The failure of cellphone and other privately owned systems crippled emergency-warning efforts, and the state lacks authority to order companies to strengthen their systems against disasters, the state’s top emergency manager said.
After her own harrowing experience in October’s firestorm, a Santa Rosa woman is lobbying government officials to require backup batteries on garage doors, which impeded the escape of several fire victims.
The North Bay Construction Corps program has accelerated and expanded its student training program to get more of them working in the industry as the region retools for a major rebuilding effort after the fires.
'I can understand it a lot more — how it feels if somebody’s sad that they lost their home. Now I understand how they feel even more,' says Ian Rich, who founded the organization in 2014 to provide blankets for local homeless.
‘I looked out and everybody was in their cars already evacuating, honking their horns. Bushes appeared to be just randomly bursting into flames,” said caregiver Ed Corn, who raced into Heidi Kulick’s room, grabbed her wheelchair and said, ‘We’ve got to get you out of here.’
‘We were just going to ask about what supplies they needed, but they actually needed more help,’ Paige Williams, 15, remembers. ‘So we ended up stepping in and staying late. It turned into multiple days and weeks on end of almost living there.’
'When I got there, I saw there were no supplies except a broken glucometer, a box of gloves from my truck, some over-the-counter medications and half a bottle of Pepto-Bismol,' registered nurse Michelle Patino recalled. 'I immediately knew that we needed to get organized.'
Through photos and our list of heroes, take a moment to give thanks for the hundreds of firefighting crews, law enforcement and paramedic providers that stepped into the line of fire in a heroic effort to save lives.
'We’ve all arrived,' Lori Barron writes. 'The man who fled in the night with four guinea pigs and his wallet. The youth with a set jaw and rolled-up sleeves, pushing a pit bull in a stroller. The girls from the rehab facility, knitting scarves before lights out....'
'We’re doing this because we believe that artists are the second responders,' said Creative Sonoma head Kirsten Madsen said. More than 50 artists have applied for grants to help them recover from last month’s devastating fires.
The county's top emergency services executive was convinced long before the fires that push messages to wireless users would be ineffective in a disaster. So they weren't considered for warnings last month.
Some have lost loved ones and most face very painful injuries that require specialized treatments and surgeries, occupational and physical therapy, and emotional and social adjustments that will be wrenching.
If you’re feeling uncharacteristically overwhelmed or distracted at work after the Sonoma County fires, you’re not alone. Our career blogger shares ways workers may be affected, and how to take care of yourself.
For some neighbors, the organizing effort informally known as Rebuild Coffey Park has become crucial because the costs of replacing their houses may far exceed the fire insurance proceeds they expect to receive.
The City Council killed a stalled City Hall building project Tuesday to divert $2.3 million for recovery efforts. 'We are on track to significantly overspend our budget,' the chief financial officer said.
'I would rather lose my house than my cats and I imagine a lot of these people feel the same way,' said Jennifer Petruska, one of the volunteers helping to trap cats found wandering in fire-ravaged Coffey Park.
Lawsuits were filed on behalf of three couples who lost their homes in the fires, including former San Francisco Mayor Frank Jordan, and a couple hospitalized after surviving the fire in their pool while the fire raged around them.
There are things homeowners can do to protect their properties by planting and maintaining a landscape with less-flammable plants and trees and maintained in such a way that will reduce the chance of fire spreading.
A month after the Redwood Valley fire took nine lives and destroyed 313 homes in Mendocino County, Sheriff Tom Allman identified several actions Thursday to improve the county’s ability to warn residents of future fires.
Coffey Park residents are facing their first major test: how to clean up the largest concentration of burned properties in Sonoma County. The outcome could significantly influence the rebuilding of their neighborhood.
'The fire effects that we’re seeing are across a full spectrum,' says Melanie Parker, natural resources manager for Sonoma County Regional Parks. 'It’s really fascinating to get out there. It’s not all heartbreak.'
The brother of a paraplegic woman who was killed when the Tubbs fire destroyed her assisted living center in Coffey Park sued PG&E Thursday in what appears to be the first wrongful death claim connected to the wildfires.
'It’s a familiar thing for the community to do, that I believe is a real comfort for them in the middle of such unrest and tension,' says Pegi Ball, manager of the Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market.
Some are asking whether it’s wise to rebuild Fountaingrove as it was before the Tubbs fire, given that it has now burned to the ground twice in 53 years and wasn’t built according to city hillside rules to begin with.
'People were standing around holding babies and had kids in PJs,' said Steve Elliott, owner of Fundemonium in Rohnert Park, of the morning the deadly fires roared through parts of Sonoma and Napa counties.
We suggest adoption of a form of the Hippocratic Oath. If you can do no good — such as freeing up vacation rentals or cottages to victims of the fire — at least 'do no harm' by jacking up rents to unsustainable and unjustifiable extremes.
City and county officials say workers entered a locked-down fire zone in Santa Rosa and began demolishing a Fountaingrove senior care facility before the ruins had been searched for bodies and toxic materials.
Notorious winds linked to many of California's worst wildfires are known by various names but all share the common trait of being able to whip a spark into a deadly inferno that seems to come out of nowhere.
'The recent tragic events up in Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties have left us all saddened. We’re here to help as much as we can,' said Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich in a video announcing a concert to benefit those affected by the Wine Country fires.
'We already had a shortage of physicians in Sonoma County,' says Wendy Young, executive director of the Sonoma County Medical Association. 'I have doctors who are looking for houses. Where can I put them?'
Hundreds of 7- and 8-year-olds gathered to play the annual Great Halloween Jamboree tournament on Sunday, a daylong hockey tournament that brought the Santa Rosa community together after the devastation.
The Sonoma County Fairgrounds has been converted to house evacuees, an animal shelter, the command center for Cal-Fire, a media center, temporary home to hundreds of fire fighters and their fire fighting equipment and so much more.
When fire threatened her property, Glen Ellen resident Liz Bohan rounded up and evacuated her 24 sheep, then set up a Facebook group for people evacuating large animals and livestock. Within minutes, rescue resources started flooding in.
Firefighters from across the nation and globe and officers from across the state helped reinforce California National Guard troops and others called in to help in Sonoma County’s largest natural disaster.
Tens of thousands of acres of wildlands and interface areas were blackened this past week and some are still burning, but there was also some good news on park lands that so far, have escaped unscathed.
Forecast gusts of up to 60 mph tonight stoked fears of another firestorm this weekend. Authorities identified 10 of the 17 people confirmed dead in Sonoma County. Nearly 2,900 homes in Santa Rosa have been destroyed.
I stopped counting at 20 — which is the approximate number of friends whose homes were destroyed by fire before dawn on Monday. Call it a nightmare in slow motion — one friend and then another and another.