Residents near the outskirts of San Jose are advised to pack their bags as wildfires sparked by last weekend’s lightning storm continue to surround the valley.
But while evacuation orders are still east of city limits, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo announced Aug. 23 more than a dozen local hotels are offering discounted “San Jose Cares” rates, starting at $99 a night.
“We know that hotels in other towns or cities may be raising their rates right now, sadly, given the increased demand for a room,” Liccardo said in a brief Facebook Live announcement. “But we’re going to take the high road here; we’re going to reduce our rates and make rooms available for a lot of families that need them.”
Many hotels already are experiencing increased business, especially as families often arrive with multiple cars full of personal belongings, necessities and memories in tow.
Staff at the Best Western Plus Airport Plaza, at 2118 The Alameda, said roughly one third of their 40 rooms have been occupied by evacuees for the past week, primarily families who are escaping fires within the Santa Cruz mountains.
Participating SJ CARES hotels include:
• BW Plus Airport Plaza
• Hilton San Jose
• Westin San Jose
• AC Hotel
• Pavilion Inn
• Hotel DeAnza
• San Jose Marriott
• Hayes Mansion
• Hotel Valencia
• Country Inn & Suites
People impacted by the fires only need to request the “San Jose Cares” rate, according to Kerry Adams Hapner, board member of Team San Jose, which coordinated this discounted list.
“Your physical safety is our number one priority,” Adams Hapner said. “If you have received a notice of evacuation, please heed that warning and find a safe place.”
Aside from hotel rooms, the American Red Cross is staffing free resource centers at the Evergreen Community Center at 4860 San Felipe Road, Milpitas Library at 160 N. Main Street, and Ann Sobrato High School at 401 Burnett Ave in Morgan Hill.
The Airbnb “Open Homes” program also offered free housing for people evacuating, but availability is low due to high demand.
An up-to-date map of evacuation orders and warnings can be found here, which include portions of Eastern Diablo Foothills in Santa Clara County.
In a Facebook Live Q&A about wildfire safety updates, San Jose Fire Department Chief Robert Sapien told Liccardo Aug. 23 that movement has slowed on the southeast portion of the more than 340,000-acre SCU Lightning Complex. The fires are about 10% contained.
Firefighters had made significant progress on fire lines on the western side, preventing further spread from unincorporated zones of Santa Clara County east to San Jose city limits.
Caution remains in the Berryessa, Alum Rock and Evergreen neighborhoods, and evacuations have begun around Fremont, Sunol and Livermore.