The SCU Lightning Complex Fire started on August 18, 2020 at 9:25 am and was contained on October 1, 2020 at 10:29 am. This fire impacted multiple counties including Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Joaquin, Merced, and Stanislaus. Cal Fire confirmed 26 structures damaged, 222 structures destroyed, and 6 injuries. 

On September 28, 2020, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) amended the major disaster declaration for the State of California. Santa Clara County has now been added to the federal declaration allowing those impacted by the SCU Lightning Complex Wildfire to receive federal public assistance and individual assistance.

On September 5, 2020, 10:00 a.m., CAL FIRE and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection announced that all evacuation orders in Santa Clara County have been lifted.

Damage Assessment Map for Santa Clara County


If you have questions, please contact the FEMA Disaster Assistance Helpline, available seven days a week from 7:00 am – 1:00 am ET.

FEMA Disaster Assistance Helpline: 1-800-621-3362, TTY: 1-800-462-7585

Know Your Rights

Contact FEMA’s Disaster Legal Service for assistance with the following:

  • Insurance claims for medical bills, loss of property, and loss of life
  • New wills, powers of attorney, and other legal papers lost during the disaster
  • Home-repair contracts and contractors
  • Problems with landlords
  • Proof of home ownership
  • FEMA appeals

U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has established a Virtual Disaster Loan Outreach Center to help homeowners and renters.

Mondays – Fridays
9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
[email protected]
(916) 735-1500

For additional resources related to the California Wildfires, visit the FEMA website.


Many who have lost their homes or suffered damage from the SCU Lightning Complex fires want to begin the rebuilding process as soon as possible. However, it is critical that this work be done safely. The County Department of Environmental Health (DEH) has prepared this information to provide you with an overview of debris management operations and requirements.


The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, known as CalRecycle, is a department within the California Environmental Protection Agency. CalRecycle administers and provides oversight for all of California's state-managed non-hazardous waste handling and recycling programs. CalRecycle  is leading the  the debris removal process at properties affected by the SCU Lightning Complex fires in Santa Clara County.

For more information on this process please click on the following links or fact sheets below: 

2020 Consolidated Wildfire Debris Removal Program Fact Sheet

Debris Removal Program FAQ

Floods Follow Fires

Having survived a tough season of wildfires, many Santa Clara County property owners must now contend with the risk of flooding and mudflow as a consequence of the compromised landscapes affected by the SCU Lightning Complex Wildfire.

Wildfires destroy vegetation that supports and strengthens hillsides. Without plants to hold the earth in place, even a small amount of rain can start a mudflow. This can happen quickly and with little warning.

Get flood ready! Visit Santa Clara Valley Water District for more flood protection resources.

Sandbag distribution sites are located throughout the County of Santa Clara. During storm events, the sites may only be stocked with sand and empty bags. While shovels are provided at these sites, you may want to bring one with you just in case.

Read our public letter to properties threatened by Winter Storms.




  • Silicon Valley Community Foundation has established a fund to support community-based organizations in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties who are working directly with individuals and families impacted by the fires:
  • Contact your local food bank for ways to help. Donations of household goods can be made to the normal agencies or organizations that accept these goods. Please do not drop off donations at evacuation sites or Fire Base Camps. These sites have sufficient resources at this time.


  • What is the difference between an evacuation order and warning?
    • Evacuation Order – Immediate threat to life. This is a lawful order to leave now. The area is lawfully closed to public access.
    • Evacuation Warning – Potential threat to life and/or property. Those who require additional time to evacuate and those with pets and livestock should leave now.
  • If there were a need to evacuate, how would I be notified?
    • Emergency Alert - via cellular and landline phone. Ensure you are registered to receive emergency alerts at
    • Social Media - messages will be issued via Nextdoor, Twitter, and Facebook.
    • Law Enforcement – Depending on the urgency of the evacuation and available resources, law enforcement may canvas neighborhoods and broadcast an evacuation message via loudspeaker.

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