Wildfires leave Northern California Communities in Ruins


MTC Campus

Death toll rises as wildfires devastate wine country

Dominick Celestina, Staff Writer

Social media lit up almost literally early Oct. 9 as firsthand accounts of the wild fires in Northern California circulated. Nearly one dozen fires began ripping through neighboring Mendocino, Sonoma, Solano, and Napa counties late night on Oct. 8. The cause is unknown but Cal Fire officials said winds of up to 50-70 mph and a five-year drought are responsible for the rapid spread.

Governor Jerry Brown issued a state of emergency Oct. 9. The combined fires have burned over 100,000 acres of land. More than 40,000 people evacuated and Cal Fire stated that the death toll was at 41 as of Oct. 17, with approximately 600 missing person reports. The L.A. Times reported that Vice President Mike Pence said President Trump approved a “major disaster declaration” to provide funds and aid to victims.

The www.fire.cal.gov website posted that as of Oct. 17 the most destructive fire, Tubbs fire in Santa Rosa, Calif., burned over 36,000 acres at eighty 82 percent containment. The Atlas Peak fire in Napa, C.A. burned over 51,000 acres at 77 percent containment.

At least 14 were dead in Sonoma County according to Sonoma County Sheriff Rob Giordano in a news conference held the morning of Oct. 12. Nearly 600 structures reduced to ashes—over 550 of them residential building. The Historic Round Barn, multiple hotels and wineries were claimed by Tubbs. The SF Gate reports Tubbs nearly claimed, “The Petrified Forest, which has the oldest and largest trees in the world, and Safari West, a private wildlife reserve with Giraffes and rhinoceros.”

In Santa Rosa over 7,000 acres of Annadele State Park burned by the Nuns fire which has burned a total of over 52,000 acres.

The number of evacuees continues to rise. Ash and debris continues to fall over nearby towns and smoke in the sky can be seen from as far as Oakland.

Residents in the area are standing together, finding comfort in a catchphrase created by and for affected residents. “The love is thicker than the smoke” has been posted on various social media sites to find some light in the midst of the chaos and destruction. The communities are tightly knit in Northern California, where many North Bay Area natives living in Los Angeles and San Diego area have made travels back north to volunteer. Check out #SonomaProud #SonomaFires and #NapaStrong.