Live updates: 23 dead in Wine Country fires; historic Spanish Mission at risk

2017-10-12 | San Francisco Chronicle

Oct. 12--Latest developments in the North Bay fires:

1:28 a.m. The California National Guard arrives to fight North Bay fires: 120 members of the California National Guard arrived at Moffett Field in the early morning hours of Thursday. They will reportedly head north immediately to help fight the Wine Country fires.

12:29 a.m. New evacuation warnings in Napa County: Cal Fire is asking residents in parts of Napa County to prepare to evacuate, although no mandatory order has been issued. The advisory includes areas East of Silverado Trail, between Trancas Street and Soscol Avenue, East of Soscol Avenue between Siverado Trail and West Imola Avenue, East of HWY 221 between West Imola Avenue and HWY 29, East of HWY 29 between HWY 221 and Jameson Canyon Road, North of Jameson Canyon Road between HWY 12 and the Napa-Solano county line. Click here to see the advisory.

12:25 a.m. New evacuation warnings in Sonoma County: Cal Fire is asking residents in Palomino Lakes and parts of Windsor and Healdsburg to prepare for evacuation in case an order is issued. Click here for more details.

12:15 a.m. New evacuation warnings in Solano County: Cal Fire is asking residents in this area of Solano County to pack a bag and prepare to evacuate in case an order is issued: North of Jameson Canyon Road from the Solano-Napa county line to Interstate 80, north from Interstate 80 between Jameson Canyon Road and Suisun Valley Road, and west of Suisun Valley Road between Interstate 80 and the Solano-Napa county line.

11:39 p.m. Nuns fire reaches former Robin Williams estate: The Nuns Fire has reached the $18 million Napa Valley estate that belonged to actor Robin Williams, authorities said Wednesday night. The 640-acre estate was custom-built for Williams over 10 years ago. The property includes vineyards and a 20,000 square foot mansion with 5 bedrooms and climate controlled wine cellar.

11:12 p.m. Historic Spanish Mission at risk: The state was removing artifacts from the historic Spanish Mission in Sonoma.

11:10 p.m. Tubbs Fire 10% contained: Cal Fire reports that the Tubbs fire in Sonoma County has burned 27,363 acres and is 10% contained.

11:05 p.m New evacuation advisories in Santa Rosa: About one-fourth of the city has been added to the advisory evacuation area. The new section is described as extending from Mendocino and Lomitas avenues south and east from Franklin Ave to the city limits and including Los Alamos Rd., Melita Rd. and Montana Rd. Also the area from Chanate Rd south to 4th street/Highway 12. In addition several area of Bennett Valley have been ordered evacuated. Residents in these areas are asked to prepare to evacuate in case a mandatory order is issued.

10:05 p.m. River Rock Casino: The River Rock Casino has been ordered evacuated, according to Cal Fire.

8:32 p.m. Mandatory evacuation ordered parts of eastern Sonoma Valley: Sonoma County Sheriff's Office issued a mandatory evacuation order for Seventh Street East and Castle Road, both north of Lovall Valley Road. The evacuation area is about one mile from historic Sonoma Square and Mission San Francisco Solano, the last of the California Missions.

7:40 p.m. Two more deaths reported in Sonoma County: The Sonoma County Coroner's Office reported two more deaths from the Tubbs Fire, bringing the fatality totals to 13 in the county and 23 for all the fires.

7:25 p.m. Napa residents told to prepare: The Napa County Sheriff's Office is telling residents in some parts of Napa to prepare to evacuate, although no mandatory order has been issued. These areas have been warned: east of Silverado Trail between Trancas Street and Soscol Avenue, east of Soscol Avenue between Siverado Trail and West Imola Avenue, east of Highway 221 between West Imola Avenue and Highway 29, east of Highway 29 between Highway 221 and Jameson Canyon Road, and north of Jameson Canyon Road between Highway 12 and the Napa-Solano County line.

