Kincade Fire: 74K Acres Burned; 80K Homes Threatened
SONOMA COUNTY, CA — The Kincade Fire is still threatening at least 90,015 residences, though 15 percent of the fire remained contained as of Tuesday morning, according to the latest information released Tuesday morning by Cal Fire. Authorities gave a new evacuation warning Monday evening as this massive Northern California wildfire now threatens a third county.
The Kincade Fire has consumed 75,415 acres and destroyed 124 structures — 57 of them homes —since it broke out Wednesday near Geyserville in northeast Sonoma County.
In addition to evacuation orders and advisories still in place for much of northern Sonoma County and part of Napa County near Calistoga, an evacuation warning for parts of Lake County became effective at 6 p.m. Monday.
Residents and businesses within Zone 31 should be ready to go in the event the evacuation becomes mandatory, Cal Fire officials said. Zone 31 includes the area of state Highway 29 from Butts Canyon Road south to the County Line; all of Butts Canyon Road in Lake County between state Highway 29 and the Napa County Line; state Highway 175 between state Highway 29; Middleton North to McKinley Drive.
“This includes Middletown proper, Twin Pine Casino, Middletown Rancheria, Dry Creek area, all roads off of Highway 175 between Middletown and McKinley Dive, and Butts Canyon Road including all side streets,” according to Cal Fire.
UPDATED, 4:30 p.m. Oct. 28: Some evacuation orders related to the Kincade Fire were downgraded Monday afternoon by the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office. About 185,000 people have been evacuated from east of U.S. Highway 101 all the way to the Pacific Ocean because of the fire, which started Wednesday night near Geyserville and has burned more than 66,000 acres and destroyed 96 structures — including 40 homes and three businesses — as it approaches Windsor.
At 2:29 p.m. Monday, mandatory evacuation orders for all Zone 7 communities in west county and some Zone 8 communities were downgraded by the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office to an evacuation advisory.
Residents of Jenner, Bodega Bay, Bodega, Occidental, Monte Rio, Rio Nido, Duncans Mills, Cazadero, Guerneville, Forestville and Graton (west of Highway 116 only), Sebastopol, Twin Hills and western unincorporated Santa Rosa can return home at their own risk, the sheriff’s office said via Nixle.
“This area is still at risk from the Kincade Fire, and much of this area does not have power or natural gas due to the power shutoff,” the sheriff’s office said. “Remember, if you hear the hi-lo sirens, it’s time to evacuate. There will still be more peace officers in your neighborhood. You do not need to check in with anyone and you do not need a peace officer escort.”
The sheriff’s office has not yet lifted mandatory evacuation orders for the portion of Zone 8 that is north of Occidental Road and includes the Santa Rosa Country Club and Olivet/Piner areas.
Road closures still in effect as of 2:30 p.m. Monday included: Occidental Road at Highway 116 – no eastbound traffic; Highway 116 at Frei Road – no eastbound traffic; Highway 116 at Mueller Road – no northbound traffic; Highway 116 at Guerneville Road – no eastbound traffic; River Road at Trenton Road – no eastbound traffic; Westside Road at Barnes Road – no northbound traffic; Trenton-Healdsburg Road at Eastside Road – no northbound or eastbound traffic; Guerneville Road at Frei Road – no eastbound traffic; Highway 116 at Green Valley Road – no eastbound traffic.
Sonoma County Sheriff Mark Essick had said the tentative plan was to re-populate areas “somewhat in reverse order of evacuations,” meaning west county residents evacuated over the weekend would likely be able to return home first.
ORIGINAL POST: Sonoma County Sheriff Mark Essick said Monday morning that he expects to have more information later in the day on when residents who had to be evacuated because of the Kincade Fire can return to their homes.
Meanwhile, the mandatory evacuation order for the city of Healdsburg was still in place as of 8:52 a.m. Monday.
“Do not attempt to come back to your home — the City remains closed to re-population,” officials with the city of Healdsburg said Monday morning via Nixle. “Road closures remain in effect and we have public-safety personnel stationed throughout the City. When it’s safe to return, we will notify you.”
