Here’s the latest news on the fires in Sonoma County and surrounding areas.
After being evacuated in the early hours of Oct. 9, Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital will reopen at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, hospital officials announced in a news release. It will offer full inpatient and emergency care services. Elective procedures will resume at a later date.
To reopen, the hospital had to go through inspections by the California Department of Public Health and the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development.
At least 60 employees lost homes in the fire, the release said.
Patients and staff with questions can call 866-961-2889.
The following evacuations have been lifted effective immediately:
Highway 128 between River Rock Casino and Chalk Hill Road.
The area east of Fraught Road and East Shiloh Road outside the fire perimeter.
Sonoma city, and county areas north of East Napa Street to the fire perimeter, including the areas north of Napa Street to the fire perimeter; west from 4th Street East and Gehricke Road to Highway 12 including Norbomm Road and associated side roads to the fire perimeter and Gehricke Road.
The area of Bennett Valley/Annadel Heights in the Santa Rosa city limits.
Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital doctors, nurses and staff handled nearly twice the volume of patients during the last week of fires while suffering extensive personal losses.
Over the seven-day period, the only operating trauma center in the region saw 1,200 cases compared to a weekly average of 700 cases.
Included in the totals were 400 patients treated for respiratory problems and 60 burn cases. Five serious burn victims including one with burns over 65 percent of his body were transferred to Bay Area hospitals for treatment.
Because Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital and Kaiser hospital in Santa Rosa were closed, Memorial staff inherited a number of expecting mothers. They delivered 36 babies — three times the normal number of births – while Petaluma Valley Hospital, also part of the Saint Joseph Health system, delivered 14 babies.
At the same time, 83 Memorial hospital caregivers, 51 doctors and five volunteers lost their homes in the fire. Hospital officials said the displacement of such a large segment of medical providers will complicate challenges already posed by the regional housing shortage.
As of Monday more than 33,000 calls have come in to Sonoma County’s fire hotline, said Sonoma County Supervisor Shirlee Zane.
Initially they mainly were about evacuation areas but now callers are asking about mental health issues.
“The shock has worn off” and people are sad and worried, Zane said Monday. She encouraged people to seek help from county services including calling 707-565-6900 for immediate issues.
While Santa Rosa city officials announced donations aren’t being accepted at city shelters, police or fire houses, a Cal Fire spokesman also said there were better ways to support firefighters than with food.
Cal Fire’s Jonathan Cox suggested people make signs thanking first responders.
“Those signs are the best way to help,” he said.
Maps hanging on the press briefing board at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds Monday of the area fires now mostly are ringed with longer black lines than red lines, an indication of growing containment lines and further firefighter success.
With about 70 percent of the Tubbs fire contained, the map showed red still at the top, in the area in Napa County and up Mount St. Helena in Robert Louis Stevenson State Park, but officials said several efforts Monday including hiking firefighters moving on fire’s edges, carving out a fire break with chain saws, backfires and ongoing air attacks could lead to further containment by Monday night.
On the Nuns fire, from Glen Ellen south around Schellville was solid black. Areas of Kenwood remained red, showing non containment. Red lines also remained in the Mayacamas mountain range separating Sonoma and Napa counties.
Efforts were “very successful” with efforts on the Pocket fire in northern Sonoma County, said Cal Fire’s Steve Crawford, who is running overall firefighting operations. The east side of the fire leading to The Geysers remained the toughest area to finish off but he also expected improvement by the end of the day with the weather’s cooperation.
Sonoma County Sheriff Rob Giordano asked for patience from residents, noting many evacuees are frustrated and want to go home. For people whose homes still stand within burn areas “you will not be living there for days or weeks,” until areas are deemed safe, the sheriff said.
Giordano said residents without power cannot use generators because it was slowing down PG&E efforts to reenergize neighborhoods.
Of 1,863 missing person reports in Sonoma County since the start of the fires, 88 remain to be found. Giordano said it likely some of those 88 will become fatalities as the body searches continue. More than 50 people Monday were involved in searched of burned homes as well as specific searches of homes where missing people reside.
The death early Monday of a contract water tender working on fire suppression ups the death toll from the North County fires to 41. The man died when the truck he was driving overturned near Oakville in Napa County.
