A look back at wildfires in Sonoma County and on the North Coast
As Gaye LeBaron reminded us in her column last week, wildfires are common in our region. Tales of historic blazes are passed down from generation to generation.
While the Kincade fire, which was fully contained Nov. 6 after torching 77,758 acres, is the largest fire in Sonoma County history, the deadly 2017 firestorm caused the most damage, leveling 5,643 structures. Combined with the five other fires that ravaged the North Bay in 2017, the Tubbs, Nuns, Atlas, Redwood Valley, Pocket and Sulphur fires destroyed over 195,000 acres, according to Cal Fire.
Other historic fires include the Valley fire, which took down 76,067 acres in Sonoma, Lake and Napa counties in 2015; the North Pass fire, which destroyed 41,983 acres in Mendocino County in 2012; and the Rumsey fire, which destroyed 39,138 acres in Napa and Yolo counties in 2004.
The paths these fires take through our communities are generally the same. Sonoma County alone has four historic wildfire corridors, including the Tubbs fire zone (scene of the Hanly fire in 1964), Sonoma Valley (scene of the Cavedale fires in 1925 and 1966), the Geysers (with fires in 1988, 1991, 1999, 2004 and 2019) and the Guerneville area (hit by major fires in 1923, 1961 and 1981), to name a few.
For more photos and a timeline of other historic wildfires that have blazed through Sonoma, Lake, Mendocino, Napa and Yolo counties, go to pressdemocrat.com.
Janet Balicki Weber