<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Bay Area Local News - North Bay]]>Copyright 2017https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/localen-usTue, 17 Oct 2017 14:44:49 -0700Tue, 17 Oct 2017 14:44:49 -0700NBC Local Integrated Media<![CDATA[Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital to Reopen]]>Tue, 17 Oct 2017 12:27:17 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/nb+fire-1016.jpg

Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital, which was forced to evacuate last week as wildfire quickly approached, is slated to reopen Tuesday, according to a hospital spokesperson.

The hospital evacuated patients just days ago when the wildfires swept through the area. On Monday, the health system announced the facility would reopen with full services, including inpatient and emergency care, at 7 a.m. Tuesday.

Sutter said it evacuated 77 patients in six hours, and to reopen, the facility had to undergo a thorough cleaning and pass inspections by both the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development and the California Department of Public Health, hospital officials said.




Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Interactive Satellite Map Shows Aftermath of Santa Rosa Fire]]>Mon, 16 Oct 2017 13:41:17 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/188*120/2017-10-13-satellite-image.jpg

This interactive map, created by Robin Kraft with information from Digital Globe and help from Mapbox, shows satellite images taken on Oct. 14, 2017 of Santa Rosa neighborhoods and surrounding areas destroyed by the North Bay fires. 

Use the search box in the upper right corner to go to a specific street address.

You can view the map below, or click here for a wider view


This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Santa Rosa Homes Spared by Fires Bring Joy and Sense of Loss]]>Tue, 17 Oct 2017 09:46:39 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_17289773397308.jpg

Tom and Catherine Andrews live on the edge of devastation.

On one side of their mid-century style home, the deadly wildfires that ravaged parts of Northern California for more than a week wiped away the houses of neighbors they have known as long as two decades. On the other side, were those like the Andrews, who were spared.

On Monday as calm winds gave an advantage to firefighters trying to tame the flames, the couple balanced their good fortune against the losses suffered by many friends.

"It was disbelief and just feeling like the luckiest guy on earth," Tom Andrews said. "I can't believe, I mean, total destruction 50 feet away and to have our house still standing here.''

For his wife, a real estate agent who sold many of the homes to friends on Wikiup Drive, there was bitter along with the sweet.

"It's heartbreaking," she said. "I'm trying not to have survivor's guilt, I think they call it. But we've been here 20 years this week. We raised our kids in this house. So many of the families on this hill raised their kids."

After days of wind gusts that constantly fanned the fires, lighter wind offered a chance for crews to make greater gains, and thousands more people were allowed to go home more than a week after the blazes that have killed more than 40 people began.

Improving weather, the prospect of some rain later in the week and tightening containment of the flames were tempered by the first death from the firefighting effort — a driver who was killed when his truck overturned on a winding mountain road.

Many of those who returned knew in advance whether their homes were standing or reduced to ash.

Satellite images, aerial photos and news reports with detailed maps of entire neighborhoods had given homeowners in populated areas a pretty clear idea of the fire's path. Some had seen the flames coming as they fled. Some families in rural areas had to wait until they laid eyes on their property.

The return home was emotional even for those whose properties were spared.

"When we came up to check on it, we were amazed it was here," said Tom Beckman, who credited his neighbor's two sheep with chomping vegetation surrounding his home and keeping the fires at bay.

"All the trivial things we have to work on — cleaning up, replacing the stuff in the fridge and freezer — that's nothing compared to my friends who lost their homes," Beckman said.

The smell of smoke remained thick in the air and spread to the San Francisco area, but skies were clearer in some places.

The truck driver, who had been delivering water to the fire lines, crashed before dawn Monday in Napa County on a roadway that climbs from vineyards into the mountains. No other details were available about the accident, which was under investigation, said Mike Wilson, a fire spokesman.

In the historic main square of the wine and tourist town of Sonoma, a statue of the community's 19th century founder was draped with signs thanking firefighters who have saved the town from disaster.

"The love in the air is thicker than the smoke," read a sign on the bench that displays the statue of Gen. Mariano Vallejo, which was wearing a face mask.

Although the weather was still hot and dry, the calmer winds and the possibility of rain should help crews tamp down the deadliest, most destructive cluster of blazes in California history.

"Any sort of moisture is welcome at this point," said Scott Rowe, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. "In terms of fire, the weather outlook is looking to be improving.''

A fraction of an inch is predicted to fall late Thursday in Sonoma and Napa counties, though fire officials noted that if showers bring more wind than moisture, it could spell trouble for firefighters.

Crews continued to battle flames that have crossed a mountain from Sonoma County to Napa County. Three helicopters repeatedly dipped water buckets into a reservoir and made drops to stop flames from crawling downhill toward historic wineries in the Napa Valley.

Most of the people reported missing have been located, and authorities said many were false reports from people far away who could not get in touch with friends or relatives.

About 100 people remained unaccounted for.

Sonoma County Sheriff Rob Giordano said he expects some of those will be found dead in burned-out homes.

Before they let people return to view the damage to their homes, authorities want to search thoroughly for remains and make sure the area is safe — a process that could take weeks, Giordano said.

About 40,000 evacuees were still waiting for permission to go back to their communities, down from a high of 100,000 on Saturday.

While police kept people from burned-out neighborhoods, some managed to sneak past road blocks to view the damage.

Janis Watkins wasn't so lucky. She was turned back from Santa Rosa's Wikiup neighborhood, where she wanted to see if the home she grew up in — built by her father — had survived.

She was almost certain it was lost, as well as a home where she raised her family in another part of the city.

"It appears that both my family homes are gone," she said, tears in her eyes. "The landmarks of my life are gone. It's a big emotional loss.''

Associated Press writers Ellen Knickmeyer in Sonoma, Brian Skoloff in Napa and Brian Melley, Janie Har and Jocelyn Gecker in San Francisco contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Eric Risberg]]>
<![CDATA[Safari West Wildlife Preserve Welcomes 'Miracle' Tubbs]]>Mon, 16 Oct 2017 21:03:24 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/211*120/1016-2017-TubbsWeb.jpg

The Safari West Wildlife Preserve in Santa Rosa is celebrating what it calls a miracle while devastating wildfires continue to burn in the North Bay.

Safari West recently welcomed Tubbs, its newest Nile Lechwe -- an aquatic antelope found only in a small area of eastern Africa. The preserve named Tubbs after one of the wildfires burning and said Nile Lechwe are endangered.

"Every baby born is vitally important to the survival of the species," Safari West wrote on its website.

The wildlife preserve hopes sharing Tubbs' story will "remind us to see the light" while the region battles and recovers from the fires.

View more on the Safari West website.



Photo Credit: Will Bucquoy/for the Press Democrat]]>
<![CDATA[Restaurants Reopen Following Devastating Wine Country Fires]]>Tue, 17 Oct 2017 13:27:32 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/ap_17282751494273.jpg

Restaurants and shops that were spared by the Wine Country fires are reopening this week, signaling a shift as the community struggles to return to business-as-usual following mass devastation and loss of life. 

World-famous restaurant The French Laundry will re-open Tuesday. The Yountville eatery, which has earned three Michelin stars, closed last week out of respect for its employees and due to a slate of power outages. Still, staff stayed on site at the bakery to serve first responders. 

"Everyone is working to normalize our situation in these extreme times," wrote restaurant staff on the company's Instagram. 

Bouchon, R+ D Kitchen, Red, Ad Hoc, and Redd Wood are among the other tourist-friendly destination spots that are opening their doors. Together, they make up some of the most sought-after destination spots for vacationers in Napa County and Sonoma County, which relies heavily on its tourism-based economy. 

Boosted by better weather, firefighters have made significant gains in controlling the deadly wildfires, which left at least 41 dead and scorched more than 200,000 acres. But it's not over yet. More than 34,000 people remain evacuated across Northern California. Hundreds, possibly thousands, will eventually return to their homes to find only charred wreckage and ash. 

It's too soon to tell the full extent of the damage and its consequences for the local economy, but scores of businesses and restaurants perished in flames, too. Employees who lost their homes may also be forced to relocate. 

The Hilton Sonoma Wine Country, located in Santa Rosa, was completely obliterated by the flames. Its 130 employees, most of whom work on an hourly-basis, are out of a job.

Lorena Olson, head of HR for the company, posted on Facebook that she was hoping to find other local work for the employees. The post was shared more than 7,000 times, drawing hundreds of comments and offers of employment. 

"Words cannot describe how much it means to me," Olson wrote in an update. 

Other companies include the Fountaingrove Inn and the K-Mart Department Store in Santa Rosa. Head over to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat for a more comprehensive list.



Photo Credit: AP
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[PG&E Identifies 8 Electrical Failures in North Bay Firestorm]]>Mon, 16 Oct 2017 20:01:42 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/10162017NBayFire_448424.JPG

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. officials revealed Monday that they have officially notified California regulators of eight separate electric equipment failures in the recent North Bay firestorm – but declined to detail what triggered them.

“Since Sunday’s windstorm, the company has submitted eight electric incident reports related to damaged facilities to the CPUC,’’ the company said in a statement late Monday, which stresses the utility will “support and assist with the review of these wildfires by the appropriate regulatory agencies…”

PG&E referred questions about those reports, however, to state regulators, who did not respond to several requests for details made by NBC Bay Area.

The eight incidents – now being probed by state regulators as well as Cal Fire – are relevant given that the CPUC has long been grappling with a particular fire-safety threat posed from the state’s 4.2 million power poles.

Public Utilities Commission President Michael Picker said Monday that regulators are not able to even determine some basic information about those utility poles, including the nearly 2 million maintained by PG&E.

“Where is the pole?” Picker said in outlining the many unanswered questions about the state’s electrical infrastructure. “Who owns the pole, What’s on it? What’s the condition of the pole?”

The commission has begun the task of trying to overcome the information gap to create a centralized database. Meanwhile, regulators have been sounding the alarm about those unknowns.

“Pole problems and violations will cause serious injuries to the public and damage to properties,” one regulator stressed during a briefing to the Public Utilities Commission.

One danger is that poles can rot from the inside out, said Fadi Daye, a supervisor with the commission’s Electric Safety and Reliability Branch, during the commission briefing in May of last year.

Another, Daye told the commission, is that poles can be overloaded with unaccounted for gear, weighing them down.

“That’s a lot of weight, it can act as a sail on a pole in a windy area,” said Picker, who is overseeing regulatory proceedings related to power pole data.

Overloaded poles can snap, causing lines to break and spark. That is what happened with an Edison utility pole in the Canyon Fire in Malibu in October 2007, a fire fueled by the same kind of high winds that whipped through the North Bay.

But in a response to fact finding questions from regulators, PG&E had trouble accounting for exactly what is on power poles, telling regulators this year: “Complete information on all attachments and equipment on poles is unattainable so long as joint owners are not required to provide all parties information on attachment and equipment installations.”

In a statement late Monday, the company said it welcomes any effort to track what equipment is on its power poles as a way to “enhance public safety and reliability of utility service.” PG&E went on to say, “With our constant focus on the safety of the public and our workforce, we share a commitment with the Commission and all California energy companies to ensure the ongoing safety of our infrastructure.”

Mark Toney, executive director for the ratepayer advocacy group, TURN, says it is too early to say whether power poles are to blame for the recent fires, but the risk is real.

