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Walbridge fire containment grows to 64% overnight

10:40 AM: Air quality poor as firefighters continue connecting fire lines

As firefighters continue making containment lines with warmer, drier weather on the way, much of the North Bay has poor air quality to contend with because of the continued smoke.

“The last few days we’ve had some really favorable weather with the marine layer,” said Cal Fire operations Chief Chris Waters Monday morning. “We’re also starting to get a few more resources on the fire line.”

That’s allowed a 64 percent containment of the Walbridge fire in northern Sonoma County, and with that, repopulation of many of the areas that had been evacuated during the past 10 days.

Waters said despite the warmer and drier conditions, crews should make more progress today, particularly on the north and western sides of the Hennessey fire.

“Even though it’s hot and dry, we’re not expecting any significant wind shifts or changes, and they should be able to contain this and get line cutouts by the end of the day today,” he said.

Meanwhile, Cal Fire issued a smoke outlook for the region.

SmokeWineCountry-Outlook..pdf

“Poor air quality will persist today within the outlook area. The majority of smoke impacting the outlook area is generating from the August Complex and active fires to the north,” it says.

“The smoke from the north is expanding south, mixing and heavily impacting areas to the northwest side of this forecast area. With multiple fires in the region smoke conditions can change quickly.”

Sebastopol appears to have the best shot at clearer air Monday and Tuesday, the outlook predicts.

Check air quality in your area here.

7:15AM: More containment overnight on Walbridge

Additional fire lines were connected overnight in northern Sonoma County’s Walbridge fire, increasing containment of the nearly two-week old blaze to 64 percent early Monday, Cal Fire reported.

That’s up from 58 percent Sunday night.

The Meyers fire at the coast was 99 percent contained. Burned acreage for both fires remained at the same figures they’ve been for several days, 54,940 acres for Walbridge and 2,360 acres for Meyers.

The massive Hennessey fire that started in Napa County and spread to four other counties was listed at 317,909 acres and 62 percent contained early Monday.

Overall, the entire Lightning complex of fires remained at 375,209 acres with increased containment to 63 percent.

Overnight, firefighters worked to control flare-ups in the interior islands of the fires, which pose a threat when near the fires’ perimeter, Cal Fire said.

The weather is expected to dry a bit from the cooler, humid days in the past week. Hotter than usual temperatures are expected this week, ending a period of helpful weather for firefighters.

Crews will work to control and prevent any additional fire growth in the north and east areas of the group of fires.

Most of the containment on the Walbridge was on the eastern side of the blaze. Cal Fire crews will continue to connect lines on the western half of the perimeter.

In Napa, Lake and Yolo Counties, crews will work to shore up lines on the northern areas and an interior island near the Yolo-Napa county line.

Here is the most recent containment map:

Monday morning containment map
Monday morning containment map

Repopulation continue to occur in many communities throughout the fire zone as areas are determined safe for return. Over the weekend, several evacuation orders were downgraded to warnings, allowing residents to return home at their own risk.

A number of roads remain closed or have checkpoints that residents must stop and identify themselves before gaining entry to formerly evacuated areas.

Cal Fire reported 1,209 structures have been destroyed in the fires, 118 in Sonoma County.

For the most recent Sonoma County evacuation map, go here.

You can reach Staff Writer Lori A. Carter at 707-521-5470 or lori.carter@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @loriacarter.

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