Geyserville was the first place evacuated about 06:00 AM last Thursday since the winds were driving the fire down the ridge across from our house (see attached). Wednesday night around 09:30 PM the lights flashed and the internet dropped off line. That was a PG&E power line going down near the geothermal station on Pine Flat (see attached). We had an evacuation warning as we were going to bed and a mandatory evacuation early Thursday. There are about a mile or so of vineyards—which don’t burn well—and the Russian River between Geyserville and that ridge. However, with the wind gusts they always worry that fires can start quickly a couple of miles away from the main fire due to blowing embers. Plus the road network is fairly limited in our area and they want the people out so the roads are clear for fire equipment. We went to stay with Tricia’s cousin in Healdsburg Thursday and Friday. Healdsburg was evacuated Saturday morning at 10:00 AM followed by Windsor and then parts of Santa Rosa. We went down to Menlo Park and Patrick got us a room at the Residence Inn that takes pets. We sat it out there from Saturday until Thursday morning. Tom Petty’s song “The Waiting is the Hardest Part” covers that period.
Geyserville was not under much threat after the first 48 hours since the fire had burned what it could on the ridge and moved on. Plus the vineyard and river defenses. However, Healdsburg and Windsor are mostly on the east side of the river and the winds were driving it that way. They set fire lines on a couple of outlying roads and successfully kept the fire away from them. The Pine Flat picture attached is looking east from the crest (popular local bike ride since Pine Flat and Alp D’ Huez are quite similar--attached). Picture was taken about two weeks ago near the crest during a ride. The fire burned a lot of stuff out east. Fortunately, there aren’t any structures, people, roads or anything out there so they just let it go until it gets near something important. Napa was under warning, however, looks like it is betting beaten down fast. As we drove home, saw mucho fire equipment headed south for the fires down there.
Stressful week, however, California has established pretty solid procedures from the experience of recent fires. Get the people out and the equipment in. Believe we had about 6000 people fighting the fire at peak. Still, constant evacuations with three cats and two dogs aren’t fun. Next door neighbors had to move three times; Sebastopol, Santa Rosa, Petaluma. They’ve lived here 27 years and this was the first time they’ve evacuated so that’s encouraging. Hopefully one gigorgous fire per lifetime.