“We just don’t know,” Toney said Monday. “What we do know is pole safety is incredibly critical right now and that the state and all the utility companies, both the telephone and the energy companies need to work together to make sure we have safer poles all throughout California."



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Berkeley Fire Crews Join Fight Against North Bay Blazes]]>Mon, 16 Oct 2017 17:54:53 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/BerkeleyFire.PNG

Video recorded by a Berkeley Fire Department strike team responding to the North Bay wildfires shows firsthand how quickly the fire moved and how intense the flames were.

At 5 a.m. last Monday, firefighter Mike Shuken was on Berkeley Fire Department Engine 6 and racing for Santa Rosa. The crew was headed for what they thought was a grass fire. But as they hit the city limit, reality started to set in.

"It was one of those, 'I can't believe this is happening,'" Shuken said.

The Berkeley firefighters were told to stage at a Kmart store and wait for assignment. When they arrived the building was engulfed in flames.

Fire then beat the crew to their second spot, a neighboring gas station.

"The different areas that we arrived at were being eliminated as safe areas for staging, so we kept pushing forward," Shuken said.

The firefighters then found themselves in Santa Rosa's Coffey Park neighborhood, already unrecognizable, as fire had wiped out entire blocks.

"We weren't even sure what we were looking at," Shuken said. "Hundreds and hundreds of homes that burned down."

With fire burning all around them, they were finally able to make a stand on the 1800 block of Towhee Street.

Shuken thinks they managed to save roughly 30 homes, but also learned that one of the hundreds lost belonged to a fellow Berkeley firefighter.

Shuken said the video he recorded will not only help other agencies in their response to a natural disaster, but also show the rest of us what it was like on the frontlines of the devastating fire.



Photo Credit: Berkeley Firefighters]]>
<![CDATA[North Bay Fires: Calistoga Reopens, Preps to Help Neighbors]]>Mon, 16 Oct 2017 19:09:59 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/10162017Calistoga_448253.JPG

Calistoga residents got the green light to return home Monday after North Bay wildfires prompted authorities to issue a mandatory evacuation for the entire city last week.

The mandatory evacuation order issued Wednesday turned Calistoga into a ghost town.

On the city's main drag, several shops started reopening Monday. Others will take a few more days to get back to business. But everyone is breathing a sigh of relief that they had a town to come back to.

Mayor Chris Canning welcomed residents back home and urged people to prepare for helping neighboring communities.

"Let's get ready to help our friends and neighbors in Napa County, to our neighbors in Sonoma County," Canning said.

Just down the road in Napa, a local assistance center is now open for those who do not have a home to come back to. Victims can get help with things like car and rent  payments, and government loans.

Simon Timony spent his day at the assistance center looking for missing people. He has been able to reunite about a dozen families, some whom he found in shelters.

The message is clear back in Calistoga: Get in, get settled and get ready to help others.

"At the end of the day, when everyone needs a rest and a break, come back up to Calistoga and we'll take care of you," Canning said.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Wildfire Smoke Believed to Have Caused Man's Death: Family]]>Tue, 17 Oct 2017 00:32:16 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/SmokeNorthBayFires.jpg

A 27-year-old father with breathing problems is believed to have died as a result of the wildfire smoke choking the North Bay, according to the man's family.

Joshua Hoefer, who struggled with asthma in the past, died on Sunday, roughly four days after he started complaining about having breathing trouble.

Hoefer's girlfriend Cierra Lopez said Hoefer took Albuterol — a medication designed to treat asthma — but it stopped providing him with relief on Thursday.

"I looked over and he was purple, and he was clenching and he just, at that point, his head went back...I looked at his finger tips and they were blue," Lopez said.

Lopez initiated CPR and called 911, but those efforts ended up not being enough. 

"[The doctor] came in and explained that, due to the smoke and [Hoefer's] already horrible asthma, that he had an asthma attack and went into cardiac arrest," Lopez said.

A hospital spokesperson on Monday could not confirm Hoefer's exact cause of death. The spokesperson did say that roughly 150 people have come to the emergency room within the past 24 hours. An estimated 15 percent of those suffering from respiratory issues were admitted. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Pregnant Woman Flees Fire on Bicycle, With 2 Children in Tow]]>Mon, 16 Oct 2017 16:31:34 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/charity+ruiz.jpg

As a massive inferno ripped through Santa Rosa’s Coffey Park neighborhood, a woman in her third trimester of pregnancy fled from the suburb on a bicycle, carrying her two toddlers in tow. 

“It looked like the fire was jumping towards us,” Charity Ruiz, who is expected to give birth this week, said. “It was coming so fast. I was trying to keep calm for my daughters, to keep them from seeing it and getting scared." 

Ruiz, her husband, and their children had attempted to flee from the neighborhood in the early hours of Monday morning in their car, but a traffic jam formed as the entire subdivision fled from the Tubbs fire. The family soon found themselves trapped on a street that was being taken over by flames and smoke. 

“I knew we had to get out,” she said. “There was no way we were going to make it through in the car.” 

The family ran back to their home, where Ruiz grabbed a bike and an attached toddler trailer. She started peddling as fast as she could, flagging down cars as she went, while her husband remained on foot to help other neighbors evacuate. The pair vowed to reunite later. 

“I was worried we were going to tip over," she said. "But I kept talking to my girls, telling them that it was going to be okay."

After what seemed like an eternity on the road, a good Samaritan pulled over. The man took an alternate route to safety and delivered Ruiz and her children to a friends house. Once there, she was able to reconnect with her husband. 

“I was just so thankful,” she said. “So many people had passed by without stopping. But he didn’t. He was the only one." 

Ruiz said she'll remember the man's kindness forever. 

While the family is now reunited, their ordeal is far from over. One week later and with a baby due any minute, the Ruiz family must start from scratch. Their home was completely obliterated by the flames. 

Hundreds of her neighbors will be forced to start over, too. Almost all of Coffey Park was destroyed by the Tubbs fire, one of more than a dozen infernos that wreaked havoc on Wine Country communities and left at least 40 dead and more than 200,000 acres scorched. Haunting aerial photographs of Coffey Park show a wasteland of debris and charred wreckage, with beloved possessions transformed into piles of ash and cars melted in the street.

The suburb has become so unrecognizable that residents have taken to writing their names in chalk on the sidewalk, so they know whose wreckage belongs to whom. Simple things, like picking up mail at a make-shift community center, have provided touchstones of normalcy during the ordeal.

“It’s been hard,” Ruiz said. “I know that we can rebuild, but it’s more about losing the sentimental stuff that was in the house. You can't put a price on that.”

Her children's baby clothes, photo albums, and a precious video from her wedding are just some of the items she wishes she could hold again. Her daughters also talk about missing their bedrooms, a thought that brings Ruiz to tears. 

Still, she is trying to remain optimistic, and there have been a few saving graces. Any day now, the couple will welcome their first son. And there has been an outpouring of support on a GoFundMe campaign in their honor, created by a young woman whom Ruiz mentored in a church group. 

Some donations have even come in from flood-wrecked Houston, Texas, which is still recovering from its own natural disaster. 

“I’ve been weeping. Every time I go online I start crying,” Ruiz said. “I’m overwhelmed by the generosity of people that don’t even know us, who have blessed us."  

Most of all, she's happy she has her family rallying around. 

“At the end of the day, we’re all here; We all made it out okay,” she said. “For that, I feel lucky.”

Have comments, corrections, or a tip? Email Gillian.Edevane@nbcuni.com or call her at (669) 263-2895. 



Photo Credit: Charity Ruiz
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Contract Firefighter Killed After Water Tanker Crashes]]>Tue, 17 Oct 2017 00:29:13 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/watertendercrash_443845.JPEG

A contract firefighter on Monday was killed after the water tanker they were driving crashed in the region where crews continued to battle a spate of wildfires that ignited last week, a Cal Fire official said.

The crash occurred sometime before 7 a.m. along Oakville Grade Road near Highway 29 in Napa County, Cal Fire official David Shew said. 

"This morning we tragically lost a member of our firefighting community," Shew said.

The large truck, which had been working at the Nuns Fire, was making its way downhill when it somehow lost control and landed upside down on a steep embankment next to the road, according to Shew.

"This is a very, very steep road," Shew said. "Oakville Grade is known as own of the steepest roads in Napa County."

The cause of the crash is still under investigation, Shew said. When asked if fatigue could have played a role, Shew said firefighter energy levels are draining by the day.

"Everyone is getting tired," he said. "There has been no break for these firefighters since the fires erupted last Sunday evening."

The victim was not a Cal Fire firefighter, according to Shew.

Further information was not available.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area ]]>
<![CDATA[Smoke Advisory, Spare the Air Alert Issued for Bay Area]]>Mon, 16 Oct 2017 00:36:31 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_17285575204007.jpg

A smoke advisory and Spare the Air alert have been issued for Monday in the Bay Area, air quality officials said Sunday.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District recommended that people, especially in Napa, Sonoma and Solano counties, stay inside when possible in buildings with filtered air such as public libraries and shopping malls; or people in the fire-impacted areas should leave the area for areas less impacted by wildfire smoke until the smoke levels subside.

People who must stay in the fire-impacted areas should wear an N95 mask to minimize breathing harmful particles in smoke.

Air district officials urge people to protect themselves and their family from heavy smoke.

Residents who see or smell smoke in their immediate area should stay indoors, if possible, with the windows and doors closed and air conditioning units on recirculate.

Air district officials are asking residents and visitors to avoid adding pollution to the air by cutting back on activities such as wood burning, lawn mowing, leaf blowing, driving and barbecuing.



Photo Credit: Eric Risberg/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Brush Fire Near Homes in Novato Prompts Evacuations]]>Sun, 15 Oct 2017 17:04:27 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/215*120/novatofire1015_434090.JPG

Fire crews in Novato knocked down a vegetation fire Sunday afternoon near homes on the west side of Highway 101, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The blaze, which was reported about 3:30 p.m., burned between San Marin Drive and Delong Avenue, and smoke was visible from the freeway, the CHP said. It was contained about 4:15 p.m., fire officials said.

Evacuations were conducted on Carmel Court, and other residents initially were instructed to be ready to evacuate, Novato police said.

The Novato Police Department shut down streets in the area and asked the public to avoid the area, the CHP said.

No further details were available.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[At Least 40 People Killed in Northern California Wildfires]]>Sun, 15 Oct 2017 08:10:08 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/22384345_10154820554861990_3081846610763059516_o.jpg

Rising winds fanned the California wildfires again Saturday, forcing hundreds more people to flee from their homes in the state’s fabled wine country and testing the efforts of crews who have spent days trying to corral the flames behind firebreaks.

Just a day after firefighters reported making significant progress on a blaze that has killed an unprecedented 40 people, the winds kicked up several hours before dawn and pushed flames into the hills on the edge of Sonoma, a town of 11,000. About 400 homes were evacuated as the fires threated Sonoma and a portion of Santa Rosa that included a retirement community that evacuated earlier this week, authorities said.

Napa County announced two more deaths Saturday bringing the total death toll to 40. As of Saturday afternoon, the death toll stands at 22 in Sonoma County, eight in Mendocino County, six in Napa County and four in Yuba County.

A Red Flag Warning is in effect across the North Bay and parts of the East Bay through 11 p.m. Saturday. Low humidity, higher temperatures, and gusty winds are expected to persist into the weekend and contribute to extreme fire behavior. 

