Work far from over in Wine Country


Destruction from North Bay wildfires sweeps the residential hills of Santa Rosa, Friday, Oct. 13, 2017. (Sarahbeth Maney/Golden Gate Xpress)

Weekend winds spread embers from the fires in Northern California and ignited new blazes, forcing mandatory evacuations of about 400 more homes on the edge of Sonoma.

The Northern California fires began last Sunday and consist of 15 active blazes across eight counties that have burned more than 217,566 acres. According to CalFire, over 5,700 structures have been destroyed and 40 people have been confirmed dead as of Sunday morning, making this the deadliest week of wildfires in state history.

Of the 40 victims, 22 were found in Sonoma County, eight in Mendocino County, four in Yuba County and six in Napa County. 10 of the victims’ names were released by Sonoma County Sheriff Robert Giordano in a news conference on Thursday.

While the number of missing persons has decreased by 50 percent since Friday, there are still over 200 people in Sonoma County alone who have yet to be located. Officials are urging residents to utilize hotlines and emergency services to aid in the search for the missing persons.

“I want to reiterate the importance of calling (707) 565-3856 to report people ‘missing’ and to report people ‘not missing’ when you find them,” said Giordano. “We are using resources to find them – keep us informed.”

Despite the rising death toll, new positive developments continue almost hourly. Emergency evacuation orders were lifted within Napa city limits this morning, although some parts of the area remain under an evacuation advisory.  As of 2 p.m. today, the evacuation order was lifted in Calistoga and residents could return to their homes.

Also this afternoon, the Oakland Raiders vowed to donate $1 million towards fire relief efforts through the Red Cross. The Bay Area team has trained in both Napa Valley and Santa Rosa during off-season for the last 40 years.

“In this time of need we will be there for you (Santa Rosa) as you have been there for us,” said Mark Davis, owner of the Raiders, in a statement this afternoon.

According to CalFire as of Sunday, in Napa and Solano counties, the 51,057 acre Atlas fire was 56 percent contained.

The 47,106-acre Nuns fire, the result of three separate fires that recently merged together in Sonoma County, was 25 percent contained.

The Tubbs fire, consuming 35,470 acres in both Napa and Sonoma counties, was 60 percent contained.

In Mendocino County, the 34,000 Redwood Valley fire was 35 percent contained. As of Friday morning, three of the 17 fires –– the Quarry fire, Point fire, and 37 fire –– were at 100 percent containment.

Destruction from North Bay wildfires sweeps the residential hills of Santa Rosa, Friday, Oct. 13, 2017. (Sarahbeth Maney/Golden Gate Xpress)