The Tubbs fire burning in Santa Rosa has claimed the lives of 7 people so far but officials expect that number to rise.
“It’s just too early — we can’t even get into a lot of the spots, “ said Sonoma County Sheriff Rob Giordano at a news conference at the Sonoma County fairgrounds. “So I don’t expect that to stay that way very long.”
Additionally, authorities said two people died in Mendocino County and two persons died in Napa County as a result of fires there.
Officials have urged patience as authorities focus on life-saving efforts until further details emerge. “I’m as frustrated as a lot of you at the scarcity of information that we have at this point,” said Santa Rosa Mayor Chris Coursey. “I want to know how many people have died, how many people have been injured, how many people are in shelters, how many people have been evacuated, how many structures have been lost. It’s frustrating. On the other hand ... our personnel have been out there doing the job of saving lives and that’s gotta come first.”
The Tubbs fire started north of Calistoga and quickly spread west over the hills and into Sonoma County, burning through Larkfield and crossing Highway 101 to northwest Santa Rosa and into areas including Fountaingrove and Coffey Park.
Santa Rosa has imposed a curfew in the mandatory evacuation areas from 6:45 p.m. until sunrise, said acting Police Chief Craig Schwartz. Anyone found outside in those areas during the curfew will be stopped by authorities and possibly arrested if they refuse to leave, Schwartz said at the news conference.
“It has been a horrific and terrifying night for a great many people,” Schwartz said. “Stay out of the mandatory evacuation areas for your own safety.”