"Everyone is coming to grips with idea that Santa Rosa is never going to be the same again," said councilman Chris Rogers.


Governor Jerry Brown and senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris visited the hard-hit town on Saturday. 

"At a time like this, we all pull together," Brown said, describing the fires as a "horrible situation."

Harris encouraged residents to pay heed to evacuation orders while Feinstein promised the government's help.


Critical fire threats will exacerbate ongoing fires in Northern California, according to the National Weather Service. Any new fires are expected to spread rapidly – no matter what firefighters do to stop them. Firefighters have been warned that conditions in the field have reverted to the severity of Sunday, when a firestorm struck the region. 

"Normal is going to take a very new meaning here in Napa as we see our way out of this," said Belia Ramos, chairwoman of the Napa County Board of Supervisors.

As of Saturday, though, strong winds in the region had prompted officials to halt escorts into evacuated areas.

No evacuations are planned Saturday, but ongoing weather conditions could change that, Ramos said, urging people to be "vigilant."


"This morning I woke up and I saw blue skies, but I can tell you I know I’m not the same person I was on Sunday," Ramos said. "None of us are. And that takes a toll on everybody."

A local assistance center will be available for Napa County's fire victims, starting next week. Congressman Mike Thompson said FEMA has approved individual disaster assistance grants that will be made available to people who have lost their homes and been otherwise affected by the wildfires. However, they will only be available after residents have received insurance funds.

"It's like a hurricane. Instead of water drops flying sideways and wind, you have fire flying sideways," Cal Fire Capt. Jerry Fernandez told NBC Bay Area.

According to Cal Fire, the Atlas Fire has burned 50,383 acres in Napa and Solano counties and is 45 percent contained; the Tubbs Fire has scorched 35,270 acres in Napa and Sonoma counties and is 44 percent contained; the Nuns Fire has burned 46,104 acres in Sonoma County and is 10 percent contained; the Partrick-Carneros Fire in Napa County has charred 12,379 acres and is 18 percent contained; the Pocket Fire has burned 10,996 acres in Sonoma County and is 5 percent contained; and the Pressley Fire has torched 473 acres in Sonoma County and is 10 percent contained.


Flames have raced across the wine-growing region and the scenic coastal area of Mendocino farther north, leveling whole neighborhoods and leaving only brick chimneys and charred appliances to mark where homes once stood.

The Redwood Valley Fire burning in Mendocino County has torn through 34,000 acres and is 20 percent contained; the Sulphur Fire has torched 2,500 acres in Lake County and is 60 percent contained; and the Cascade Fire in Yuba County has burned 10,120 acres and is 75 percent contained, officials said.

Early Saturday, firefighters reported a new Lake County blaze, dubbed the Long Fire, which charred 20 acres off Highway 20 and Long Valley Road, east of Clearlake Oaks.

Dean Vincent Bordigioni, winemaker and proprietor at the Annadel Estate Winery awoke at 3 a.m. with flames erupting on the ridge above his property. “Things went to hell last night,” he said. “They’ve got a good fight going on.”

Nearly a week after the blazes began, the fire zone had swollen to an area as long as 100 miles on a side. The flames have left at least 35 people dead and destroyed at least 5,700 homes and businesses, making them the deadliest and most destructive group of wildfires California has ever seen.


On Saturday, an unknown number of additional structures burned down in a rural area, said Daniel Berlant, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Judy Guttridge, who was evacuating for the second time this week, said her daughter saw flames advancing over the side of a hill around the same time Bordigioni did and told the family to get out.

“I have good insurance, everything,” she said. “All the kids, grandkids, great-grandkids are fine. I’m OK with that.”

Firefighters spent much of the last week digging defense lines to keep the flames from spreading. On Friday, they tried to fortify the edge of Sonoma using bulldozers and other heavy equipment.

But if winds push the flames over that barrier, neighborhoods including some of the town’s costliest homes were in the path, along with a historic central plaza built centuries ago when the area was under Spanish rule.

The renewed strength of the winds was “testing the work that we accomplished,” Berlant said. The greatest risk was that winds would blow embers across the firebreaks and ignite new blazes.


Winds gusting up to 40 mph were expected to continue throughout the day and into the evening.

Also Friday, a lucky few of the nearly 100,000 people who have fled from their homes got to return, and examples of charity were everywhere, along with a sign that began popping up in more and more places: “The love in the air is thicker than the smoke.”

Astonishing video released from the fire’s hellish first night showed the courage of the deputies and firefighters working amid the flames.

“Go! Go! Go! Go! Go!” an unidentified Sonoma County deputy can be heard yelling in the body-camera video released by the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office. The footage was recorded as he urged hesitant drivers to speed out of a town that was being devoured by flames.

The deputy is shown lifting a disabled woman out of her wheelchair and into an SUV to rush her out of town. And he drives through walls of flame looking for more people to help.

“And that’s just one person,” Sonoma County Sheriff Rob Giordano said at a news conference.


At an RV evacuation site at Sonoma Raceway, evacuees counted their blessings, trying not to think about what they had lost and what they might yet lose.

The mood at sunset Friday was upbeat, even cheerful, as children and dogs played in the twilight. More than 100 campers were parked by the side of a highway. There were portable bathrooms and tables groaning from donated water bottles, stuffed animals and food.

Ron Vitt, 75, and Ellen Brantley, 65, sat in chairs watching the cars go by, a small table between them holding drinks: gin with cocktail onions for him and gin with lime for her. They joked as their dog bounced about happily.

“There is a sun that’s going to set. There’s a dog who is really happy,” Vitt said. “So you got to bring some sanity into this whole thing.”


At Sonoma Valley High School, the parking lot was packed with cars and vans. Middle school Principal Will Deeths supervised volunteers and made sure people had plenty of water and a filter mask. He said more than 100 people spent Thursday night at the school, which has been converted into a shelter.

He said the community response has been phenomenal. Hairdressers from Oakland came to fix people’s hair and a young man played guitar to entertain families, he said. They even had a birthday party for a 5-year-old boy, complete with a donated cake from a local bakery.


“Two days ago we were in need of size 5 diapers,” he said. “Someone put it on Facebook and within an hour, four or five cars pulled up, two or three boxes. Boom, boom, boom, here you go.”

More than a dozen fires broke out nearly simultaneously on Oct. 8 and people had little time to escape. Most of the deaths were elderly people.

In all, 17 large fires still burned across the northern part of the state, with more than 9,000 firefighters attacking the flames using air tankers, helicopters and more than 1,000 fire engines. 

Associated Press writers Paul Elias in Sonoma, Olga R. Rodriguez, Jocelyn Gecker and Daisy Nguyen in San Francisco and Martha Mendoza in Santa Cruz also contributed to this report.


Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area


This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Army of Firefighters Brave Deadly NorCal Firestorm]]>Sat, 14 Oct 2017 13:52:37 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-861056470.jpg

Santa Rosa firefighter Brandon Palmer has fought big blazes in his 20 years on the job, but the 81-hour shift he spent fighting the fire storm in his own neighborhood this week was still stunning.

“It’s crazy to watch your hometown be annihilated by fire,” he said, back at his Santa Rosa firehouse. “It just takes your breath away.”

Palmer is one of more than 10,000 firefighters working this week to control the most destructive group of fires in state history. Dozens of people have been killed, and more than 5,000 homes and other structures have been damaged or destroyed.

Fighting the fires has been exhausting, days and nights dragging heavy hoses through thick smoke, hiking over steep terrain, hopping on and off trucks. More than 200 hand crews are also on the scene, building fire lines with shovels and bulldozers, slashing through brush with chainsaws and pulaskis, hiking for miles with heavy backpacks.

When the fire broke out above Santa Rosa, Palmer — who was off duty — hurried into the station, grabbed his gear and went to work, dragging hoses through vegetation.

“We could hear explosions. The sky was glowing,” he said.

After his wife and children safely evacuated, Palmer said he lost track of time over the passing days as they rushed from block to block. Although residents were largely out of the area, in one backyard, he came across a big, yellow Labrador.

“He was freaked out. We tried to grab his collar. Usually they’ll lick you to death, but he was a little nippy,” Palmer said. With the road open and safe, they called Animal Control and moved on.

The firefighters rest when they can, catching short naps, sometimes sprawling on the ground in front of their trucks. They fuel up with quick meals and chug coffee at their fire camps donated by local businesses. While the missions are coordinated by commanders, crews said the radio chatter about new fires, high winds and a rapidly moving front line had them changing tactics.

“It was hot, it was steep, we got into some thick smoke a couple of times,” said seasonal firefighter Christina Barker, 30, of Turlock. Hoses were burning up, she said, and at one point they were separated from their engine during a shift that went on for more than 50 hours.

“None of us are thinking about the fear or the challenge. We’re just focused on how to be efficient,” she said.

On her seventh day of almost nonstop work, Barker said Saturday that community support is keeping her going. During one exhausting shift, her crew was invited in to a home for cold sodas. On Friday night, as she was settling down in her truck for a short rest, a neighbor brought her a cot.

“I didn’t have to sleep in the engine,” she said.

While local firefighters have hit it hardest, 2,100 members of the California National Guard, 425 law enforcement officers and crews from more than 100 supporting agencies from around the U.S. are also working to stop the blazes, control traffic and protect property. Firefighting helicopters and air tankers are also up, dropping fire retardants and assessing damage.

“I’m completely exhausted. I can barely think right now,” said Capt. Jimmy Bernal of the Rancho Adobe Fire District, taking a break during what he described as a very intense week. He said at one point he couldn’t manage to spell his last name.

“I was dispatched to a grass fire and got sucked into a structure fire,” he said. “They didn’t have any units to relieve us, so I worked four days straight.”

State officials said that while they seem to be gaining control over some fires, others are still erupting.

“We are still at it full tilt. But we’ll get ahead of these flames and preventing more loss of property and life throughout the weekend and into next week and as long as it takes,” California Office of Emergency Services director Mark Ghilarducci said.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Coffey Park Is Ground Zero For NorCal Fire Devastation]]>Mon, 16 Oct 2017 08:35:48 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/AftermathWednesday5.jpg

The warnings about impending doom came suddenly and in different ways. Frantic pounding on doors. Blaring fire alarms. Commotion outside windows.

Awakened from a deep slumber in the dead of night, bleary-eyed residents of the Coffey Park neighborhood peeked outside and saw hell: burning debris raining down, smoke so thick it was hard to see or breathe and an encroaching wall of flame.

From a distance you could just see red. And hear nothing but explosions,” said Dan Hageman, a 49-year-old construction worker. Hageman quickly sprayed down his house and yard, then fled with this wife. His home was one of the few that survived.

Coffey Park, a square-mile of middle-class homes and friendly neighbors on the northern edge of Santa Rosa, was among the hardest hit areas from the series of wildfires that broke out last Sunday in Northern California. Dozens died, and thousands of homes were destroyed, 2,800 alone from the Tubbs Fire that scorched Santa Rosa.

Fueled by fierce winds, the flames chewed up hillsides, jumped over a six-lane highway and sent thousands fleeing for their lives. Many had nothing but the clothes they wore, leaving behind all their possessions and a lifetime of mementos.