6:15 p.m. Mandatory evacuations in Geyserville: The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office issued mandatory evacuations in Geyserville, on Highway 128 east to River Rock Casino and south to Geysers Road up to Cal Pine.

6:04 p.m. Oakland limits outdoor school activity: Oakland Unified School District is canceling PE classes, athletic activities and recess that take place outside due to declining air quality. All school and office buildings will keep doors and windows closed to prevent smoke from entering.

6 p.m. Red Flag warning for East Bay Hills: The National Weather Service issued a Red Flag Warning for the East Bay hills from 11 p.m. Wednesday to 5 p.m. Thursday, citing fire danger from low humidity and gusting winds. People are encouraged to park in their driveways or garages, leaving streets clear for emergency vehicles, and to use extreme caution in operating barbecues, power equipment and other heat sources.

5:30 p.m. Sheriff clears up immigration rumor: Sonoma County Sheriff Rob Giordano took time out of a press conference to clear up a rumor he wanted dispelled. "There's a rumor out there that people are checking immigration status in shelters and that is not true," he said, explaining that shelters were asking for names to identify who was coming in. "Immigration status will never be asked of you."

5:25 p.m. School closures continue to expand: West Contra Costa Unified School District superintendent Matthew Duffy said all schools in the district would be closed on Thursday due to declining air quality. All classes and after school activities are canceled.

5:23 Missing persons number update: Sonoma County sheriff's officials say there are now 285 people still missing. There had been 600 reports, after officials weeded out duplicate reports. Of the 600, 315 people were located safely. Officials said if they cannot locate a missing person, they are checking the home where the person lived.

5:15 p.m. Suspected Looters Arrested: Santa Rosa police arrested three suspected looters, identified as Kelly Martin, 48, Tammara Hill, 49, and Patrick Daly 28. Police said they have tightened security in evacuated areas and are actively looking for looters.

5:10 p.m. Pleasants Valley Evacuation Advisory: Residents of the west Pleasants Valley area from Highway 128 south to Mix Canyon Road, should be prepared to evacuate, the Solano County sheriff said.

5 p.m. Haze from fires impacts SFO: More than 80 flights out of San Francisco International Airport were cancelled on Wednesday due to smoky skies caused by fires burning out of control in Sonoma and Napa counties, airport duty manager Jeff Figone said.

About 25 percent of flights were experiencing delays, with affected flights running 60 to 75 minutes late on average. The delays affected both departing and arriving flights.

Airport spokesman Doug Yakel said that the conditions are variable and the FAA-mandated ground delays will change on a day-by-day basis. SFO handles more than 12,500 flights per day.

3:45 p.m. Bay Area sports teams donate $450,000 to fire relief: A number of local sports teams, including the San Francisco 49ers, Oakland A's, San Jose Earthquakes, San Francisco Giants, Oakland Raiders, San Jose Sharks and the Golden State Warriors joined to donate $450,000 to North Bay fire recovery efforts, according to Lisa Goodwin, the Warriors' spokeswoman. The teams also formed a YouCaring page for fans to make monetary donations for fire victims.

3:25 p.m. More districts announce further school closures: Benicia Unified School District released students early Wednesday due to the declining air quality, schools Superintendent Charles Young said. All schools in the district will be closed through Friday.

Vallejo City Unified School District will also close all schools through Friday, schools Superintendent Adam Clark said. Students will return to school on Tuesday, as Monday is a scheduled professional development day for staff.

Vacaville Unified School District announced that all schools and offices will be closed through Friday.

3:15 p.m. Evacuation Advised for Boyes Hot Springs and north Sonoma: The Sonoma County Sheriff is advising residents of Boyes Hot Springs and those on Arnold Drive from Madrone, south to Petaluma Avenue and east to E. Napa and Lovall Valley roads to leave now with pets, medications and all necessary personal items. The best route out of town is south, toward Petaluma. The Sonoma Raceway is offering temporary shelter to evacuees.

