Chief Mark Bingham of the Boulder Creek Fire Protection District speaks.
Chief Mark Bingham of the Boulder Creek Fire Protection District speaks during the “Love You Madly” fire benefit concert Saturday night.
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Wildfires

WATCH: ‘Love You Madly’ concert shows love to CZU fire victims, first responders

Some of the biggest names in music from around the country — including Sammy Hagar, Joe Satriani, Boz Scaggs, Bonnie Raitt, Kevin Cronin, Steve Earle and Los Lobos — got together to raise money for Santa Cruz County wildfire victims on Saturday night.

But it was the everyday people who stole the show in the virtual “Love You Madly” fire relief concert.

In between the huge acts — some of which were introduced by Lookout Santa Cruz City Life Correspondent Wallace Baine — were short videos that captured how the community responded to the crisis.

“This is the one where I had to call everyone and say, ‘This is the big one,’” said Mark Bingham, chief of the Boulder Creek Fire Protection District, who went on to describe how the work of his firefighters likely saved neighboring communities.

But the emotional aftermath of the fire has been hard, too, he said: “The generosity that people are pouring out for us is hard to take. We’re not used to it.”

Other community leaders echoed Bingham.

“We have staff members who lost their homes,” said Mike Heffner, superintendent-principal of the Bonny Doon Union Elementary School District. “We’re acutely aware of the sense of trauma in the community. . . . I’ve been checking in with our communities on a daily basis. Overwhelmingly, I’m hearing about the nightmares and the fears this has created for our kids.”

“Our community is resilient, but nothing has prepared us for this,” said Shmuel Thaler, a veteran journalist who photographed the event for the Santa Cruz Sentinel. “We are a great community, and we will come through this.”

The benefit concert was a continuation of the “Love You Madly” fire response fund launched in September, which featured a number of musicians releasing original shelter-in-place performance videos every week to raise money for those displaced by the CZU fires.

The concert is the work of Santa Cruz music producer Jon Luini and Event Santa Cruz promoter Matthew Swinnerton. The fund, which has already distributed more than $600,000 for fire relief, was administered by The Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County. The foundation is a Lookout Santa Cruz civic partner.

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“At one point, almost one in four of us had been evacuated,” Susan True, the foundation’s CEO, said in another video during the event. “A lot of the immediate needs have been met. The next thing is to make sure that people get the maximum amount to rebuild.”

People can donate directly to the fire relief fund by clicking here.

Love You Madly T-Shirts, the proceeds from which also benefit the fund, can be purchased here.

Finally, an online auction starts on Tuesday, Dec. 8, and features guitars autographed by Satriani and Sammy Hagar. For details, go to santacruzfirerelief.org.