At least two of the dead were killed in Coffey Park — a number that could rise once authorities sift through ash to see if there are bone fragments, teeth, medical devices or anything else that could identify human remains.

According to survivors, the fire hit Coffey Park when flaming embers blew across U.S. Highway 101 and ignited the businesses and homes around Hopper Avenue. From there, it jumped from house to house.

When Andrew Ziegler, 46, saw flames outside windows, he scrambled to gather his 8-month-old dog while praying the power would stay on long enough for him to raise the garage door.

“I had a puppy that wouldn’t listen and I’m in a wheelchair,” Ziegler said. “I figured the best thing to do was not be a burden on someone else, get the hell out of here.”

Several blocks away, Wayne Sims was becoming an amateur firefighter in a harrowing fight that saved his home.

Awakened by smoke, the 62-year-old stepped outside to investigate. His neighbor across the street jumped in his car and came back to report that the fire had jumped the freeway. Sims sent his wife and cat away and did his best to spray down the home with a garden hose.

Down the street, he spotted a CalFire crew spraying water on a blazing home.

“I said: ‘You guys gotta come over here. That one’s gone. You can save my house. Come and save my house,’ ” Sims said. “I was begging them. And they did. They came down here.”

Sims convinced the firefighters to give him their hose, so he sprayed down his own home and his neighbor’s — using the water pressure to knock down his flaming back fence so he’d have a way to escape — while the pros moved down the street. They saved much of the cul de sac.

But by the time the sun came up Monday morning, most of Coffey Park was gone, replaced by a hellscape that looked more like a war zone than a suburban neighborhood.

Houses were reduced to smoking piles of ash, leaving a thick cloud of smoke that burned the eyes and lungs. Orange flames spewed from broken gas lines. Vehicles were melted, their make and model indiscernible. A few were overturned, apparently when their gas tanks exploded and launched them into the air.

And in the street were snaking yellow hoses, some still connected to blue-and-white hydrants, abandoned by overwhelmed firefighters forced to give up and flee.

Monday was trash day in northern Santa Rosa, and the streets of Coffey Park are dotted with gray and blue trash cans left out the night before. Some melted, leaving behind a pile of recyclables in the street.

But many somehow survived. When their owners return to destroyed homes, all they’ll recognize is the trash they threw out before running for their lives.

People who live in remote forested corners of the West accept the risk of wildfires as a fact of life. But Coffey Park is not in the forest. It’s a suburban neighborhood where plumbers, painters, nurses and small business owners made their home in two- to four-bedroom houses built mostly in the 1980s.

Recent home sales were around $400,000 to $500,000, below the median home price for Santa Rosa, a city of 175,000 that is the largest in the world-renowned wine region of Napa and Sonoma counties north of San Francisco. Mayor Chris Coursey said the city lost 5 percent of its housing stock and suffered at least $1.2 billion in damage.

Residents of Coffey Park say it is a special place.

“You walk down the street, everybody says hi to you,” said Anna Brooner, 57, the original owner of her home built in 1988.

Leslie Garnica, a 17-year-old high school senior who was born and raised in Coffey Park, liked to open her blinds and window so she could see the three palm trees in her front yard as she laid in bed and listened to music.

“This is all I’ve ever known, and it’s kind of weird knowing that you have to start again, find something new,” Garnica said. “This is what I’m used to. But I don’t have it anymore.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[North Bay Wildfires Light Up Bay Area Skies]]>Mon, 16 Oct 2017 15:27:33 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/215*120/Screen+Shot+2017-10-15+at+2.48.09+AM.pngAs the North Bay wildfires burned, the skies around the Bay Area were marked by tragically striking sunsets and dramatic orange skies.

Photo Credit: gcmak/Instagram]]>
<![CDATA['It’s Been a Battle': A Day in the Northern Calif. Fire Zone]]>Sat, 14 Oct 2017 19:04:36 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-861016240.jpg

Fire crews were briefed and headed out to do battle. Survivors returned to the charred remains of their homes, picking through debris for anything recognizable. And families clung to the hope that missing loved ones were still alive.

As the sun rose thick and orange Friday in Northern California, there was heartbreaking routine to the ongoing wildfires catastrophe.

Stories of some who lived through the inferno by standing in backyard swimming pools this week spread. In the town of Sonoma, evacuation orders began days ago, but a few residents still were trickling out. As they left, some opened their gates and tacked up handwritten signs: “POOL IN BACK,” just in case someone needed access.

Fire crews worked feverishly, setting back burns to save homes, dragging hoses, watching the wind for gusts or shifts. The air was thick with acrid smoke.

“It’s a balancing act between using water to put out some of this big stuff and to save your water in case that side goes,” said Kyle Hawkins, a firefighter who traveled from Southern California with his crew.

CalFire Battalion Chief Joe Buchmeier said local crews were resolute, driven by the fact that their own neighborhoods were burning. Already several firefighters, including Calistoga volunteer fireman Buddy Pochini and Mill Valley Fire Chief Tom Welch, have lost their homes.

“Making people rest has been harder than making people work on this,” Buchmeier said. “It’s been a battle to try to get people off the line, including myself.”

More help was arriving.

King County, Washington, sent three strike teams, 50 firefighters in 16 vehicles, for what they planned to be an 18-day deployment.

“These guys are trained in wildland fires, and this is what they love to do,” Eastside Fire and Rescue Chief Jeff Clark said. His men were part of the team who were making the 800 mile trip.

They’re joining a force of thousands from as far as Victoria, Australia, who are fighting the flames.

At the decimated Journey’s End mobile home park in Santa Rosa, even shattering discoveries were becoming the norm.

“It is very tedious work,” said Sonoma County Sheriff’s Sgt. Dave Thompson after officers recovered bone fragments Friday morning.

Dozens of search-and-rescue personnel were on site, grimly searching for residents who didn’t make it out before fire swept through. A crew of men and women in white suits stood by to receive remains. Thompson said officials believed two or three more bodies would be recovered, but hours later when the convoy pulled out, led by three National Guard Humvees, officials declined to say whether any other remains had been found.

Behind the scenes, local leaders tried to facilitate school closures, emergency housing and other logistics. Midmorning, state Assemblyman Jared Huffman’s office announced in English and Spanish that federal law enforcement agents were suspending immigration enforcement in evacuation sites and assistance centers.

“My message to everyone in the North Coast and North Bay community, no matter their immigration status: stay safe, vigilant, and continue to follow all public safety warnings,” he said.

Oakville Grocery, a popular gourmet picnic stop for Napa Valley tourists, closed early Friday afternoon as flames approached.

“The fire is getting closer,” manager Leo Ponce said, “so we’re shutting down for now.”

They had opened as usual at 7:30 a.m. with a crew of “whoever could come in,” Ponce said.

He said that most of the customers were emergency crews, who the shop is feeding for free.

But the occasional carload of tourists also stopped by, he said.

“There are some who are barely aware of the fires,” he said. “They’re like, ‘What’s going on?’ ”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Calif. Couple Had Celebrated 50-Year Anniversary Before Fire]]>Sat, 14 Oct 2017 21:50:36 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/10-13-17-napa-image-RIPPEY4.jpg

At least 40 people have died in the deadliest week of wildfires in California history. The victims include a couple who recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, a 14-year-old boy whose parents and older sister were severely burned, and a woman born with a spinal defect who worked to help others despite her own troubles.

A look at some of those who were killed in the blazes:

Very Generous Spirit
LeRoy and Donna Halbur, both 80, had just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, and for years Leroy delivered food for the needy three times a week.

They had no chance to flee a wildfire that destroyed their Santa Rosa home early Monday, said their eldest son, Tim Halbur.

“The winds came up pretty quickly. It was all countryside behind them,” Tim Halbur said. “My mom was found in the car in the garage. My dad was somewhere on the driveway. He probably had gotten her into the car, and he went outside to check on conditions.”

Tim Halbur said his parents were devoted to community, friends and family. An avid world traveler, LeRoy Halbur was an usher at Resurrection Catholic Church in Santa Rosa. He volunteered with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Sonoma County, delivering meals right up to the week before the fires.

Donna Halbur wrote children’s books and was a former elementary school teacher.

“What I want you to know is that they were very generous of spirit and they carried that spirit to the community,” their son said.

Doing Good by Others
Roy Howard Bowman, 87, and his wife, Irma Elsie Bowman, 88, lived a life quietly doing good for others.

The Mendocino County couple provided money to help launch a Spanish-speaking ministry at the Assembly of God church in Ukiah, recalled Sylvia McGuire Nickelson, who met the Bowmans at church.

“They both were beautiful, inside and out,” Nickelson told the San Francisco Chronicle . “I just loved them.”

“Anybody who needed a second chance, the Bowmans were their advocate,” said Felice Lechuga-Armadillo, who with her siblings would host the Bowmans for Sunday dinners. “Anyone who needed help, they stepped forward — but quietly.”

The couple were found in the fire-ravaged remnants of their home in the remote Redwood Valley, about 60 miles (95 kilometers) north of Santa Rosa, on Monday.

Roy Bowman was a U.S. Navy veteran and former federal employee. Irma Bowman loved to bake and “would tell us to speak well of other people,” said Lechuga-Armadillo.

Roy Bowman had a stroke earlier this year. Irma Bowman told Lechuga-Armadillo’s mother that if he had another, she wanted to have one as well — “because she didn’t want to be on this Earth without him,” Lechuga-Armadillo said.

'The Horse Lady'
Valerie Lynn Evans had a fierce love of animals.

Evans, 75, kept horses, goats, dogs, a mule and a steer at her Santa Rosa home. She’d sometimes lead the mule down the street, allowing folks to feed it, said her longtime neighbor, Tracy Long.

“We knew her as the horse lady,” Long told the San Francisco Chronicle.

As flames approached their homes late Sunday, Brian Strehlow, a neighbor across the street, offered to help.

“She said, ‘We got this,’” Strehlow said.

Evans died while trying to save her dogs.

Evans’ neighbors said they believed that her husband, son and a daughter-in-law were able to escape, but that they hadn’t been able to reach them since the fire.

Evans kept a large collection of books on horses. Long, whose home was damaged by fire, said she occasionally sees pages from Evans’ library blowing along the street.

Timid and Giggly
At 14, Kai Shepherd was among the youngest victims of the wildfires.

After flames swept over a mountain, the Shepherds had tried to drive down to escape. Their neighbor Paul Hanssen found their two charred vehicles blocking the road, doors still ajar from when they had apparently abandoned them and fled on foot.

Hanssen found the mother, Sara Shepherd, and her 17-year-old daughter, Kressa, lying on the ground, more than half their bodies burned. Kai Shepherd was further down the mountain and did not survive.

First responders found Kai’s father, Jon Shepherd, separately, on the mountain. He was also badly burned but alive. Kai Shepherd’s parents and sister are being treated at burn centers.

His sister, Kressa Shepherd, a Ukiah High School junior, had to have both legs amputated beneath her knees.

Family friend Irma Muniz remembers Kai Shepherd was timid and giggly after she met him last year while shooting a Christmas card photo of the family posing in the woods of Redwood Valley, a community of about 1,800 roughly 70 miles (113 kilometers) north in Mendocino County

'She Was My Life'
George Powell woke to a wall of fire already bearing down on his Santa Rosa home and immediately yelled to his 72-year-old wife, Lynne Anderson Powell: “Get out!”

