Northern California Wildfires

MichelleMichelle California
edited October 10 in General
I know there are several of us here are located in California, and as we've all (probably) heard, there are really awful wildfires raging all over Northern California.  I just wanted to say, if any of my fellow Cali folk are located in a fire danger zone, have been affected by, or know anyone who has been affected by these horrific fires, my heart is with you.

I drove home to Eureka from San Jose yesterday, and was taken through about 4 or 5 different detours to make my way home.  Part of my detour took me through Santa Rosa.  Seeing the thick, thick smoke, the roadblocks, tons of people in cars trying to get out or trying to get through town, people walking wearing facemasks and carrying cases of water.. it all just made my heart hurt.  I have a friend and a cousin who are both located in Santa Rosa and thankfully their homes are safe... but so many people have lost everything.  It's just awful.

Aside from the Santa Rosa, Napa, Sonoma, Willits, Mendo County, and Lake County fires (among others), there are also 2 fires now burning in Butte County.  I have cousins located near them, and they are on alert should they need to evacuate.   Additonally, there are fires burning in Southern California.



Cal Fire's updated fire map:  http://www.fire.ca.gov/general/firemaps

Evacuations, shelters, closures, etc:  http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article177893206.html


How you can help:  Contact your local fire department and ask if they know of any donations being accepted for the families who have been displaced.  They may know of a donation drive, if they don't already have one underway.  You can also contact the Red Cross.

I hope everyone's ok!!
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Comments

  • WonderedObjectWonderedObject SAN Francisco, CA
    Had to go help out the Novato branch of my company today and worked out in Sonoma. It was absolutely insane to see the devastation up close. Had to wear a mask all day. Hopefully it'll let up soon but looks like they're just letting it ride out. Fingers crossed.-
    Michelle
  • TaraC73TaraC73 Manchester NH
    I was just coming here to start up a thread so Cali people can check in. Stay safe, Cali friends :0)
    Michelle
  • Garthgou81Garthgou81 Placerville, CA
    I'm here in El Dorado County, thankfully nothing in my neck of the woods at this point. 
    Michelle
  • akritenbrinkakritenbrink Lynnwood, WA (Seattle area)
    Yeah, scary stuff! Stay safe!
    Michelle
  • ChinaskiChinaski Santa Cruz, CA
    it's really bad. i work in cupertino which is like 100 miles away and the air here is awful. reeks of smoke, super hazy and hard to breath, yeah scary stuff indeed.
    Michelle
  • MichelleMichelle California
    It's getting worse this evening.  I have friends in the Calistoga area who have now had to evacuate under mandatory orders.  They are safe in SF now, but i am feeling for them and for so many others who are now facing this nightmare that just won't end.  The entire city has had to evacuate.  We need rain!!!
  • Garthgou81Garthgou81 Placerville, CA
    And just after I posted last night, I woke up this morning to hear about a fire just a few miles away from me. It was easily contained it seems, but there is smoke and dust everywhere. Also, I have clients (I am a Deputy Public Guardian for the county) that were evacuated today. What a mess. 
  • akritenbrinkakritenbrink Lynnwood, WA (Seattle area)
    Yeah. Even if you're not close to the fire, it has serious effects. We had a lot of smoke and ash this summer from wildfires in BC and my cats and I all got sick from it. I feel lucky that I'm not one who lost my home, of course, and my "suffering" pales in comparison, but it was a very uncomfortable situation. I can't imagine if you had asthma or something.
  • aberry89aberry89 California
    edited October 12
    I'm in SoCal, and although there are fires down here, offshore winds and cooler temperatures are keeping them small.

    Many, many churches, mosques and temples are opening their doors to anyone who needs shelter or food, so look up any local to you if need be. 

    Here is a big list of Evacuation Orders, Closures, Clinics, and Shelters. 
    http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article177893206.html
  • MichelleMichelle California
     :'( 
  • akritenbrinkakritenbrink Lynnwood, WA (Seattle area)
    Chinaski said:
    That's wild. What are those people who lost their homes going to do? Do people in that area typically have insurance for wildfires? 
  • emnofseattleemnofseattle Mason County, Washington USA
    edited October 14
    Chinaski said:
    That's wild. What are those people who lost their homes going to do? Do people in that area typically have insurance for wildfires? 
    Fire should be covered by homeowners 

    also according to CA Insurance Commissioner a homeowners or renters policy can be used for expenses incurred due to mandatory evacuation even if your home isn't damaged if anyone here had to evacuate read the link below, if you're living in a hotel save your invoices
    https://www.insurance.ca.gov/0400-news/0100-press-releases/2017/release099-17.cfm

    Obviously the loss of life is the worst, that's always the worst, but a lot of people have lost more then can be covered by insurance, especially the wine industry, the vineyards take over a decade to grow, a lot of the smaller operations making the craft wines have lost over twenty years of investment. 


  • akritenbrinkakritenbrink Lynnwood, WA (Seattle area)
    I think if there's an unusually high risk of wildfire, they might be required to buy extra fire insurance. But i don't know if it's a high risk area or if this was a freak thing.
  • MichelleMichelle California
    Angie, the areas currently burning aren't really high-risk areas.  In Santa Rosa's case, this was just one of those freak things where you have a combination of high winds and low humidity, and the winds knocked down power lines, which sparked and started a blaze, which whipped up due to the high winds, carried embers and sparks, and just grew exponentially.  But really, there are soooo many fires burning here that the cause for some of the others could be similar but a lot of the subsequential fires have started from existing fires that have made their way to those locations.  

