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Sonoma County Gazette
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Sonoma County Fire Updates for Going Home

Oct 19, 2017


October 19, 2017 - CAL FIRE, the Santa Rosa Police Department, the Santa Rosa Fire Department, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office and the California Highway Patrol provided updates related to the fires in Sonoma County.

Fire Updates

  • Incident Command is continuing to be cautiously optimistic around the good containment of the fires, but there is still a lot of work to do in response to the fires.
  • Investigators are continuing to work diligently to find the cause of the fires.
  • The Los Alamos backfires are complete. Last night backfires were utilized in a small portion of the Pocket Fire but these have been completed as of this morning.

Re-entry of Evacuated Areas

  • The goal is to get people back in their homes as soon as possible.
  • Re-entry over the last 60 hours has been at a fast pace. In the last 24 hours 6,127 individuals have re-entered previously evacuated areas.
  • Re-entry is a complex process due to the large number of people returning to these areas. Everyone is eager to get back home, but please be patient as you are waiting to enter areas that have been opened. Checkpoints have been established to ensure your safety and to prevent looting and theft. Please thank the law enforcement officer who assists you – many of them have come from distant communities to assist with repopulation.
  • Re-entry will continue as the threat is mitigated and areas are safe for people to return to homes. This could take days or weeks for homes located in burned areas.
  • People eager to learn about re-entry into evacuated areas should sign up for Nixle and SoCo Alerts.
  • The City of Santa Rosa lifted boil water notices for all its customers, including Fountaingrove and Oakmont areas.

Recovery and Debris Cleanup

  • There is a recovery process involving multiple agencies that we need to follow to open the areas that were burned.
  • The Board of Supervisors took action at the 10/17/17 Board meeting to receive additional aid to help with debris removal and cleanup. The County has waived some permit fees and is considering removing other fees to support the recovery process.
  • Improper handling and disposal of hazardous ash and materials can impact property owners, children and the general public. Unauthorized removal of debris and ash may jeopardize the ability of property owners to obtain financial assistance from FEMA.
  • We will host community meetings before access is allowed in areas that have burned to provide more information on debris and ash removal.

Law Enforcement

  • There was a hit and run on Mark West Springs Road at Lavell involving a white Chevy truck. If you have any information on this incident, please call CHP at (707) 588-1400.
  • Sutter Hospital is open. Two buildings have opened on the Kaiser Hospital campus: Medical Office Buildings 1 and 2, with pharmacy services available. The hospital itself is not open.
  • Search and rescue operations continue, with about one half of the search and rescue teams comprised of National Guard and one-half comprised of public safety officials.
  • Looting and theft in the affected areas have been relatively low, with the Sonoma County Sheriff making eight arrests and the city of Santa Rosa Police making 18 arrests.


Fatalities and Missing People

  • There have been 23 fatalities in Sonoma County related to the fires. The Sheriff announced the names of two more fire victims today: Monte Neil Kirven, 81 years old from Santa Rosa and Marilyn Carol Ress, 71 years old from Santa Rosa. Our hearts are with their friends and families.
  • 2,060 people have been reported missing. A total of 50 individuals that have been reported missing remain unaccounted for, 25 in the City of Santa Rosa and 25 in unincorporated Sonoma County.


  • PG&E has asked people returning to evacuated areas not to turn on their water heaters. If you have returned and already turned it on, please call PG&E at 1-800-743-5000 to provide a safety check. 

Local Assistance Center (LAC)

  • The LAC is a one-stop local assistance center that will be able to help residents with a wide range of services when the immediate fire threat has passed. This center will help with services like insurance claims, short-term lodging, clothing, animal services, and clean-up information.
  • The LAC is open from 9 am to 7 pm daily, with the last entry at 6 pm so people have time to access all services available.
  • All individuals are welcome at the LAC regardless of documented immigration status.
  • In four days, the LAC has served over 2,200 residents. The LAC will remain open for at least the next two weeks. 

State and Federal Assistance for Individuals

  • Napa and Sonoma county residents impacted by the fires can apply for federal Individual Disaster Assistance online at www.DisasterAssistance.govor by phone at 800-621-3362. 

Mental Health Support Resources

  • The County has mental health resources for those experiencing grief and trauma. Please reach out to people to ask for assistance. For emergencies, you can call the 24 hour mental health crisis and referral line at (800) 746-8181.
  • For non-emergency information, screening and referrals, contact Sonoma County’s Mental Health ACCESS Team at 707-565-6900.

Road Closures

  • Roads are being reopened when safe, and when the reopening won’t interfere with firefighting operations. Please for current closures. Please use caution behind the wheel and be patient.
  • Please do not attempt to drive past traffic road blocks. It is not safe and it takes resources away from other fire response and recovery activities.

How to Help

  • There has been an outpouring of support from the community. However, shelter workers and emergency responders don’t have the resources to process donations of any kind. For this reason, donations of non-perishable food are being accepted at the Redwood Empire Food Bank.
  • Firefighters are being well-fed, and don’t need donations of food or water. However, notes, signs and words of appreciation are gratefully welcomed. 

More Information

  • Sonoma County Emergency Operation Center Hotline: (707) 565-3856
  • Santa Rosa Public Information Line: (707) 543-4511


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