Lynne Powell grabbed her border collie, Jemma, which always slept next to her, a laptop and asked for the best way to get off their mountain before jumping in her car.

George Powell left 15 minutes later after fetching his three dogs. George Powell now realizes when he raced down the mountain he drove past his wife’s car that had gone off the road and into a ravine in the heavy smoke.

After searching for her all night and the next day, a detective called to tell him a body burned beyond recognition was found steps from her car. Inside was a dog also burned to death.

“If I had known, I would have gone down there with her, even if it meant I would have died with her,” George Powell, 74, said. “I don’t know how I’m going to cope. She was my life.” He repeated: “She was my life.”

The couple had been married for 33 years. He was a photojournalist and she was a professional flutist, spending much of her career playing for the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, which operated until 2011.

The two met while she was on vacation in Los Angeles, where George Powell freelanced for newspapers. He said it was “love at first sight” and he moved to New Mexico to be with her. After they retired, they settled in northern California so his wife could take care of her aging parents.

The two shared a love of border collies and entered in agility runs with their dogs. She was an avid quilter. The fire took everything, including her quilts and his life’s photo archive.

Lynne Powell did not want a memorial service or obituary. But George Powell said he may hold a special lunch with friends to celebrate her life.

“I don’t think I ever felt unloved or uncared for any second of my life with her,” he said.

Together in Life and Death
Charles Rippey, 100, and his wife, Sara, 98, are the oldest victims of the wine country wildfires identified so far.

Their bodies were found by one of their sons who had made his way past security and found the home in Napa where they had lived for 35 years completely gone. Only two blackened metal chairs, a porcelain tea set of white and soft washes of blue and other small remnants remained to testify to the couple’s long life together.

Charles Rippey — who was known by his nickname “Peach” since he was a toddler — appeared to be heading to the room of his wife, who had had a stroke in recent years.

Mike Rippey said his father would have never left his mother. The couple met in grade school and recently celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary with their five children.

“Those of us in the family always would, you know, wonder what would happen if one of them died and the other one was still left because we knew that, you know, there’s no way they would ever be happy whoever was the last one and so they went together,” Rippey, 71, said as he stood among the charred ruins of their home.

The couple attended the University of Wisconsin and married in 1942 before Charles Rippey served as a U.S. Army engineer in World War II. He then became an executive with the Firestone tire company.

Dedicated to Helping Others
Christina Hanson, 27, used a wheelchair and spent her life dedicated to helping others despite her own hardships, her family said.

Kelsi Mannhalter had posted on social media asking people to search for her cousin after the fire Monday ravaged Santa Rosa where Hanson lived.

Mannhalter later confirmed on Facebook that Hanson did not survive when the flames consumed her home.

“Just surreal,” Mannhalter posted. “I love you so much and am going to miss you sweet cousin. I can’t say it enough.”

Her father was found collapsed on the street in front of his home with third-degree burns and was taken to a hospital in San Francisco. Hanson had tried unsuccessfully to reach him as flames surrounded her apartment around 1:30 a.m. Monday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Hanson was born with a spinal defect and lost her mother at 9 to lupus.

Still, her focus was always on others, her stepmother, Jennifer Watson, told the newspaper, describing her as “a very happy, social and positive person.”

Hanson volunteered two days a week at an Alzheimer’s residential care facility in Santa Rosa, where she would entertain residents.

She also taught herself sign language and interpreted for the hearing impaired.

“She loved helping people and loved her family,” said Watson, who was with her stepdaughter the day before she died.

Her family wrote in an online obituary that Hanson “was granted her angel wings.”

Died in Her Husband's Arms
In the 55 years they were married, Carmen Caldentey Berriz had spent countless hours in her husband Armando’s arms.

In his arms was where the 75-year-old took her last breath on Monday, as he held her afloat in a swimming pool as walls of fire burned around them, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Carmen had known Armando was the one since she was 12, and the two dated for years before marrying in 1962. By the time Carmen turned 75, their family had grown to include two daughters, a son, their children’s spouses and seven grandchildren.

The Berrizes were three days into a vacation at a Santa Rosa rental house with family when son-in-law Luis Ocon woke early Monday morning and saw the fire begin to overtake the neighborhood.

They fled to their cars.

Luis, Monica Ocon, and their daughter made it through the thick smoke and flames and pulled over, watching for Carmen and Armando’s car to emerge behind them. It never came.

Armando Berriz’s car had gotten stuck on a fallen tree. He told his wife they had to run back to the house to take shelter in the backyard pool.

As flames melted the chaise lounges a few feet away, Carmen clung to Armando, who kept them both afloat by hanging onto the brick sides of the pool.

Armando Berriz held on for hours, even as the brick burned his hands, even as his wife stopped breathing. He let go only after the flames had burned out, laying Carmen on the steps of the pool with her arms carefully crossed over her chest.

He walked 2 miles to find firefighters.

“Everything they did was as a team,” daughter Monica Ocon said. “They had this bond and this strength that literally lasted a lifetime.”

One Last Phone Call
Linda Tunis moved from Florida to the Journey’s End Mobile Home Park in Santa Rosa to be closer to her family. When the northern California wildfires quickly overtook the park, the 69-year-old woman phoned her daughter.

She was trapped, she told her daughter, Jessica Tunis. She was surrounded by fire, and going to die.

Jessica Tunis screamed at her mom to run to safety, to flee the burning home.

“I was telling her I love her when the phone died,” Jessica Tunis told the San Francisco Chronicle.

After three days of hope and dread, Jessica’s brother Robert Tunis found his mother’s remains in the debris where her house once stood.

Linda Tunis was spunky and sweet, Jessica Tunis said Wednesday. She was also fiercely independent, an attitude that wasn’t dampened by her health problems. She had failing memory because of a stroke, and had lost the sight in one of her eyes because of high blood pressure.

She loved bingo and the beach, choosing to move California mostly because it brought her nearer to her close-knit family, Jessica Tunis said.

“My mother’s remains have been found at her home at Journey’s End. May she rest in peace, my sweet Momma,” Jessica Tunis posted on Facebook earlier this week.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: Photo by David McNew/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Workers Continue to Harvest Grapes Despite Unhealthy Air]]>Sat, 14 Oct 2017 14:23:29 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/10132017MondaviWorkers_413361.JPEG

The state’s worker safety agency issued a worker safety advisory late Friday after NBC Bay Area took video of workers harvesting grapes at The Robert Mondavi vineyard in the fire-torn Napa Valley, some without any protection from the smoky air that surrounds them.

While most workers are wearing some sort of mask, others use a bandana or no mask at all.

“That should not happen,” said Garrett Brown, a retired 20-year veteran inspector with the state’s worker safety agency, Cal/OSHA.

Brown says under state regulations, employers are required to outfit each worker with a specially fitted respirator mask, capable of filtering out fine particulates in the air. They should also limit harvesting time.

According to a chart on the website of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, air quality in Napa County ranged from unhealthy to extremely unhealthy as of Friday morning, based on high levels of the tiny particles from the massive firestorm.

Bad air has prompted schools as far away as San Jose to limit outdoor activities. Brown says workers in the vineyards should be protected, and it’s up to the employers to make sure that happens.

“It should not be simply a situation,” Brown said, “where some workers are sent, as sort of a sacrifice, to work outdoors in unhealthy air to gather grapes.“

Late Friday, Cal/OSHA issued an advisory notice to employers, telling them to provide approved masks, allow for breaks and to be alert to workers becoming dizzy due to exposure.

Mondavi did not respond to our requests for comment. Brown welcomed the advisory.

“Anything Cal/OSHA can do to remind and inform employers of their legal responsibilities to protect their employees’ health and to provide information on how they protect their health would be a big advantage,” he said.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[RAW: Bodycam Footage Shows Daring Rescue in Sonoma County]]>Sat, 14 Oct 2017 04:11:04 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sheriffbodycam_1200x675_1073122883899.jpg

Bodycam footage from a Sonoma County Sheriff's deputy shows him rescuing people from the fire (Warning: Strong language).]]>
<![CDATA[Mendocino County Grapples With Wildfire's Aftermath]]>Fri, 13 Oct 2017 23:48:35 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/209*120/2017-10-14_1-27-57.jpg

In Mendocino County, residents are grappling with widespread destruction from the fires. The Redwood Complex Fire has wiped out entire neighborhoods and businesses. NBC Bay Area's Joe Rosato Jr. shows us what residents are returning to.]]>
<![CDATA[Leaving Home in a Fire Zone and Fearing It's a Final Goodbye]]>Fri, 13 Oct 2017 02:46:22 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-860592008.jpg

Neighbors and strangers huddle along streets under siege by wildfires. We fix our worried stares on ridges encircling us, at billowing smoke and hope we don't see the glow of flames.

In the path of one of California's deadliest blazes, talk is of wind direction, evacuations and goodbyes.

Each time I turn the key to lock my front door, I think I might be leaving home for the last time. I've covered my share of stories about people fleeing catastrophes, but I'm living the life of a fire evacuee for the first time.

"Take care, sweetie,'' one woman said in my community on the edge of the small, rural, wine-centric city of Sonoma, hugging me through my car window on one of three consecutive nights we fled an approaching blaze.

On that Tuesday night, flames arced like solar flares on the ridges above sprawling old oaks and tall redwoods. The trees conceal the wooden former cottages from Boyes Hot Springs' days as a resort destination for wealthy San Franciscans looking to soak away their aches in the hot springs.

Now, it's a tinder-dry working- and middle-class community on edge.

Another neighbor climbed onto his roof with a garden hose, training water first on his house, then surrounding ones. Another neighbor vowed to stay, envisioning taking a stand against any looters.

With the ever-present stench of smoke, discussion that night on the street focused on the direction of the wind and advancing fires.

"Northeast,'' one man said. I didn't understand the subtleties but knew winds from the north were bad.

"Northwest,'' a woman next to him angrily corrected, glaring at him in darkness brought on by a loss of electricity.

"Northeast,'' he insisted, and we all lapsed back into our silent sentry of the ridgetops.

Not everyone in Northern California had the ability to watch the fire grow when so-called Diablo winds whipped up the wildfires late Sunday. In the first hours, dry tempests toppled oaks onto roads, ripped loose power lines and drove deadly embers ahead for miles.

Many of the more than two dozen people killed so far died in those first hours as wildfires reduced whole blocks of houses to ankle-high ruins with little or no warning.

At 3:30 a.m. Monday, smoke was so strong that I awoke thinking my house was on fire. With electricity already gone, it shocked me how long it took to gather contact lenses, shoes and other essentials I scattered when I had returned to California a few hours earlier from a cousin's wedding in Oklahoma.

For two sleepless days, I drove around with my dog, John, in the backseat in case fire overtook my home while I was reporting on the destruction.

The death toll climbed. The number of houses destroyed grew into the thousands. And two dozen fires kept advancing at the whim of the winds.

My canine companion lost hope he was on an extra-long trip to the dog park and grew steadily depressed, slumping on the seat. Many others had their dogs in tow, their heads sticking out car windows as firetrucks sped past and mountains burned.

With my suitcase still packed from the wedding, I had a go-bag with me, although the knee-length dresses and heels were unsuitable evacuee wear.

Hundreds of police officers and then National Guard members poured into fire zones, helping evacuate residents and block people from returning to burning and scorched areas.

