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Fires char buildings, grassland in Santa Rosa, north of Healdsburg

  • A man who would not give his name takes a look at his 1966 Ford Torino convertible that was wiped out by a brush fire Tuesday off Kimberly Lane in Santa Rosa. The fire was bordered by Willowside, Olivet and Piner Roads. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat)

Fire burned about 18 acres Tuesday in blazes north of Healdsburg and in west Santa Rosa, threatening homes, damaging outbuildings and filling the afternoon sky with thick smoke.

The only siginificant losses came in the Santa Rosa fire, reported at about 4 p.m. in a grassy field south of Piner Road and west of Willowside Road, near Olivet Elementary School.

Wind-whipped flames spread in a southeastern direction, briefly threatening homes near the school. A classic car valued at $40,000 was destroyed when fire scorched a garage.

Brush Fires In Santa Rosa, Healdsburg

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Pat Flynn, who lives east of the fire off Willowside Road, said he evacuated his family when he saw flames charging across the field toward him.

“I saw the smoke first,” said Flynn, standing outside his house as fire crews continued to work in the distance. “Within two to three minutes we could see flames. I told my kids to get the dogs and get in the car.”

His neighbor, Jeff Wollmer, also saw the flames approaching and prepared to flee. He said the fire started in a creek near Selvage Road and spread southeast toward Royal Court.

“All of a sudden, it was in the trees,” he said, pointing a grove of oak. “We ran home, picked up our stuff and got ready to leave, fast.”

Children from a YMCA summer camp at Olivet school also were evacuated to the parking lot as a safety precaution. Camp counselors called parents and a CHP officer talked to children.

But the fire didn't come near the school.

A Cal Fire helicopter dropped buckets of water on the flames as a bulldozer carved a fire break at one end of the field.

About 11 acres burned before it was doused, said Cyndi Foreman, Rincon Valley Fire spokeswoman.

No injuries were reported, she said.

The cause was not immediately known but an investigation will look at nearby power lines, Foreman said.

The Healdsburg fire was reported at about 2:45 p.m. near the intersection of Alexander Valley and West Soda Rock roads. It charred about seven acres of grass, drawing local engines and Cal Fire crews, before it was contained in about two hours.

The cause was under investigation.

You can reach Staff Writer Paul Payne at 568-5312 or paul.payne@pressdemocrat.com.

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