Officials to open 3 fire-ravaged Santa Rosa communities
Here is a quick take on the latest updates of wildfires in Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and other counties.
Three communities, Orchard Park, Journey's End and Coffey Park will have controlled entry from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20.
Saturday, Oct. 21, the mobile home parks will be released back to the property owners but Coffey Park will remain a controlled entry area.
Sunday, Oct. 22, Coffey Park will be open for public access. This controlled entry is designed to allow only residents into their neighborhood, so they have protected time to assess and grieve.
Locations for entry pass distribution will be for:
Orchard Park - at the entry of Orchard Mobile Home Park;
Journey's End - at the entry of Journey's End Mobile Home Park; and
Coffey Park - in the Kohl's parking lot accessed from Airway Drive.
Law enforcement will verify entry passes and addresses of residents.
To obtain an entry pass, residents must provide a form of ID such as a driver's license, state ID card, passport, utility bill and valid photo ID, or consular ID.
If residents do not have an ID, the Local Assistance Center at 427 Mendocino Ave. can help.
Passes for up to two vehicles per property will be issued.
The mandatory evacuation order for the unincorporated area of Sonoma County north of Oakmont, including the areas east of Melita Road to Hoff Road in Kenwood, along with the areas north of Highway 12 have been lifted. This includes stretches of Los Alamos, Melita and Pythian roads along with Shady Acres Lane.
The first measurable rainfall this season comes to Santa Rosa. A very light very light rain began falling at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds at 5 p.m. By 6:30 p.m., the National Weather Service was reporting .03 inches of rain in Santa Rosa.
The California Department of Public Health on Thursday issued a statewide warning about the health risks of cleaning up after wildfire, urging residents who eventually return to fire-damaged or burned-over neighborhoods to take specific precautions to avoid toxic materials like metals, chemicals and asbestos likely present in the ash of destroyed homes.
People can reduce exposure to toxins by wearing tight-fitting N95 or P100 respirators masks, as well as sturdy gloves, long-sleeved shirts and long pants when cleaning up ash.
Persons who get ash on their skin should wash it off immediately. Wet ash can cause chemical burns, officials said.
All attempts should be made to avoid getting ash into the air, as well, by using water and a wet cloth or mop to clean dirty surfaces. Do not use brooms or otherwise sweep up dry ash, the health agency said.
Also to be avoided are shop vacs or non-HEPA (high-efficiency) vacuums because they do not filter out small particles and end up expelling them back into the air in their exhaust, where people may inhale them.
Children should not be permitted to play in areas where ash or ash-covered materials are being disturbed. Pets and toys should be cleaned of ash before children are exposed to them, health officials said.
Dry Creek Road has been opened to Mt. Veeder Road. However, Dry Creek Road from Mt. Veeder to the Napa County line remains closed. Mt. Veeder Road also remains closed.
U.S. Housing and Urban Development announced HUD will speed federal disaster assistance to the State of California and provide support to homeowners and low-income renters forced from their homes due to wildfires.
President Trump issued a major disaster declaration for Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Orange, Sonoma and Yuba counties.
Such a declaration provides immediate foreclosure relief, makes mortgage insurance available and allows for rehabilitation of existing single-family homes.
Mendocino County Sheriff's officials have identified five of the eight people who died in the fire that burned through Redwood and Coyote valleys east of Willits, destroying more than 300 homes and forcing thousands of residents to flee.
The fast-moving blaze caught most of its victims in their homes. Three people appear to have died as they were fleeing the blaze, investigators said. They included 14-year-old Kai Logan Shepherd, who was running from the fire with family members. He was among the first three victims identified in the fire last week.
The newly identified victims are:
Steve Bruce Stelter, 56, of Redwood Valley, who was found near a vehicle outside his home on West Road. He appeared to have been overrun by flames as he prepared to flee in the vehicle. His home was destroyed by the fire.
Janet Kay Costanzo, 71, of Redwood Valley, who was found in the burned remains of West Road home she shared with Stelter, her boyfriend, authorities said.