Monday, October 28, 2019
Many of you have sent me emails, messages through Facebook and Instagram or commented on my last blogpost asking how we are doing in our current wildfire. Thank you so much for thinking of us and checking in. So here's a brief update.
We are still home and we even have power. With that we belong to the lucky ones because many are without power and even more had to evacuate. The wildfire started last week at The Geysers, a very large geothermal field. The fire, called the Kincade Fire, quickly spread, threatening Geyserville and the beautiful Alexander Valley. On top of the large fire there were extremely strong winds in the forecast for the following weekend. Last Saturday morning at approx. 11:00 the massive mandatory evacuations started and so far about 186,000 people have been evacuated - the biggest evacuation ever in the history of Sonoma County. Everything has been very organized - the evacuations were ordered in phases, beginning with the towns of Healdsburg and Windsor which are closest to the fire. They quickly were extended to the west of the county to the coast which is a huge area, much of it densely forested with small towns and villages in between as well as vineyards and only small winding roads - a nightmare if people had to get out there with no time and in panic. Then even the Northwestern part of Santa Rosa was evacuated.
The night from Saturday to Sunday was restless and intense with constantly new Nixle alerts coming in. I got up shortly after 4:00 am since the fire was getting too close for comfort. We had already packed the car on Saturday and were ready to leave any minute if we had to.
So far we have stayed put since our area is not under mandatory evacuation order. We are on alert and a bit on edge. The air quality has become very poor since the smoke is making its way down here. We have the air filter running inside and only go outside if necessary, wearing N95 maks. The winds over the weekend were wild and scary as predicted with the result that the fire doubled in size and is only 5% contained. Today, with winds having died down and expected to pick up again tomorrow, the firefighters are aggressively attacking the wildfire and I hope they will be successful. We are deeply thankful for the endless and tireless efforts of our firefighters and first responders - they are the true heroes.
This is a very bad déjà vu of the October 2017 wildfires when entire neighborhoods in Santa Rosa burnt down. Many of the rebuilt homes or houses currently under construction are in the mandatory evacuation areas. I can't even begin to imagine how these people must feel right now.