Document Type

Capstone Project (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


Health, Human Services and Public Policy


Collaborative Health and Human Services

First Advisor

Caitlin Stinneford

Second Advisor

David Reid


The Office of Response, Recovery, and Resiliency (OR3) was established in 2020 and is a part of the County of Santa Cruz’s Strategic Development Department. The OR3 has been established to improve the emergency response and capabilities for the County of Santa Cruz in the event of another major environmental disaster. The CZU Lightning Fire Complex of 2020 was a significant wildfire and the largest the county had seen in over 100 years. Global warming led to climate change that has made this area of California more vulnerable to uncontrollable wildfires. In addition, severe drought conditions have left Santa Cruz County’s forested regions an area of concern for wildfires. The CZU Fire also caused substantial property damage that included commercial and residential buildings. Victims of the fire suffered smoke inhalation that required medical treatment. The initial lack of readiness coupled with a lack of resources severely hindered the response by CalFire. There was a need for updated wildfire readiness plans. The OR3 has worked tirelessly to update and develop the Operational Area Emergency Plan (EMP) and the County of Santa Cruz Emergency Operations Center Activation Guide. In early June 2021, the OR3 conducted an Emergency Exercise - Extended Attack Drill. The event was a mock wildfire that was facilitated by CalFire. The drill proved that the OR3 and the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) now have the enhanced capabilities to handle another major wildfire.