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Lessons Learned: Turning the Devastation of the CZU Fire into Proactive Wildfire Mitigation

Hey Neighbors!

I was heartened to see this recent article in the Sentinel about the ambitious fire mitigation and environmental protection project. On the campaign trail, I have emphasized time and again that effective fire risk mitigation is true environmentalism in our modern era. Antiquated ideas about what environmentalism should look like are not only dangerous for established wildland-urban interface communities but also threaten our precious forests and the countless species that inhabit them. The proactive, landscape-scale approach discussed in this article is precisely what our region desperately needs, and the acquisition of grant funding to sustain these critical efforts must be an utmost priority.

After losing my family's home to the devastating CZU Lightning Complex Fire, I dove headfirst into understanding how such a catastrophic event could unfold. There were numerous compounding factors that allowed the CZU Fire to become the monstrous force it did, and we have our courageous firefighters to thank for preventing even greater destruction. I attended community meetings, became a board member for the Fire Safe Council of Santa Cruz County, and embarked on a journey of learning about wildfire mitigation strategies.

Because of my experiences I have developed a profound and personal commitment to doing everything in my power as your next County Supervisor to allocate the necessary resources for tackling our region's wildfire risk head-on. As a CZU Fire survivor, I wouldn't wish the anguish of such loss upon anyone, having witnessed firsthand the catastrophic consequences not only of the fire itself but also the arduous recovery process on our tight-knit community. I feel uniquely qualified to heed the charge of making our communities safer while simultaneously protecting our cherished natural environment.

This stewardship project represents a bold and visionary approach, aiming to create a vast network of shaded fuel breaks and defensible spaces across 135,000 acres spanning multiple jurisdictions. By strategically reducing vegetation density and disrupting the potential path of future wildfires, this initiative seeks to minimize the risk to our communities while safeguarding our precious landscapes.

While the scale of this undertaking is unprecedented, requiring immense coordination and sustained commitment, the potential rewards are invaluable – the preservation of our homes, livelihoods, infrastructures and the natural wonders that define our region. I wholeheartedly support this collaborative effort, which brings together diverse stakeholders united by a common goal: to create a more resilient and fire-adapted Santa Cruz Mountains.

In Community, always.


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Howard Florio
Howard Florio
May 07

Again, Christopher you are demonstrating that you are the best pick for district 5 supervisor. I applaud your forethought in caring and proactive measures for us in the SLV. Thanks

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