are taking steps to reduce the risk of fires.
This year, the department reported multiple fires associated with off-trail campsites in city-owned open spaces. They did not spread, but the area is experiencing "unprecedented heat" and lack of rain, so open spaces are more at risk of having significant wildfires.
Because of this, the Fire Chief ordered the closure of off-trail areas of city-owned open spaces and is telling people in the areas to leave.
The Fire Department said staff have been in the spaces over the past few weeks warning people in the encampments about the upcoming closure, but written notice will also be provided.
The affected areas include off-trail portions of:
- Sycamore Grove
- Arana Gulch
- Moore Creek
- Arroyo Seco
- DeLaveaga Wilderness
City-recognized trails and roads will remain open for "normal use."
Chief Jason Hajduk wrote in the order that the closure will be in place until there is enough rain to reduce the wildfire risk.
"It is my hope that we will not have a CZU type fire within our City this summer, and I expect that everyone will do their part to not be the ignition source for a fire within our open spaces," Hajduk wrote.
Those who do not comply could face a misdemeanor charge.
Read the full emergency order below.