My press pass got me past roadblocks. Highways and farm lanes were blackened for miles on both sides. With familiar buildings and landmarks gone, whole stretches of road were unrecognizable.

I came across former volunteer firefighters defending their houses from relentless flames that advanced at first from one ridge, then another, then another. The popping of propane tanks in the area punctuated conversations.

People clustered at barricades that blocked them from their homes. Some pleaded with lawmen to pass. Others numbly accepted it.

I encountered people on foot where it seemed unwise to be.

A woman with a duffel bag hanging from each shoulder stood alone on a highway, the only pedestrian for miles in a burning area.

"What should I do?'' she asked.

She had been told the fire was coming, that her house would surely burn. It wouldn't burn, would it? she asked, seeking reassurance. She didn't want to go to Sonoma, where I was heading, so she thanked me and stayed behind.

I gave a lift to a San Francisco man who had left his car and set out on foot to check the fate of a vacation rental property. He celebrated to see it unburned but returned to the car grumbling about how messy the vacationers had left it when they fled.

I returned home Wednesday morning and relished a rare normal moment walking my dog, only to curse when I realized ash was raining down.

Later that morning in Napa, the namesake city of the neighboring wine-making area, smoke blinded a driver as he rolled down a window exiting a freeway and rear-ended my gray Prius.

Driving back home with the left rear lights and back frame of my car now askew, the radio station I was listening to had a news reporter breathlessly broadcasting from my block. Never a good sign.

Ash pelted my windshield and officers encouraged us to go.

I picked up my tortoise shell cat, Jumpy, and sadly freed two chickens to their fate in my backyard before turning the key in the lock one more time.

Tree limbs started swaying gently as the wind rose and I drove away, hoping it wasn't the final goodbye.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Insurance Firms Offer Help to Residents Affected by Fire]]>Sat, 14 Oct 2017 00:06:34 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-861059268.jpg

Representatives of two insurance firms are helping members with claims from the North Bay wildfires, Sonoma County officials are working to reduce property tax bills and federal loans are now available to Sonoma and Napa County residents, business owners and private nonprofits affected by the fires.

Nationwide has sent representatives to the Finley Community Center in Santa Rosa and State Farm has sent representatives to a number of evacuation centers.

Nationwide reps today were at the Finley Community Center at 2060 W. College Ave. At the center, representatives helped customers with claims.

The claims process can also be started by calling (800) 421-3535 or visiting Nationwide's website.

State Farm mobile claims vehicles began arriving in fire areas today.

State Farm officials suggest property owners start the claims process as soon as possible.

The process can be started by getting in touch with one's agent, calling (800) SFCLAIM, submitting a claim through the company's mobile app Pocket Agent.

State Farm officials suggest property owners keep receipts for living expenses since the expenses may be reimbursable after a deductible is met.

Property tax bills are being reduced for Sonoma County residents with a certain amount of damage, county officials said.

The reductions will be made without the need for property owners to file paperwork with the clerk-recorder-assessor, Clerk-Recorder-Assessor William Rousseau said in a statement.

Auditor-Controller-Treasurer-Tax Collector Erick Roeser said in a statement that he hopes to have the adjusted tax bills out by Dec. 11.

Affected taxpayers will have a 30-day deferral period after they receive a bill.

Taxpayers with impound accounts should get in touch with their lender to tell them about the change in the status of their property, Roeser said.

For more information on calamity-damaged properties, residents can check this website.

Because of the disaster, staff from the clerk's and the tax collector's office may not be available to answer questions about the tax reductions.

County officials will be sending out more information about calamity-damaged properties.

Low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration are now available for Sonoma and Napa county residents, business owners private nonprofits to repair or replace certain types of damaged or destroyed property such as real estate and inventory.

To be considered for the assistance, applicants must first register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Mental Health Aid Available for Residents Affected by Fire]]>Fri, 13 Oct 2017 22:24:51 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-861062716.jpg

As fires continue to ravage Northern California, mental health services are available for people grieving - or fearing - the loss of their homes and loved ones, county officials said.

"We know this is a time when people are experiencing trauma in their lives," said Jennifer Larocque, a spokeswoman for Sonoma County said. "They have been evacuated, they may have lost their loved ones, they are looking for their friends. We want to make sure we are there for them in any way they need."

With that in mind, Larocque said mental health services are available at the county's four shelters. The shelters are as follows: Sonoma-Marin County Fairgrounds, 1350 Fairgrounds Drive, Petaluma;

Sonoma County Fairgrounds, 1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa; Elsie Allen High School, 599 Bellevue Ave., Santa Rosa; and Santa Rosa Veterans Building, 1351 Maple Ave., Santa Rosa.

Two of Solano County's shelters have mental health clinicians, according to the county's Office of Emergency Services. These shelters are at Solano Community College, 4000 Suisun Valley Road, in Fairfield, and Allan Witt Park, 1741 W Texas St., also in Fairfield.

"We have had mental clinicians out at the (shelters) and other community organizations have been there as well," said Sandra Sinz, Solano County's mental health director. "Kaiser has sent clinicians there as well," she said.

Sinz said people can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255.

"We get some data from them, and they have been receiving more calls from our area," Sinz said. She said a person doesn't have to be suicidal to call the line.

"It goes through a switchboard and then connects you to a local California crisis line," Sinz said.

As with the other two counties, mental health services are available at Napa County's three shelters, Cara Wooledge, a health education specialist with Napa County, said today.

The shelters are at Napa Valley College, 2277 Napa-Vallejo Highway in Napa; the Crosswalk Church, 2590 First St., Napa; and the American Canyon High School, 3000 Newell Drive, American Canyon.

"We have bilingual staff there who are available to talk to folks if they need support," Wooledge said.

The health education specialist had another resource: The national Disaster Distress Helpline.

"It's a great resource, available 24/7," Wooledge said. "Anyone across the U.S. can call and talk to a trained mental health counselor. We're trying to share this not only with people affected directly by (the fires) at the shelter, but people at home if they have been affected."

The number is 1-800-985-5990, and it's also possible to communicate via text, she said. To do so, people should text one word with no spaces, talkwithus, to 66746. To do so in Spanish, text one word, hablanos, to 66746.

Services specifically for veterans are also available in Napa County.

The Vet Center, a subsidiary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, has deployed personnel to the wildfire evacuation center at Napa Valley College from Concord and Fairfield to provide mental health services and paperwork assistance for any displaced veterans.

The mental health personnel will be at the shelter today and Saturday.

They were at the shelter Thursday with a trailer set up for three separate counseling sessions to be conducted simultaneously.

"Say you're having a panic attack," readjustment counselor Lori Shepherd said. "You come in here and have a counseling session."

Shepherd said the smoke, smells and sight of burnt buildings can be stressful for veterans who served in Iraq, Afghanistan or other war zones.

Mental health services are available at Napa Valley College for any veterans who have been displaced by the North Bay wildfires and are in need of assistance. They can be reached at (925) 433-3407.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Wildfires Create Worst Air Quality Ever Recorded in Bay Area]]>Fri, 13 Oct 2017 06:09:35 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-860798702.jpg

Smoke from the wildfires north of San Francisco has sank the air quality level in the Bay Area to the same unhealthy level as some of China's smog-choked cities, sending people to emergency rooms and forcing schools to close and people to wear masks when they step outside.

The region has endured days of choking smoke since the fires began Sunday night and claimed at least 31 lives and destroyed thousands of homes and businesses.

Air quality in the most of the region Thursday was as bad as Beijing, China's notoriously polluted capital, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

"We have unprecedented levels of smoke and particles in the air that we normally don't see," said Ralph Borrmann, a spokesman for the district.

He called it the worst air quality ever recorded in many parts of the Bay Area.

Officials warned that very fine smoke particles, thinner than a human hair, can get lodged in the lungs and into the bloodstream, causing irreparable damage to the body. In Solano County, hospitals there received more than 250 people who complained of toxic air inhalation, county health officer Bela Matyas said Thursday.

With winds expected to keep blowing in smoke from the fires to populated areas this weekend, many schools decided to close Friday and organizers canceled weekend events, including an Oktoberfest in Walnut Creek and a fitness festival and half marathon in San Francisco.

Sports teams are monitoring the air quality as they prepare to host games.

The NFL has been exploring options to move Sunday's game between the Oakland Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers if it becomes necessary.

Oakland, which is some 45 miles south of the fires, has been blanketed by smoke.

Officials at the University of California, Berkeley and Stanford are monitoring the air quality as weekend football games approach.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Drone Video: USPS Delivers Mail in Burned-Out Neighborhood]]>Sat, 14 Oct 2017 15:39:36 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Mailman+drone.jpg

A surreal video of a postal worker delivering mail to a neighborhood obliterated by the deadly Northern California wildfires has gone viral on social media, with some commenters remarking that it looks like something out of a dystopian film. 

The video, captured by drone photographer Douglas Thron, was first posted by NBC networks on Tuesday. It shows a mail carrier driving around the fire-ravaged Coffey Park neighborhood in Santa Rosa, where residents described seeing a “wall of fire” rushing toward their homes as they scrambled to evacuate.

The homes in the subdivision were leveled to smoldering ash and debris, yet the video shows a mail carrier driving up to several lots and placing mail in what is left of the mailboxes.

Charity Ruiz, who is nine months pregnant, remembers fleeing from the neighborhood with her two children. Her Coffey Park home perished in the blaze. 

"It seemed like the fire was jumping towards us," she said. "It happened so quickly." 

Seeing the pictures and videos of her former neighborhood, she said, was shocking. 

"I just can't believe it. It looks like something out of a movie."

A local U.S. Postal Service district manager told news outlets that the postal worker was honoring requests from homeowners who planned to return to the area to collect any salvageable personal items.

"This is an example of the long-standing relationship that has been established between our carriers and their customers based on trust," Noemi Luna told The Mercury News. “A few customers asked the carrier to leave their mail if the mailbox was still standing because they could not get to the annex to retrieve it."

Watch the video above. Find ways to help with fire relief here.



Photo Credit: Douglas Thron]]>
<![CDATA[Chaos, Lack of Communication Frustrates Families of Missing ]]>Fri, 13 Oct 2017 02:54:04 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-860685090.jpg

Ellen and Bob Pearson's family has been searching for the couple since they were last seen evacuating from their mobile home in Santa Rosa, preparing to leave in their purple Pontiac as flames lurked in the distance.

But five days later, no one has heard from the couple, both in their 70s. And the family is growing frustrated with the Sonoma County Sheriff's office, where phones lines are busy or out, and other agencies that seem to have different databases of the missing.

"It's been challenging trying to figure out which agency or which number to call," said Tiffany Couto. She was raised by a grandmother who always checks in. "People are trying to help so much, but it's a chaotic time and so it's a challenge to understand exactly how to handle this."

Chaos has marked a disaster that spans several counties and cities, adding to the frustration of hundreds of people searching for loved ones. The release of information is disjointed with the public relying in part on separate media updates throughout the day broken out by county and agency.

In Sonoma, the county sheriff's office announced Thursday it is searching for missing people and bodies. Napa County continued to direct people to search for missing through a website hosted by the American Red Cross.

"It really calls into question a better response," Sen. Bill Dodd of Napa said about the handling of missing person reports. "Maybe there's some best practice when we're done with this that we can try to make sure that there is a better clearinghouse."

