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The Santa Cruz County Emergency Operations Center on Thursday asked all visitors, tourists and out-of-towners staying in local overnight accommodations like hotels, motels and vacation rentals to leave the county immediately to free up shelter capacity for wildfire evacuees.

The EOC is working with local agencies including cities and school districts to increase shelter capacity as local shelters are almost full.

Cal Fire The CZU Lightning Complex fires in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties merged into a 40,000-acre fire bv the morning of Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020. More than 28,000 people in the area have been evacuated.

Those who are leaving the county should depart south on state Highway 1 or north on state Highway 17. The county is asking that new visitors do not travel to the county either.

The scale of existing and anticipated evacuation orders because of various wildfires is unprecedented, according to the county. Fires dubbed the CZU August Lightning Complex in Santa Cruz and San Mateo counties have burned 40,000 acres with 0 percent containment as of Thursday morning.

Alert Wildfire PG&E camera in Bonny Doon, Calif. shows the devastating CZU Lightning Complex wildfire burn on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020.

The county is also asking evacuees to first seek shelter with friends and family and for those with extra bedrooms or even tents to share it on social media platforms like Nextdoor and Facebook.

The most current evacuation can be found online.

Santa Cruz County has two evacuation centers available for residents: Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds, 2601 E. Lake Ave. in Watsonville and Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, 307 Church St., Santa Cruz.

Those who need accommodations should call 211 or the American Red Cross at (866) 272-2237.

For assistance evacuating animals, people can call (831) 471-1182. The Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds currently has capacity for animals and the Alameda County Fairgrounds has offered their facility as well.

Police say most Fairfield evacuees can return home but should stay vigilant

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