3:05 p.m. Calistoga evacuated: The entire town of Calistoga has been ordered evacuated. Leave immediately, with pets and medications, officials said as the mandatory evacuation was issued. A shelter is open at American Canyon High School at 3000 Newell Drive, the city of Calistoga announced.

2:30 p.m. San Francisco air quality warning: Air in San Francisco has been designated "unhealthy for sensitive groups." Air in parts of the North Bay fire zone has been designated "hazardous" and "very unhealthy."

San Francisco air quality is predicted to decrease on Thursday to "unhealthy" for all. The San Francisco Main Library and the Chinatown, Mission Bay and Glen Park branches are open as shelters with filtered air, Mayor Ed Lee tweeted.

2:00 p.m. Rohnert Park mowing fields: The Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety said it had started to mow open fields to the north and east of the city to "reduce the fire threat in Rohnert Park."

1:15 p.m. At least 380 people still missing in Sonoma County: Hundreds of people are still unaccounted for in Sonoma County wildfires, Sheriff Rob Giordano said. The number of people found versus the number reported missing continues to fluctuate as displaced residents who were without cell service reconnect with loved ones who hadn't heard from them, he said.

Those looking for people in Sonoma County can call (707) 565-3856. At least 11 people have died in Sonoma County, making the Tubbs Fire the sixth deadliest in California history, according to Cal Fire officials.

At least 2 people have been killed in Napa County, 6 in Mendocino County and 2 in Yuba County.

1 p.m. Some Fairfield residents asked to evacuate their homes: Residents of Fairfield's Eastridge Development are being asked by local police to evacuate their homes as gusty winds bring the raging Atlas Fire closer to residential areas. An advisory evacuation order has been issued by the Fairfield Police Department. Earlier, police asked residents in the Eastridge and Rancho Solano neighborhoods to pack a 'Ready-to-Go' bag with all essential papers and medicines.

12:45 p.m. Officials say power lines possibly sparked some wildfires, drought helped spread it: As officials probe the source of a series of Northern California wildfires that left 21 dead, the cause remains unknown, but there were reports that strong winds had knocked down numerous power lines between 9:20 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Sunday night, about the time the fires broke out in Napa and Sonoma counties.

"We are investigating a number of potential causes, including whether reports of power lines falling down and electrical transformers exploding Sunday night may have caused some of the wildfires in the region," said Janet Upton, deputy director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, also known as Cal Fire.

Cal Fire Chief Ken Pimlott said at a Wednesday news conference that the fires were driven by a "critically dry fuel bed" across the state. "We are still impacted by five years of drought," he said. The recent wet season that brought California out of the drought was ineffective in tempering dry, explosive conditions, Pimlott said.

12:05 p.m. Gov. Jerry Brown says wildfires among the most serious in state history: Brown said at a Wednesday news conference that California will recover only "on a material basis," citing the loss of 21 lives in the fire. He said the state should prepare for a long rebuilding process.

"We've had big fires in the past. This is one of the biggest, most serious," Brown said. "It's not over."

Addressing the number of recent natural disasters in the United States, Brown said the country will probably spend tens of billions in total on nationwide federal assistance.

11:40 a.m. Death toll now at 21 in Northern California fires: The series of deadly wildfires have now claimed 21 lives, according to Cal Fire Chief Ken Pimlott. Conditions remain unfavorable for firefighting, with 8 percent humidity and northerly winds of up to 40 mph. The fire was driven by a dry fuel bed as the region still recovers from five years of drought, Pimlott said at Wednesday news conference.

"Make no mistake, this is a serious, critical, catastrophic event." Pimlott said. "The potential continues to exist for peril."

Click here for past updates from the Wine Country fires.

Jenna Lyons, Steve Rubenstein, Hamed Aleaziz, Peter Fimrite and Jill Tucker are San Francisco Chronicle staff writers. Email:,,,