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Valley fire survivor pens song about the deadly blaze

Of the some 19,000 residents evacuated during last September’s Valley fire in Lake, Napa and Sonoma counties, Robert Battaile was one of the lucky ones.

Battaile, 65, was back in his Berryessa Estates home in Pope Valley within a week after the fire subsided, but he hasn’t forgotten what he saw and felt during the evacuation.

The 76,067-acre fire, one of the most destructive in state history, destroyed more than 1,300 homes and killed four people before it was brought under control in a massive firefighting effort.

Earlier this week, the musician, filmmaker and commercial video producer wrote a song about it titled - naturally enough - “The Valley Fire.”

“I just wrote it five days ago,” he said. “I recorded it in my studio at home.”

The song can be heard at www.robertbplus.com, complete with fire sirens and other sound effects in the background.

It begins with the line, “Saturday I’m getting gas in Angwin, when the sirens and the radio cut in.”

Bataile is still hoping to re-record the song featuring a number of other voices from the community, and then raise funds to aid fire victims.

“Wouldn’t it be fun to ramp it up a few notches and perhaps generate some awareness and even revenue for the community?” Bataile said. “Like the last line in the song says, ‘We put you out, but you’re not done.’ There’s much still to be done.”

You can reach staff writer Dan Taylor at 521-5243 or dan.taylor@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @danarts.

Dan Taylor

Arts & Entertainment, The Press Democrat

Do you take fun seriously? I know I do. Tell me what you want to know about arts and entertainment in the North Bay to make the best use of your leisure time and money. As a longtime local arts journalist, I have learned where to look and who to ask.

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