Fire officials early Monday afternoon issued several updates at a daily press conference held at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds and during subsequent interviews.
The CHP is investigating the death of a man driving a water truck early Monday in the fire area near Oakville in Napa County. The man worked for a private water company contracting with Cal Fire to deliver water to firefighters, said Bret Govea, who is helping manage the local firefights.
CHP Capt. Mike Palacio said investigators are seeking the cause of the crash.
“I’m sorry for the loss of the gentleman driving the water tender. He was helping fight the fires.”
Santa Rosa city council members ttook a helicopter ride Monday to the scene of the fires, said Santa Rosa Fire Chief Tony Gossner, who accompanied them.
“Seeing it from the air, the idea of the scale, the challenges, it’s daunting,” said Santa Rosa Mayor Chris Coursey, who was on the air tour. “There is still fire burning. We are not out of this yet.”
Coursey vowed the city was up to the task of rebuilding, with the help promised from various government agencies. “We are ready for the job. We are going to do the job.”
Active fire continues to burn in a corner of the Nun fire in the hills of Sugarloaf State Park and Hood Mountain Regional Park area above Highway 12. With Oakmont senior community nearby and other neighborhoods, evacuations would likely hold for at least a few more days if not longer due to the nearby fire activity, officials said.
Drone fliers have been warned to stay away from fire areas and airports. Firefighting helicopters stationed at the Petaluma airport had to be grounded briefly Sunday due to a 24-year-old flying a drone, said Cal Fire spokesman Jonathan Cox. The drone got very close to a helicopter in flight, forcing the craft to land.
“If you fly we can’t,” Cox said. Petaluma police cited the resident.
The generosity of so many is greatly appreciated but now it’s too much and officials said no more donations of food, clothing or other supplies will be accepted at shelters or fire houses and police stations. Instead, donors can give food or money to agencies equipped to handle it, including the Redwood Empire Food Bank at 3990 Brickway Blvd., Santa Rosa.
The Redwood fire in Mendocino County has now charred 35,800 acres and is 50 percent contained, according to Cal Fire. Eight people have died in that fire.
A search and rescue team Monday morning examined a partially burned apartment complex near Coffey Park seeking a woman who has been missing for the past week.
The wreckage of the woman’s burned car remains at Hopper Lane Apartments, 1163 Hopper Ave., said Sgt. Dave Thompson, who oversees the county’s search and rescue volunteers. The woman’s caregiver had been unable to reach her on the morning of the fire due to road blocks. No friends or family since have been able to locate the woman.
“All indications are leading to the possibility that she did not get out of here alive,” Crum said.
The team broke for lunch without finding any remains, Crum said. The volunteers from Sonoma and Alameda counties planned to resume the search in the afternoon.
A firefighter driving a water truck on the Nuns fire near Oakville crashed Monday morning off Oakville Grade and was killed in the wreck, according to authorities.
The crash happened in the hills above Oakville where firefighters were protecting homes from the Nuns fire. It occurred about 6:30 a.m. as the driver, who’d been delivering water to firefighters, apparently crashed through a guard rail. The vehicle dropped down a ravine, according to reports.
A Cal Fire official said the person was contracted to help with the firefight.
The man reportedly crashed near Walnut Drive, not far from Highway 29 and Oakville Grade.
The Nuns fire has been spreading from the Sonoma Valley side of the Mayacamas mountains down into Napa County. Sunday night fire in that area was active, according to officials.
Mandatory and advisory evacuations now are lifted in parts of Bennett Valley, Kenwood, Glen Ellen, Boyes and Sonoma, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office said at noon Monday.
Bennett Valley: Bennett Valley Road and east of Petaluma Hill Road, open except for road closures. No need to check in with anyone and no escort required.
Road closures remain at Bennett Valley Road at Holly Oak Way. There is no access allowed east of that point.
Bennett Valley Road at Keiser Ranch Road. No access west of that.
Warms Springs Road at Sonoma Mountain Road. No access east of that intersection.
Bennett Valley Road between Holly Oak Way and Keiser Ranch Road is still closed including Enterprise, Old Bennett Ridge, Bardy and Rollo roads.
