Here is a quick take on the latest updates of wildfires in Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and other counties.
A pair of public meetings are planned for Thursday in Sonoma and Santa Rosa to address residents re-entering burned neighborhoods, the cleanup process for damaged and destroyed properties and the search for replacement housing. Local governments are advising residents that improper handling of fire debris can be harmful to personal and public health. Small scale sifting through ashes to locate personal items will not impact residents’ qualification for financial assistance. Large-scale, private removal of debris and ashes requires coordination with government officials.
The two meetings are set for 1 to 3 p.m. at the Sonoma Veterans Memorial Building, 126 1st Street West; and 6 to 8 p.m. at Santa Rosa High School’s gym, 1235 Mendocino Ave. The meetings will include question and answer sessions.
Mandatory evacuations have been lifted for the Rincon Valley, Skyhawk and Los Alamos areas of Santa Rosa. This includes all evacuated areas north of Highway 12, east of Calistoga Road to Melita Road outside the fire perimeter.
Calistoga Road at Harville Road remains closed.
The city of Santa Rosa advises that for residents returning home to:
Adhere to road closures and any evacuation warnings.
Watch for trees and poles with deep charring, particularly if still smoking, as they should be considered hazardous.
Drive slowly, don’t text and drive, and yield to emergency personnel in the area.
Evaluate damage, and be aware hazardous conditions may exist, particularly if a residence or outbuilding has burned. Hazards may include asbestos, heavy metals, by-products of plastic combustion and various other chemicals.
Check for embers in the attic, which may have entered through vents.
Anticipate firefighters and other heavy equipment working throughout the fire area.
Call 911 if you don’t feel safe or see an emergency.
A coalition of private and public legal organizations have created a free hotline in an effort to provide legal aide to fire victims across the state.
The hotline number is 415-575-3120. Callers can also leave a message. Spanish and Chinese language attorneys will be on the hotline, too.
The attorneys on the hotline will be able to guide victims through a variety of legal issues with a focus on the following:
Landlord tenant legal issues
Life, medical and property insurance issues
Emergency aid applications (FEMA)
Home repair contracts
Mortgage foreclosure issues
Replacement of wills and other important legal documents.
Additional legal resources related to disasters can be found on the State Bar’s website here.
In addition to the State Bar-run hotline, there are two others for Napa and Sonoma counties. The Bay Area Legal Aid’s Legal Advice Hotline, 800-551-5554, is the number for Napa County residents. Additionally, The Healthcare Consumer Center’s line, 855-693-7285, has been set up to aid Sonoma and Napa county residents with medical insurance coverage issues, prescription coverage issues and for those who have relocated out of state.
How fast have home prices climbed?
The median price for a single-family home in Sonoma County has climbed 131 percent in the last nine years since prices bottomed at $305,000 in February 2009. Key milestones:
$305,000 - February 2009
$435,500 - April 2013
$507,000 - July 2014
$600,000 - June 2016
$705,000 - June 2018
Source: Pacific Union International senior vice president Rick Laws