camp Krem
Camp Krem in Boulder Creek i seen charred by the recent CZU August Lightning Complex Fire, is seen in a aerial photo. —Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian

On Tuesday I went up in a small plane with a friend out of Watsonville Municipal Airport to gather photos of the CZU August Lightning Complex Fire that raged through the Santa Cruz Mountains and was fully constrained last Wednesday. It was nothing shy of surreal and very sad to see huge swaths of neighborhoods blanketed with ash and one leveled home or outbuilding after another. 

Perhaps one of the most striking things are the homes that are still there, some surrounded with burned out forests, their trees reduced to blackened sticks standing out of a floor of soot and ash. The overall breadth of the burn was staggering, at times, as we flew over, we spotted sides of massive mountains burned up. It was refreshing to finally get out of there and fly out to the coast and flank the fog bank.

The entire town of Calistoga in wine country in northern California has now been evacuated due to the uncontained Glass Fire that has eaten through more than 73 square-miles.

I watched the presidential debate last night and was largely appalled by President Trump’s angry, mean, interrupting behavior. He really came across, to me, as the bully on the Jr. High playground. Sure, Biden had his share of interruptions, but most of them were out of defense against a ruthless, mean-spirited president. What happened to having a national leader who offers calm and assuring guidance and positive direction that unites this country.?To me, Trump was none of these. I ended up coming away from the debate frightened about what our country has become.

An elderly man was seriously injured today in a vehicle rollover on northbound Highway 1 north of State Park. It happened around 1:15pm when, according to my police radio, based on witness accounts, the car shot off the highway, bounded over a guardrail and rolled over several times as it careened down a ravine toward McGregor Drive. Aptos Las/ Selva and Central Fire had to extricate the victim before he was packed off to Domincan Hospital where a rescue helicopter flew him to an out of county trauma center. Traffic was slowed in the area for over an hour.

There are 2,394 Covid-19 cases in Santa Cruz County as of today. There have been 10 deaths. California has 818,486 cases and the Bay Area has 102,033 cases.

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Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. More recently Good Times & Press Banner. He also reports on a wide range of topics, including police, fire, environment, schools, the arts and events. A fifth generation Californian, Tarmo was born in the Mother Lode of the Sierra (Columbia) and has lived in Santa Cruz County since the late 1970s. He earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz and has traveled to 33 countries.

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