Newly open roads include Bennett Valley at Yulupa Road, Petaluma Hill at Crane Canyon and Roberts Road at Lichau Road.
Kenwood: Residents outside the burn area may return home. Two routes are open into Kenwood, from Bennett Valley Road, take Sonoma Mountain Road to Warm Springs Road into Kenwood. Or from Petaluma Hill Road take Warm Springs Road into Kenwood.
Highway 12 is only open between Greene Street and Dunbar Road.
Kenwood resident MUST check in at the checkpoint at Warm Springs Road at Mound Avenue and need identification or paperwork showing residency.
Boyes Hot Springs: Advisory evacuations have been lifted including east of Highway 12 to the fire’s burn edge and south from from Madrone Raod to Verano Avenue
Sonoma city: East of Highway 12 to Fourth Street East and south of East Verano to East and West Spain Street. Also SEventh STreet EAst from East Napa Street south to Denmark Street.
County officials also are attempting to resume garbage services to those areas.
Searchers Monday morning were working at an address on Coffey Park looking for remains of a possible fire victim, said Sonoma County Sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Spencer Crum.
No new deaths have been reported since Saturday, leaving the Tubbs fire death toll at 22, more than half the total from all the Northern California fires.
Sonoma County sheriff’s officials still have 88 reports of people missing.
The Santa Rosa VA clinic is open for walk-ins and urgent issues only.
The Clearlake, Ukiah and Eureka VA clinics are- open and fully operational.
VA shuttles will not run between the San Francisco VA Medical Center and any VA clinics north of the Golden Gate Bridge today. Shuttles will run between SFVAMC and Santa Rosa on Tuesday. VA Shuttles will not travel north of Santa Rosa.
The 2 a.m. wakeup call Monday for sleeping firefighters at Rancho Adobe’s Penngrove station came not from a fire bell but from screeching tires, crumpling metal and debris hitting their station.
Firefighters rushed outside and found a pickup driver had plowed through the fire house fence and into two vehicles owned by firefighters working together on the Nuns fire.
“I thought this guy was going to come through my bedroom,” said Rancho Adobe Battalion Chief Mike Weihman.
There was no sign of the driver outside but the abandoned truck bed was “literally full to bursting with marijuana along with a ladder and bolt cutters,” which firefighters believe meant the crop was likely stolen, Weihman said.
The driver had been trying to elude CHP officers in a short pursuit after officers noticed the driver weaving, Weihman said.
The suspect appeared to have missed the sweeping curve heading into Penngrove and landed in the fire district’s parking lot.
The CHP was investigating.
There are several safety issues for residents returning to previously evacuated areas.
It is advised to wear protective clothing, not touch debris and not turn PG&E service back on.
Ash is a hazardous waste. To be eligible for state-funded debris cleanup by CalRecycle, residents cannot move or spread debris. Any action may force CalRecycle to declare a site ineligible for the program.
Do not transport ash or debris to landfills or transfer stations.
Wear closed-toed shoes, long pants, eye protection, a face mask and gloves.
Do not turn PG&E service on. Either PG&E has been there and turned the gas on or homeowners must wait for them to do so. PG&E can be reached at 800-743-5000.
About 70 hand crews Monday morning began another assault on Mount St. Helena, the most active stretch of the week-old Tubbs fire.
“It’s one of the most dangerous things we do, a downhill fireline,” said Greg Bertelli, Cal Fire’s division chief for Lake County. “We make sure we’ve got good support.”
The crews will scramble down the difficult terrain alongside the fire, using chainsaws to cut away brush in the fire’s path.
The Santa Rosa centered Tubbs fire started near Calistoga and raced into the city, obliterating thousands of homes. It also spread across Napa Valley and up to the top of Mount St. Helena, and for days has burned actively in the crevices and drainages on the steep mountainside.
“It’s probably the most difficult spot we have left to turn the corner” on that fire, which Monday was 70 percent contained.
Fire officials last week said the flames had pushed into Lake County but Monday Bertelli said he thought the fire remained on the Napa County side of the mountain.
The Sonoma County Superior Court will continue to be closed at least until October 18, 2017, according to Acting Presiding Judge Gary Nadler.