The Governor's Office of Emergency Services is also directing people to the Red Cross website rather than any state database.

In an interview Thursday, director Mark Ghilarducci said all agencies were coordinating well in a large-scale disaster that is going to have "zigs and zags."

"But there is an organization in the chaos and that's how we are facilitating response to this, that's how we're adding additional resources, that's how we know where to place those resources, and to address all the needs in the shelters," he said.

Gov. Jerry Brown has kept a low profile, speaking at one press briefing but otherwise letting state emergency officials take the lead.

Ken Pimlott, director of California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, described the Democratic governor as "very engaged in what is going on" and proving support.

Pimlott also said it's the job of local sheriff-coroners — not the state — to account for the missing and dead.

While sheriff's deputies focused on active evacuations this week, individuals and families were left to search on their own. Many turned to social media with plaintive cries for help. They hit up hospitals and evacuation centers, hoping their missing loved one is simply unable to tell people who they are or without a working cell phone.

More than 48 hours after a woman told her daughter on a phone she was trapped by fire, a Santa Rosa man digging through the ruined rubble found her remains.

"My mother's remains have been found at her home at Journey's End. May she rest in peace, my sweet Momma," Jessica Tunis wrote on Facebook.

Sonoma County Sheriff Robert Giordano said Thursday there were about 400 people on his county's missing person list, although it was unclear how many are duplicates or even people who are actually safe.

The elderly cousins of Garret Clark's mother, for example, were found safe Wednesday after fleeing their Santa Rosa home Tuesday in a hurry. Neither Rick nor Leslie Howell own mobile phones, making it difficult to let friends and family know they were safe.

Still outstanding is the case of Norma Zarr, whose Santa Rosa neighborhood was evacuated Tuesday evening. Nobody in her family has seen or heard from the 61-year-old woman since.

Charlene Baumunk Allen said sheriff's deputies visited her mother's house on Wednesday, but didn't find her or her silver Honda CRV.

The sheriff's office has been helpful, says Allen, who lives in Eagle Mountain, Utah.

"I don't know if she's under a rock or if she's ok," she said. "This is a trying time."

Couto, the granddaughter, said her family reported her grandparents' distinctive purple Pontiac, but she doesn't know whether officers were ran the license plate numbers in their search for missing people.

"I'm at a loss and I'm not sure what steps to take to find them," she said. "We're all confused. We're not sure how to be productive."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NorCal Under Siege in State's Deadliest Week of Fires]]>Sat, 14 Oct 2017 13:24:08 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-860726910.jpg

People are trying to find lost loved ones, sift through the remains of lost homes and count, identify and mourn the dozens of dead — all while the unprecedented fires in California's wine country rage on.

The communities of the North Bay were facing another day under siege Friday, despite being driven to exhaustion by evacuations, destruction and danger amid the deadliest week of wildfires the state has ever seen.

It wears you out,” said winemaker Kristin Belair, who was driving back from Lake Tahoe to her as-yet-unburnt home in Napa. “Anybody who’s been in a natural disaster can tell you that it goes on and on. I think you just kind of do hour by hour almost.”


Seventeen large fires have burned more than 221,000 acres, or 345 square miles, officials said Friday. They noted "good news" that three smaller fires have been contained and that there was progress on containment of the others. All but eight of 77 cell towers knocked out of service have been restored. 

But Mark S. Ghilarducci, director of the state's Office of Emergency Services, cautioned that, "We're not out of this emergency. Not even close." 

The death toll has climbed to an unprecedented 36 and was expected to keep rising. Individual fires, including the Oakland Hills blaze of 1991, have killed more people than any one of the current fires, but no collection of simultaneous fires in California has ever led to so many deaths, authorities said. 

Of those who perished in the calamitous fires, 19 lived in Sonoma County, nine in Mendocino County, six in Napa County and four in Yuba County.

Hundreds more are injured or missing.


“We had series of statewide fires in 2003, 2007, 2008 that didn’t have anything close to this death count,” said Daniel Berlant, a deputy director with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

California Gov. Jerry Brown, along with U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, will visit Sonoma County on Saturday afternoon. The governor has declared a state of emergency for Solano, Napa, Sonoma, Yuba, Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Nevada and Orange counties due to the devastating wildfires burning across California.

According to Cal Fire on Friday, the Atlas Fire has burned 48,228 acres in Napa and Solano counties and is 45 percent contained; the Tubbs Fire has scorched 35,270 acres in Napa and Sonoma counties and is 44 percent contained; the Nuns Fire has burned 46,104 acres in Sonoma County and is 10 percent contained; the Partrick-Carneros Fire in Napa County has charred 12,379 acres and is 18 percent contained; the Pocket Fire has burned 10,996 acres in Sonoma County and is 5 percent contained; and the Pressley Fire has torched 473 acres in Sonoma County and is 10 percent contained.

Flames have raced across the wine-growing region and the scenic coastal area of Mendocino farther north, leveling whole neighborhoods and leaving only brick chimneys and charred appliances to mark where homes once stood.

The Redwood/Potter Fire burning in Mendocino County has torn through 34,000 acres and is 20 percent contained; the Sulphur Fire has torched 2,500 acres in Lake County and is 60 percent contained; and the Cascade Fire in Yuba County has burned 10,120 acres and is 75 percent contained, officials said.


Real recovery efforts will have to wait for firefighters to contain wildfires spanning an area the size of New York City.

Officials called for more evacuations Friday; an evacuation advisory was issued for a part of Napa County home to world famous wineries, including the Robert Mondavi Winery, and is not far from the French Laundry, a restaurant with three Michelin stars.  

Despite the presence of flames nearby, workers at the Mondavi winery — many without masks — spent the early hours of Friday picking grapes.


Eight thousand firefighters are battling growing flames and fatigue is beginning to set in.

The Sebastopol Fire Department posted two pictures on Facebook: One showed three men resting on the ground, using rocks as pillows, and the second depicted a firefighter lying on a lounge chair in the backyard of a home that the crew had saved.

Although it’s normal for firefighters to work for 24 hours and then take the following 24 off, that hasn’t been possible when dealing with the wine country wildfires. Resources were stretched thin as the fires grew quickly – in some places into residential areas.

Some firefighters told NBC Bay Area they have been on the front lines of the Nuns Fire in Sonoma County since Sunday night. Some news reports say crews have been out in the field for 80 hours.

Although a testament to firefighters’ commitment to public service, helping them rest is a question of safety, according to Napa County fire Chief Barry Biermann. Cal Fire is bringing in reinforcements from throughout the state, as far as Nevada and Oregon, and even Canada and Australia. Thousands of additional firefighters have been deployed in the last 24 hours. 

This, while the Bay Area braces for dangerous fire conditions on Saturday. The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning from 5 p.m. Friday through 11 p.m. Saturday.

Meanwhile, choking smoke hangs thick in fire zones and has drifted all over the San Francisco Bay Area, where masks to filter the fumes were becoming a regular uniform and the sunsets were blood-red from the haze.

“It’s acrid now,” said Wayne Petersen in Sonoma. “I’m wearing the mask because I’ve been here two or three days now. ...  It’s starting to really affect my breathing and lungs so I’m wearing the mask. It’s helping.”

Even some members of the Oakland Raiders were wearing masks during workouts Thursday.

The fires drove hundreds of evacuees northward to beaches, some sleeping on the sand on the first night of the blazes.

Since then, authorities have brought tents and sleeping bags and opened public buildings and restaurants to house people seeking refuge in the safety and clean air of the coastal community of Bodega Bay, where temperatures drop dramatically at night.

“The kids were scared,” said Patricia Ginochio, who opened her seaside restaurant for some 300 people to sleep. “They were shivering and freezing.”

California Highway Patrol Officer Quintin Shawk took relatives and other evacuees into his home and office, as did many others.

“It’s like a refugee camp,” Shawk said.

There are 3,9000 people in evacuation centers, with shelters at 40 percent capactiy, officials said Friday.

At an earlier news conference, Napa Supervisor Belia Ramos urged people to take advantage of the county's shelters, without fear of recrimination from immigration officials.

“We are a welcoming community here in Napa County and that cannot be more true right now – regardless of race, regardless of immigration status, regardless of age, sex, creed, sexual orientation, religion," she said. "You are welcome in our shelters. We want you to come in.

"We do not want anyone sleeping in their cars; we do not want anyone in harm’s way; we do not want you to fear leaving your home because you do not have a place to stay."

To further her point, Ramos also read a statement from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which said in part: “In consideration of these distressing circumstances, ICE will continue to suspend routine immigration enforcement operations in the areas affected by the fires in northern California, except in the event of a serious criminal presenting a public safety threat."

People need not worry about immigration raids at evacuation sites, assistance centers, shelters and food banks, according to the statement.


Sonoma County Sheriff Robert Giordano said officials were still investigating hundreds of reports of missing people and that recovery teams would begin conducting “targeted searches” for specific residents at their last known addresses.

“We have found bodies almost completely intact, and we have found bodies that were nothing more than ash and bones,” said Giordano, whose office released the names of 10 of the dead, all age 57 or older, on Thursday.

Metal implants, such as artificial hips, have ID numbers that helped put names to victims, he said. Distinctive tattoos have helped identify others.

Sheriff's officials also say at least five people have been arrested for allegedly trying to steal from people’s homes. Several neighborhoods have been evacuated, making the residences easy targets. Law enforcement officers have been called in from around the Bay Area - and across California – to help patrol areas that are under curfew.

There have been 65 calls reporting looting since the fires began, police said. The Sonoma County District Attorney’s office issued a statement saying that any looters apprehended “will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Since igniting Sunday in spots across eight counties, the fires have transformed many neighborhoods into wastelands and an estimated 25,000 people have been forced to flee.

Fire officials were investigating whether downed power lines or other utility failures could have sparked the fires.

On Thursday, Sonoma County officials announced plans to help residents adjust property values and lower their tax bills. 

“Once the fires are out, we will be working with Cal Fire and our local fire departments to identify all properties with over $10,000 in damage," William Rousseau, the county's clerk-recorder-assessor, said in a statement.

People with impound accounts are also encouraged to inform their lenders of the state of their properties. 

The goal, according to Rousseau, is "applying large scale property tax reductions." 

Also in Sonoma County, officials have partnered with MapBox to create a real time interactive map that provides aerial images of Santa Rosa, giving residents the chance to view the status of their neighborhoods. The map can be moved to hover over specific addresses and zoomed in to see whether the structures are intact or destroyed. The large red areas on the map demarcate vegetation — not flames — officials said. 

As of Friday, 2,834 Santa Rosa homes and 400,000 square feet of businesses have been destroyed, officials say.

Meanwhile, some lucky evacuees returned to find what they least expected.

Anna Brooner was prepared to find rubble and ashes after fleeing Santa Rosa’s devastated Coffey Park neighborhood.

Then she got a call from a friend: “You’re not going to believe this.” Her home was one of only a handful still standing.

“I swore when I left I was never coming back to this place,” Brooner said. “I feel so bad for all the other people. All of us came back thinking we had nothing left.”


Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Social Media Messages Uplift Anguished Calif. Fire Victims]]>Fri, 13 Oct 2017 04:33:12 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/FLAGinrubble.jpg

A major swath of Northern California is burning under a reddened sky and blanket of smoke. It’s been a time of darkness – both literally and figuratively – for thousands for five anguished days.

