A Cal Fire crew member works on fuel reduction in the burn scar of the CZU Lightning Complex fire.
A Cal Fire crew member works on fuel reduction in the burn scar of the CZU Lightning Complex fire. Residents can do the same on their property to lower the risk of home ignition.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz )
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Morning Lookout: ‘Playing catch-up’ on fire season, a CZU film and big south swell

Good morning, Lookout friends. Today is Wednesday, July 20, and Santa Cruz County should see a mostly sunny day, with highs ranging from the 60s to the 90s.

This is Will, back from a little break — and thankful to Mark, Giovanni and the rest of the team for keeping everything humming. And I’ve got a full slate this morning, including a Q&A with our local Cal Fire chief, a new film featuring the voices of CZU fire survivors, the latest on when Santa Cruzans will be getting compost bins, and photos of the south swell that’s been lighting up local surf breaks.

Let’s get to it ...

‘Playing catch-up’: Cal Fire CZU chief Nate Armstrong prepares for hand-to-hand combat for fires to come

Cal Fire unit chief Nate Armstrong.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Nate Armstrong has gotten got a big increase in funding to prepare for what’s ahead. But with an unending fire season — and the logistical challenges and stresses — the head of the Cal Fire unit covering Santa Cruz County sees more questions than answers about the severity of the year ahead. Read his full Q&A with Hillary Ojeda.

REMEMBERING THE 2020 FIRES: The voices of CZU: Peter Gelblum’s new film tells survivors’ stories in their own words (Wallace Baine)

Ask Lookout: It seems like everyone is already composting kitchen waste, but I still don’t have my bin. Where is it?

Dumping food waste into a bin
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

The state of California mandated home composting on Jan. 1, but some Santa Cruz County residents have been scratching their heads about what’s up. Lookout found that your ability to follow the law varies with where you live in the county — but that the impact of the new law will be massive, 50 to 60 tons of food waste weekly just from Santa Cruz city residents. You asked; Lily Belli answers.

MORE ASK LOOKOUTS: Find the full series and how to ask your own questions here


Santa Cruz County Job Board

That’s all for just now — but since we’ve got plenty up our sleeve here at Lookout, I’d recommend you keep tabs throughout the day by bookmarking our website and following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

And this independent local journalism that’s so crucial to democracy isn’t possible without community support — so if you’re not already, please consider becoming a Lookout member.

Have an excellent Wednesday!

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz