A Cal Fire chopper gathers water from a pond near the Graniterock quarry to battle the Anzar fire near Aromas.
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Morning Lookout: Behind the 988 launch; the ever-present danger of wildfire

A very good morning to you, folks. It’s Monday, July 25, and give or take some marine layer, it should be a sunny one around Santa Cruz County, with highs ranging from the 60s to the 80s.

We’re starting off the final full week of July by looking at a milestone in how local and national officials respond to those facing mental health crises: 988, the new hotline number that launched earlier this month.

Meanwhile, a fire near Yosemite National Park exploded over the weekend to become California’s largest this season — and after a blaze broke out near Aromas last week, it’s yet another reminder of how the threat of wildfire can become immediate and personal, Wallace Baine writes.

And with Matt Scott, a Santa Cruz icon and friend to many around the county, facing a long recovery after a devastating motorcycle accident, Ann Wasserman writes about him in our Community Voices opinion section.

So let’s get to those headlines ...

Getting ready for the era of 988: The new local — and national — crisis hotline increase has launched

The 988 hotline launched July 16, and Santa Cruz County mental health officials say they have noticed a slight increase in calls. The hotline is one part of a larger, yearslong effort to reshape the response to mental health crises. Hillary Ojeda has the details.

PREVIOUSLY: ‘A big lift’ to get 988 launched: Much to do, and plenty of need, as Santa Cruz County prepares to roll out new behavioral health hotline (Lookout)

Wait, watch and worry: My encounter with California’s ever-present wildfire threat reality

The Anzar Fire erupted on Thursday afternoon just east of Aromas, in San Benito County.
(Via Tina Baine)

We’re well aware of the global climate crisis and the heightening risks of fire in the Golden State. But when the plumes of smoke appear outside our own windows, the questions become immediate and personal, Wallace Baine writes after fire broke out last week near Aromas. Read his full column here.

WILDFIRE RESOURCE CENTER: Everything you need to be prepared before, during and after a wildfire (Lookout)


Santa Cruz County Job Board

That should get you up to speed and ready to tackle the new workweek. Keep Lookout bookmarked to stay current throughout the day, and of course follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

And what better way to kick off the week than by backing the local journalism that’s so crucial to our democracy? Our content isn’t possible without community support, so if you’re not already, please consider becoming a Lookout member — and spread the word about what we’re doing.

Words from one of the volunteers handing out water along the Wharf to Wharf course Sunday really gave me a boost, so let’s carry that over and show Monday who’s boss: Hydrate, motivate, dominate!

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz