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Morning Lookout: Long weekend heatwave, flowers rising from the ashes of CZU wildfire and more

Good Morning! It’s Friday, May 28 and we will see intermittent clouds and a high of 68. If you’re waking up in Watsonville, Capitola or Aptos, you may be seeing some early drizzles that will dry out later this morning.

Weather is top of mind as we head into the holiday weekend as forecasters predict a short heatwave, that will especially be felt by mountain-dwellers. With enhanced fire weather created by high temperatures and drought conditions, it’s a good time to make sure you and your family are prepared for possible fires. And while we are focused on possible future fires, a group of citizen scientists is revisiting charred sites in the CZU burn scar to document and learn about the new flora rising from the ashes.

Let’s get to it:

Holiday weekend heat: Enhanced fire risk as Mountains expected to hit mid-90s; wind projections low

Mountain residents will have a hot Memorial Day with highs in the mid-90s, while coastal communities will stay cool due to mild onshore breezes. Though wind is not expected to pick up, the heat and drought conditions make for an elevated fire risk. Read the full forecast here.

With an enhanced fire risk this weekend, officials ask that residents be prepared for possible wildfires. If you need help to get ready, our Cypress Hansen put together an exhaustive Wildfire Resource Center to help you be prepared:

Part 1: Everything you need to get ready for wildfire season

Part 2: What to do during the dry season, when fire risk is high

Part 3: What to do during a wildfire

Santa Cruz’s ‘Fire Followers’ document phoenix-like flowers rising from ashes of CZU blaze

Tolmie's pussy ears, Calochortus tolmiei, identified by "Fire Follower" Donna Thomas in a burned area in Ben Lomond.
(Donna Thomas)

A group of citizen scientists is helping the professionals track what’s growing in areas ravaged by last year’s CZU Lightning Complex fire — and, naturalists hope, gaining more of an understanding of fire’s important, beneficial role in a forest’s life cycle. As new life emerges, one member said it’s thrilling to see “something that’s so beautiful, come up through a bunch of ashy duff.” Read more from our Mallory Pickett here.

ADU changes head to County supervisors after planning commission OK, with tweaks; What that means for you

An above-garage ADU.
(Courtesy Santa Cruz County Planning Office)

With a few suggestions, the five-member planning commission voted unanimously Wednesday to recommend that county supervisors adopt the proposed ordinance on accessory dwelling units, which aims to address issues including the number of ADUs allowed on a single property, coastal parking requirements and owner occupancy. Our Patrick Riley breaks down the tweaks to the proposed rules and what that would mean for you here.

The course of true love never did run smooth: Santa Cruz Shakespeare ready for DeLaveaga return

Veteran Santa Cruz stage actor Patty Gallagher
Veteran Santa Cruz stage actor Patty Gallagher will be among the five cast members performing in Santa Cruz Shakespeare’s 2021 season, playing Susan B. Anthony in Mat Smart’s “The Agitators.”
(Santa Cruz Shakespeare)

Tickets go on sale next week for a historic comeback season for Santa Cruz’s most prominent theater company. Productions at the iconic Grove at DeLaveaga Park will see spare casts performing before smaller audiences, but after a year off, “I’m going to try not to cry when it happens,” artistic director Mike Ryan says. Read more from our Wallace Baine here.

Around the state...

A bar at Levis Stadium
A bar at Levis Stadium
(Levis Stadium website)

Allowing sports betting in California? You will get to decide: Californians would be able to legally bet on Warriors, Giants and 49ers games at tribal casinos and horse-racing tracks under an initiative that qualified Thursday for the November 2022 ballot, touching off what is expected to be an expensive battle with excluded card clubs over who should benefit from the potential billion-dollar market. Read more from the LA Times here.

Stacks of money
(via Pixabay)

Vax for cash: You could win big bucks in a lottery for those who are fully vaxxed: Yesterday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a $116.5 million “Vax for the Win” program, the largest inoculation lottery program in the country. The money will be split among dozens of lucky Californians: $1.5 million to each of 10 “grand cash prize” winners, and another $50,000 will be awarded to 30 “Fridays for 30” winners. Read more from our partners at CalMatters here.

New California COVID relief could include checks, business grants, child savings accounts: The California Legislature is weighing a raft of proposals to provide new financial help to those who suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic, including rent relief, state stimulus checks and grants for small businesses and entrepreneurs wanting to start new ventures. Read more about another possible stimulus check and other proposals in this story from the LA Times.

Sign up today! The Tannery Arts Center, in partnership with Arts Council Santa Cruz County and Intersection for the...

Around the county...

Santa Cruz County man killed in early Thursday rollover crash (Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Film festival to raise funds for two local bicycle organizations (The Pajaronian)

Scientists race to rescue endangered Black Abalone (Good Times)

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Have a great day!

Tulsi Kamath
Managing Editor