    Saw this online this evening:

    For those outside of California, to give an idea of scale of the fires, while they are "down" to 16 active fires, the number dropped more due to fires burning together than because fires were put out. It is up to 214,000 acres burned (larger than New York City). 5700 buildings have been destroyed, of which, 2834 were inside the city of Santa Rosa (about 5% of the city, which is the largest city in the county). 100,000 people evacuated, though some have been able to return. Fatalities are up to 35 people, and that number is expected to significantly rise as the search crews get into the burned areas. 10,000 firefighters are now in California coming from just about every western state, North and South Carolina, Canada, and Australia. Oh, and not only are the fires not out yet, most are less than 50% contained, some are only 5% contained!

    We are just really praying for rain and for some relief very soon.
  • akritenbrinkakritenbrink Lynnwood, WA (Seattle area)
    Yeah, this kind of thing happens in WA state and other parts of the inland NW every year, but in less populated areas, so you don't usually see these photos of entire suburbs being burnt out and stuff. Once the fires get going, it's hard to contain them. Devastating.
  • emnofseattleemnofseattle Mason County, Washington USA
    edited October 15
    Eek, Yeah Why I'll only live where there's rain....

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAme517Wddc


  • Eek, Yeah Why I'll only live where there's rain....

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAme517Wddc


    Wow that was really scary. Almost unreal. I hope that area gets some reprieve soon. 
  • I feel like this sounds a little defeatist and uncaring but maybe we shouldn't build lots of houses next to high-wildfire risk areas with histories of long drought periods. 
  • emnofseattleemnofseattle Mason County, Washington USA
    Alkaid13 said:
    I feel like this sounds a little defeatist and uncaring but maybe we shouldn't build lots of houses next to high-wildfire risk areas with histories of long drought periods. 
    Where exactly in California doesn't meet that criteria? 

    It's not always easy to predict, I mean in Washington back in 1902 a series of fires called the Yacolt Burn destroyed three entire towns and killed 60 people (more then the current CA fires) this fire raged from the southern border with Oregon all the way to Elma, if you're not familiar with PNW geography look it up, that's almost the entire western portion of the state. these types of events are not always predictable 
  • True, but there's definitely some areas more prone to fires than others. 
  • emnofseattleemnofseattle Mason County, Washington USA
    Alkaid13 said:
    True, but there's definitely some areas more prone to fires than others. 
    The Napa Valley not especially though. think about it, these award winning Vineyards are about 20-40 years old, clearly the climate is stable enough to create a 40 year vineyard. this is unusual circumstance. Fires happen in the Mojave, they happen in the mountains by Yreka to Weed, they happen in the Yosemite area and the Sierras, I don't think the Napa Valley gets many fires like this. 
  • Alkaid13Alkaid13 Georgia
    edited October 15
    True although I'd probably argue that these kinds of unusual wildfires are probably going to increase in frequency instead of the opposite so maybe it's less "don't build in fire risk areas" and more "take bigger prevention methods to reduce the damage". I mean I hope this is just one bad year but I fear this is more of a precursor to more bad years. 
  • emnofseattleemnofseattle Mason County, Washington USA
    Alkaid13 said:
    True although I'd probably argue that these kinds of unusual wildfires are probably going to increase in frequency instead of the opposite so maybe it's less "don't build in fire risk areas" and more "take bigger prevention methods to reduce the damage". I mean I hope this is just one bad year but I fear this is more of a precursor to more bad years. 
    Well I don't know what prevention measures there would be until someone invents weather control. 

    Napa County is unique in California in that they've declared nearly all of the county as an agricultural preserve and it's full of shrubs, grassland, vineyards, everything flammable. and it's not like forests where fires burn slow, grass burns fast, and very hot. it's not uncommon to see forest fires burn all season and nobody works to contain them because they're in a remote area and they won't grow that fast, the videos you see with blowing embers and pillars of fire and such are grass fires. 

    take a cigarette lighter and stick it under a bale of straw, compare with difference when you hold it next to a tree. 
  • MichelleMichelle California
    edited October 15
    Alkaid13 said:
    I feel like this sounds a little defeatist and uncaring but maybe we shouldn't build lots of houses next to high-wildfire risk areas with histories of long drought periods. 
    @Alkaid13 one of the hardest-hit, most devastated areas is the city of Santa Rosa.  It's large and very built up, and regardless of the fact that there are hills on the outskirts (which is true of a good number of California towns and cities), no one could have predicted that a huge wildfire would decimate a large area of the city.  If you're talking about defensible space, I understand when you are on a larger property but when you are smack dab in the middle of a city, a raging wildfire is the last thing you think you need to prepare for.
  • akritenbrinkakritenbrink Lynnwood, WA (Seattle area)
    If everyone on the West Coast moved away from disaster prone areas, we'd all be living in Idaho or Nevada, and lord knows that's not anyone's idea of a good time...

    Seriously though, even though some areas are prone to wildfire, they can be unpredictable, and I can't speak for California, but this year in the PNW we had almost no rain for the three months of summer, making the wildfire season especially bad. 
  • ChinaskiChinaski Santa Cruz, CA
    ugh now there's a fire closer to me in the Santa Cruz mountains. it's up to 200 acres at this point and only around 5% contained. can the madness please end already!
    Michelle
  • @Chinaski do you have an escape plan just in case?
  • MichelleMichelle California
    @Chinaski I heard about that last night.  Unreal...hoping it doesn't grow much larger and hit the city the way it did in Santa Rosa!  
  • ChinaskiChinaski Santa Cruz, CA
    not really. my area isn't on any type of 'high alert' or been told to evacuate. this fire is more in the mountains north and it's slowly moving north (i'm south). there's is however a bunch of cloud cover in my neighborhood from all the smoke.
    Michelle
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