fires

Santa Cruz County lost almost 1,000 homes to the CZU fires. Its housing crisis is now worse than ever

BOULDER CREEK, Santa Cruz County – At the top of a cul-de-sac lined with burned homes, Antonia Bradford stood before what was once her cathedral-like house, surrounded by singed redwood trees. Little was recognizable in the rubble but a charred car, a chicken coop, a butterfly-shaped chair and a bathtub.

When the CZU Lightning Complex fires ripped through the Santa Cruz Mountains six weeks ago, Bradford, her husband and five children were suddenly homeless — along with thousands of others. Her family stayed in a hotel, then with friends as they scoured for rentals, watching listings disappear and prices rise.

“It’s pretty wild, it’s pretty bad,” Bradford said. “Housing has been a huge issue in Santa Cruz County for quite some time now. Right now it’s a supply-and-demand situation and people raising prices so high it’s pushing people off the mountain.”

When lightning sparked the CZU fires in mid-August, around 60,000 people – 1 in 5 Santa Cruz County residents – evacuated. The blaze destroyed 925 homes and three multifamily residences. The fire affected some of the most affordable housing in the county, adding pressure on an already costly and competitive market amid a statewide housing crisis. With the Glass Fire raging in Wine Country, a similar dynamic might play out in the North Bay, where thousands of homes are threatened.

The sudden need for housing was worsened by the pandemic limiting shelter capacity. Complicating it further was that the county had never dealt with a fire on this scale.

Meanwhile, a government-run program booking evacuees free hotel rooms got off to a bumpy start, officials and residents said. In one case, a couple with health issues slept in a friend’s abandoned trailer before they learned about the program. In another, a nurse only got a room when she no

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Epcor contractor fires worker, contributes to $30,000 donation after racist smudge ceremony encounter at school



a sign on the side of a building: A construction company contracted by Epcor has fired the employees who disrupted a smudging ceremony outside Edith Rogers School last week.


© Provided by Edmonton Journal
A construction company contracted by Epcor has fired the employees who disrupted a smudging ceremony outside Edith Rogers School last week.

A construction company contracted by Epcor has fired an employee after workers disrupted a smudging ceremony outside a southeast Edmonton school last week.

Wilco Contractors Northwest, issuing a statement on the company’s official Twitter account Tuesday, said employees working on a dry pond project near Edith Rogers School made racist comments and disrespectful actions towards participants at the ceremony.

On Saturday, a Twitter user identifying as a teacher at Edith Rogers School, said construction workers “revved their engines and yelled racial insults at staff and students” while the school hosted a smudging ceremony Friday.

On September 25, we let down the community,” the company tweeted Tuesday. “We apologize unreservedly to the students and staff who were hurt by these actions. We take full responsibility for what occurred, and we are taking concrete action to ensure this never happens again.”

The company said it undertook an internal and external review and terminated a staff member who was involved. It also announced it will be implementing cultural and Indigenous awareness training.

“T o support the broader community, we are pleased to be joining Epcor and Sureway Construction Group in jointly funding a $30,000 donation to the Edmonton Public School Board’s Amiskwaciy Academy,” read the Twitter statement.

Arthur Mann, president and CEO of Wilco Contracting, said the company has terminated one staff member and are continuing to review documentation of the event.

He said the company has sent a personal apology to the school, students and parents involved as well as Grand Chief Billy Morin.

“We have

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Epcor contractor fires workers, make $30,000 donation after racist smudge ceremony encounter at school

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On Saturday, a Twitter user identifying as a teacher at Edith Rogers School, said construction workers “revved their engines and yelled racial insults at staff and students” while the school hosted a smudging ceremony Friday.

On September 25, we let down the community,” the company tweeted Tuesday. “We apologize unreservedly to the students and staff who were hurt by these actions. We take full responsibility for what occurred, and we are taking concrete action to ensure this never happens again.”

The company said it undertook an internal and external review and terminated the staff who were involved. They also announced they will be implementing cultural and Indigenous awareness training.

“To support the broader community, we are pleased to be joining Epcor and Sureway Construction Group in jointly funding a $30,000 donation to the Edmonton Public School Board’s Amiskwaciy Academy,” read the Twitter statement.

Epcor issued its own statement Tuesday thanking the students and staff at Edith Rodgers for bringing the workers’ actions to them.

“Epcor took immediate action to shut down the construction site until an investigation could be completed, and we have been in communication with school officials, witnesses, the contractor for the site, and the sub-contractor,” said the statement.

Edmonton Public Schools previously said the smudging ceremony was part of its efforts to teach students about reconciliation with Indigenous people. Smudging is a type of ceremony practised by certain Indigenous cultures. It typically involves the burning of sweetgrass, sage, tobacco or cedar, according to the Canadian Encyclopedia.

In a statement over the weekend the board called the incident “deeply unsettling and unacceptable for our staff and students who were participating in the smudging ceremony.”

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Fires rampage through wine country, destroying numerous homes in Santa Rosa

SANTA ROSA, CA - SEPTEMBER 28: The Shady Fire impacts structures along CA-12 on Monday, Sept. 28, 2020 in Santa Rosa, CA. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times) <span class="copyright">(Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times)</span>
SANTA ROSA, CA – SEPTEMBER 28: The Shady Fire impacts structures along CA-12 on Monday, Sept. 28, 2020 in Santa Rosa, CA. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times) (Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times)

California wine country was devastated by yet another series of wildfires overnight as flames destroyed numerous homes and other buildings in Napa and Sonoma counties and thousands were forced to run for their lives in the darkness of night.

A number of homes began to burn early Monday in the suburban eastern neighborhoods of Santa Rosa. The city of 177,000 residents, Sonoma County’s most populous, was devastated three years ago by the Tubbs fire — also driven by strong winds — that destroyed about 1,500 homes in the northwestern Coffey Park neighborhood, which was mostly built in the 1980s.

On Monday, it was the suburban northeastern neighborhoods of Santa Rosa that were burning, this time from the Shady fire.

Whipped by powerful hot and dry Diablo winds coming from the north and east, which showered embers onto the city, flames engulfed houses in the area of Mountain Hawk Drive, which is lined with two-story tract homes in the Skyhawk development, built in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

The number of structures lost was still unclear.

Deer were seen fleeing as firefighters battled the flames before dawn Monday.

Large swaths of Santa Rosa were under mandatory evacuation orders. Districts in the city’s northeast were ordered to empty, including the neighborhoods of Calistoga, Skyhawk, Melita, Stonebridge, the Oakmont retirement community and Pythian.

Busloads of older people were evacuated from the Oakmont Gardens assisted-living community as flames could be seen in the distance. Elsewhere in the city, cars jammed narrow roads as residents heeded evacuation orders.

Two other fires were also burning upwind of the fire encroaching on Santa Rosa,

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Wine Country fires burn homes, force evacuations from Santa Rosa to Napa Valley

The Wine Country awoke in flames Monday as windblown wildfires closed in on the Napa Valley from the east and west and swept into Santa Rosa, forcing thousands of North Bay residents to flee their homes in an ominous flashback to the catastrophic infernos three years ago.

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