Updates regarding court closures can be found here.
A firefighter who died early Monday was hired as a contract firefighter, said Napa County Cal Fire Chief David Shew.
The man reportedly had been driving a water tank truck on the Oakville Grade near the Mondavi Winery when he crashed.
Shew said it was unclear what caused the crash, but “fatigue is definitely a factor” as firefighters have been working long shifts.
Cal Fire typically hires contracted equipment, such as water tenders and bulldozers, for large fires.
Law enforcement officers early Monday have been evacuating residents in the hills east of Santa Rosa along Los Alamos Road and Cougar Lane due to growing fire threats.
During the night flames jumped fire lines, burning at least 25 new acres and further threatening homes in the hills near Skyhawk and Mountainhawk, said Santa Rosa Fire Chief Tony Gossner. The neighborhoods are off Highway 12 not far from Hood Mountain Regional Park.
“We’ve got people who didn’t evacuate or won’t evacuate. Now the push is law enforcement is going in there to make sure everyone’s out,” Gossner said.
“Those roads are so narrow, we’ve got dozers, engines, hand crews, we can’t be monkeying around with cars,” Gossner said. “People need to get out. We need to get in there and can’t get bound up. They’re putting a lot of other people at risk.”
At Kaiser, employees arrived at medical office buildings 1 and 2, just south of the hospital, which is still closed. The employees were greeted by three choral singers, “So many angels, all around me, so many angels, it’s you I see...” as some with tears walked into the MOB 1.
In the lobby of MOB 1, staff had two small tables with glass pitchers of water and a large bowl, blessing stations where water was poured on their hands along with a prayer recited.
Medical staff congregated in the lobbies of the medical office buildings, hugging each other, telling stories and talking about the logistics of getting back to work.
The questions of a normal Monday morning were replaced with, “Did you lose your house?” “Is there anything you need for your team?”
It was a reunion at once solemn, tearful, joyful, with many eager to get back to work.
Residents in isolated portions of Fountaingrove and Oakmont still need to boil water, according to Santa Rosa police.
Fountaingrove: east of Mendocino Avenue, north of Chanate Road, west of Fountaingrove Parkway and south of Mark West Springs Road.
Oakmont: White Oak Drive south of Madelyne Court, including Madelyne Place and on Oak Mesa Drive south of Starry Knoll Court, including Shooting Star Place.
A firefighter died Monday morning in a crash while working on the firelines in Napa County near Mondavi Winery in Oakville, according to news reports.
The firefighter was reported to be driving a water tank truck, which crashed off Oakville Grade Road, according to news reports.
Continued progress throughout Sunday night into Monday led to longer containment lines but firefighters still battle active fire in several areas, fire officials said Monday.
The Tubbs fire’s burn footprint has shrunk by about 8,000 acres due to more precise mapping of the cataclysmic Santa Rosa fire, while containment grew during the night to 70 percent. The fire now is listed at 36,390 acres.
Some of the day’s toughest fighting was expected to continue at the Oakmont fire, now 875 acres with 15 percent containment.
“It continues to be the priority and a challenge for us,” said fire spokesman Paul Lowenthal.
That fire started early Saturday off Pythian Road, across Highway 12 from the Oakmont senior community. Sunday night the fire continued to push north and east and firefighters contended with spot fires jumping ahead of their attempts to hold a line, Lowenthal said.
On the Santa Rosa‑centered Tubbs fire, the most active area Monday was up on Red Hill and Mount St. Helena where flames continue to push into Lake County, making short runs to the north side of the peaks, officials said.
The Nuns fire, centered in the Sonoma Valley, was at 48,627 acres Monday morning and 50 percent contained. That fire continues to grow to the north at a moderate rate in steep areas of the Mayacamas mountains bordering Sonoma and Napa counties.
The Pocket fire’s problem is the east section, toward The Geysers. Firefighters have gained 40 percent contained on ther 11,889-acre fire burning above Geyserville.
Monday morning there were 39 helicopters on the effort, multiple air tankers and six aircraft being used to supervise the air attack.
You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 707‑521-5412 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter@rossmannreport.