Likewise, the sheriff said there was no current plan to allow county residents re-entry to burned areas since many remain as active fire scenes. Officials with the county and Cal Fire did plan on meeting later Monday to talk about when residents may return to unaffected areas.
Essick at a Monday morning briefing clarified the difference between the terms “re-entry” and “re-population,” with re-entry meaning allowing residents to go back to areas that have burned and re-population meaning the return to unaffected areas.
Essick said the tentative plan is to re-populate areas “somewhat in reverse order of evacuations” that were ordered over the weekend, with residents in the western part of Sonoma County likely able to return to their homes first.
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Announcements on when residents can return to their homes will be made on Nixle and other social media, he said. People can sign up for alerts by texting their zip code to 888777.
Cal Fire Division Chief Jonathan Cox described an “aggressive stand” made by firefighters overnight in the Shiloh Ridge area near Windsor.
Evacuations were ordered at 10:18 p.m. Sunday on Faught Road from Shiloh to Old Redwood Highway in Larkfield-Wikiup. Deputies used Hi-Lo sirens to alert residents on Faught that they needed to immediately leave the area.
Upwards of 4,000 crews from around California and various neighboring states are on the fire lines, Cox said.
There will be an expected break Monday from the extremely windy weather over the weekend that fanned the flames of the Kincade Fire, although more dry and windy weather is expected late Tuesday into Wednesday.
National Weather Service meteorologist Ryan Walbrun said a Red Flag Warning for dangerous weather for fires will expire at 11 a.m. Monday.
“There’s a good window of opportunity with quieter weather this afternoon and into tonight,” Walbrun said. “Hopefully firefighters can take advantage of those calmer conditions.”
All Santa Rosa Junior College campuses in Sonoma County are closed and online classes and activities are canceled through Wednesday because of the Kincade Fire and resulting evacuations and power outages. Updates on the school’s status will be posted online.
Another concern for Sonoma County has been PG&E’s public safety power shutoff. PG&E warned Monday of another potential public safety power shutoff beginning Tuesday that would affect 35 counties, including Sonoma and Napa.
“… Due to the dynamic and changing weather conditions, and high fire risk, some customers who are currently out of power may remain out throughout the duration of the next potential PSPS event,” PG&E officials said Monday morning.
Officials with the county of Sonoma said even though PG&E is beginning safety inspections, power shutoffs are expected to occur at 2 a.m. Tuesday for public safety as high winds are expected to return on Tuesday at 6 a.m.
“Even if the power is restored, please use caution and follow evacuation orders in place,” the county says.
According to Socoemergency.org, Zones 1-10 remained under Mandatory Evacuation Orders Monday.
Mandatory Evacuation Zones include: Zone 1: Geyserville / Zone 2: Knights Valley / Zone 3: Healdsburg and Windsor / Zone 4: Dry Creek Valley / Zone 5: Mark West, Larkfield, Wikiup / Zone 6: NE Santa Rosa including Fountaingrove, Rincon Valley / Zone 7: Forestville, Guerneville, Duncans Mills, Jenner, Bodega Bay, Occidental / Zone 8: Sebastopol and Valley Ford / Zone 9: Coffey Park and Santa Rosa north of Guerneville Rd/Steele Lane / Zone 10: West of Stony Point Road between Guerneville Rd. and Ludwig Ave.
All 40 public school districts in Sonoma County have canceled classes until at least Wednesday, according to Sonoma County Office of Education officials. The county’s education office cited “the uncertainty around the availability of power, evacuations of students and staff, fire threat and air quality concerns” for the closing of all public schools on Monday and Tuesday, officials announced early Monday.
In addition, the Office of Education’s alternative education, special education and juvenile detention center classes won’t be in session.
The county will announce whether schools will be closed for any days the rest of the week by 4 p.m. each day this week, officials said. The following charter schools will also be closed: Credo Charter School, Kid Street Charter School, Pathways Charter, Reach Charter, River Montessori Charter, Sebastopol Independent Charter, Village Charter and Woodland Star Charter.
Patch will update this post throughout the day Monday, Oct. 28, 2019; please refresh the page for the latest on the Kincade Fire situation.
—Bay City News Service contributed to this report.
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