Yet uplifting hashtags and heartfelt posts on social media from multiple hard-hit fire zones are sharing signs of resilience amid the devastation.

Marin County Parks took to Twitter to send Sonoma #LoveFromMarin. Officials posted an image of a poster that was taped to a pole and offered its own take on the proverb "blood is thicker than water." #SonomaProud, it signed off.

Another message on the Santa Rosa Police Department's Facebook page depicts an American flag against a charred background. The stars and stripes are the sole sources of color — and seemingly, hope — in a photograph of a burned tree and a house that has been reduced to smoldering rubble. 

Santa Rosa has been devastated by the Tubbs Fire, which leveled entire neighborhoods, including Coffey Park and Fountaingrove. 

In another post tagged #santarosastrong, the department wrote about one of its own — officer Samuelu Poueu — who, along with his family, "narrowly escaped" before flames consumed his Larkfield home early Monday. 

"They returned to the ash where their family home once stood with the hope to find any memento of their lives but it didn't look like anything survived," police wrote.

Turns out, something did: Poueu's police badge.

Poueu's best friend, fellow officer Mike Paetzold, discovered the damaged memento, police said.



Photo Credit: Santa Rosa Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[North Bay Wildfires: Death Toll Climbs to 36]]>Sat, 14 Oct 2017 17:31:50 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-860298200.jpg

Wine country wildfires already well on their way to becoming the deadliest and most destructive in California history could gain momentum Thursday and erase even the modest gains firefighters have made.

Steady winds with gusts up to 45 mph with nearly non-existent humidity are expected to descend on the areas north of San Francisco where at least 35 people have died and at least 3,500 homes and businesses have been destroyed. A total of 191,437 acres — or nearly 300 square miles — have burned since the fires ignited late Sunday.

Of the more than two dozen people who perished in the calamitous fires, 18 lived in Sonoma County, eight in Mendocino County, two in Napa County and four in Yuba County.

"We are a long way from being done with this catastrophe," Cal Fire Director Ken Pimlott said Thursday. Pimlott said the blazes are expected to spread as firefighters — some of whom have lost their own homes — brace for additional days of bone-dry humidity and gusty winds through the weekend.

"What this means is our fires are going to continue to burn erratically," Pimlott said. "They have the potential to shift in any direction at any time."

The coroner identified 15 of the 18 who died in Sonoma County. Ten of their names were released Thursday: Carol Collins-Swasey, 76, of Santa Rosa; Lynne Anderson Powell, 72, of Santa Rosa; Arthur Tasman Grant, 95, of Santa Rosa; Suiko Grant, 75, of Santa Rosa; Donna Mae Halbur, 80, of Larkfield (Santa Rosa); Leroy Peter Halbur, 80, of Larkfield; Valerie Lynn Evans, 75, of Santa Rosa; Carmen Caldentey Berriz, 75, of Apple Valley; Michael John Dornbach, 57, of Calistoga; and Veronica Elizabeth McCombs, 67, of Santa Rosa.

Fires within the city limits of Santa Rosa alone have gutted 2,834 homes, according to Santa Rosa Mayor Chris Coursey. Roughly 400,000 square feet of commercial space has also been destroyed.

"The city of Santa Rosa has suffered a serious blow in these fires," Coursey said, adding that the destruction numbers could rise.

Flames across wine country have driven tens of thousands from their homes. Some who took shelter at Napa Valley College expressed frustration at not knowing anything of the conditions of the homes they'd fled. They also said they have no idea when they can return — or what to expect when they get there.

Napa Sheriff John Robertson said Thursday that deputies would begin escorting people with "critical needs" into certain parts of the city. Exigent conditions include checking on pets, retrieving medication, business needs and checking on people who stayed behind, he said. 

Entire cities were evacuated in anticipation of the next wave of fires, their streets empty, the only motion coming from ashes falling like snowflakes.

A mandatory evacuation order in Calistoga forced all 5,300 residents to get to safety. Early Thursday, flames shot into the air just miles away from downtown Calistoga, sending a haze of smoke into the normally bustling town, known for wine tastings and hot springs.

Someone left behind a note and some protein bars in the ghost town, asking firefighters to save a family's home. Derek Bohan, who was born and raised in Calistoga, said the experience has been "definitely scary."

Calistoga Mayor Chris Canning had strong words for people who were ignoring the mandatory evacuation order.

"Your presence in Calistoga is not welcome if you’re not a first responder," he said. "Your choice to say – and there have been very few of them – is a distraction to our first responders. You will not be given life safety support at this point. You are on your own.

"If you’re trying to visit Calistoga, you are not welcome. That is very hard for us to say because we’ve been known since the 1800s as a very hospitable community. That’s not helpful at this point."

In addition to Calistoga, firefighters are paying close attention to Sonoma, Middletown and Geyserville due to the increased threat of fire danger. 

"The situation is very dynamic and oftentimes can change by the minute or by the hour," Pimlott said.


A total of 21 fires burning across the state have torched more than 191,000 acres as they entered their fourth day, many of them without much containment. Modern, strategic attacks that have kept destruction and death tolls low in recent years have been ineffective against their ferocity.

The Atlas Fire has burned over 43,762 acres in Napa and Solano counties and is 3 percent contained; the Tubbs Fire has scorched roughly 34,270 acres in Napa County and is 10 percent contained; the Nuns Fire has burned 14,698 acres in Sonoma County and is 3 percent contained; the Partrick-Carneros Fire in Napa County has charred over 10,817 acres and is 2 percent contained; the Pocket Fire has burned 8,130 acres in Sonoma County; the Adobe Fire has scorched 7,955 acres in Sonoma County and is 1 percent contained; the Norrbom Fire in Sonoma County has burned 4,331 acres and is 1 percent contained; and the Pressley Fire has torched 473 acres in Sonoma County and is 1 percent contained, Cal Fire said.

At a news conference Thursday, Belia Ramos, chairwoman of the Napa County board of supervisors, said that crews have begun making progress on containing the flames, which she described as "really good news."

Pimlott echoed that sentiment, saying that resources pouring in across state and even international lines have helped in the firefighting effort. More than 8,000 firefighters and other personnel are currently battling the blazes, and additional resources continue to flow in from states such as Arizona, Nevada, Washington, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, South Carolina and North Carolina. International relief has come from Canada and as far away as Australia.

Napa County Fire Chief Barry Biermann said that despite a Red Flag Warning being in effect, overnight winds didn't really pick up to the extent that had been predicted. That allowed firefighters to go from only protecting structures and keeping people safe to being able to "get some containment started."

"We have a long way to go," but fatigue has already become a major concern for Cal Fire officials, Biermann acknowledged.

"Safety is our top priority – safety of the people we’re out there to help protect, safety of our crews," he said. 

However, Biermann admitted, "We have people who have been on that fire for over three days, who don’t want to leave their section of line because there's still work to do, there’s homes to save and they're very passionate about it." 

Biermann said firefighters who are hitting "roadblocks" are being identified, taken out of the field and asked to rest.

In Fairfield, some of which was evacuated Wednesday due to the advancement of the Atlas Fire, officials tracking wind conditions said that flames have not reached city limits, and may actually be heading in the opposite direction. But that could change at any time so residents have been asked to keep their bags packed and stay ready to evacuate on a moment's notice. 

The community of Boyes Hot Springs in Sonoma County also was told to clear out Wednesday, and the streets were quickly lined with cars packed with people fleeing.

"That's very bad," resident Nick Hinman said when a deputy sheriff warned him that the driving winds could shift the wildfires toward the town of Sonoma proper, where 11,000 people live. "It'll go up like a candle."


The ash rained down on the Sonoma Valley, covering windshields, as winds began picking up toward the potentially disastrous forecast speed of 30 mph. Countless emergency vehicles sped toward the flames, sirens blaring, as evacuees sped away. Residents manhandled canvas bags into cars jammed with possessions or filled their gas tanks.

County spokesman Scott Alonso said Thursday that 25,000 residents have been evacuated. Of them, an estimated 3,800 are living in shelters. 

At the start of the week, Sonoma County had opened 40 shelters, but is now down to 24, with the hope of "consolidating and enhancing" the mental health and medical services offered to people impacted by the fires, Alonso said. The evacuation centers can accommodate another 4,000 people.


"The damage and devastation is real. The fire threat is still very real in this county," Alonso stressed. "It’s a very emotional time for a lot of folks. They’ve lost everything."

The Bay Area awoke to smoke-filled air Thursday and even San Francisco's layer of fog had been replaced by smog. The poor air quality forced the cancellation of the Virgin Sport San Francisco Festival of Fitness, which includes the Twin Peaks Mile and SF Bay Half marathon.

"We're seeing elevated levels of particulate matter that are higher than we’ve ever seen since we began measuring them in 2000," said Lisa Fasno with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. Officials have issued a Spare the Air alert on Thursday. 

As the fires grow, officials voiced concern that separate blazes would merge into even larger infernos.

Flames have raced across the wine-growing region and the scenic coastal area of Mendocino farther north, leveling whole neighborhoods and leaving only brick chimneys and charred appliances to mark where homes once stood.

The Redwood/Potter Fire burning in Mendocino County has torn through 32,100 acres and is 5 percent contained; the Sulphur Fire has torched 2,500 acres in Lake County and is 45 percent contained; and the Cascade Fire in Yuba County has burned 10,171 acres and is 45 percent contained, officials said.


Sonoma County Sheriff Robert Giordano on Thursday said hundreds of people were still reported missing. But officials believe many of those people will be found. Chaotic evacuations and poor communications over the past few days have made locating friends and family difficult.

Giordano said approximately 1,000 missing persons reports were filed in the wake of the fast-moving blazes that knocked out power lines and cell towers, effectively creating a dead zone in the North Bay. Amid a lack of communication, Sonoma County officials have safely located 603 people, he said. Roughly 400 people remain outstanding.

While officials work to reconnect loved ones, the recovery phase has commenced. Identifying the deceased is "going to be a slow process" because of the active fires, Giordano admitted.

"So far in the recovery, we have found bodies that were almost completely intact, and we have found bodies that were nothing more than ash and bones," he said.

At least five people have been arrested in Sonoma County on suspicion of trying to loot, according to Giordano. Two of those people were arrested Wednesday night after being found in the evacuation zones.

Helicopters and air tankers were assisting thousands of firefighters trying to beat back the flames. Until now, the efforts have focused on "life safety" rather than extinguishing the blazes, partly because the flames were shifting with winds and targeting new communities without warning.

"We are not out of this emergency," Emergency Operations Director Mark Ghilarducci said Thursday. "We're not even close to being out of this emergency."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Solano County Communities on Edge as Wildfire Moves Closer]]>Thu, 12 Oct 2017 15:00:56 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Solano_County_Communities_on_Edge_as_Wildfire_Moves_Closer.jpg

Residents in Solano County are bracing for possible evacuations as the North Bay wildfires inch closer to their homes. Jodi Hernandez reports.]]>
<![CDATA[CPUC Launches PG&E Probe in Wake of North Bay Firestorm]]>Fri, 13 Oct 2017 01:52:12 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/north-bay-fire-wed-EM.jpg

The state’s Public Utilities Commission has launched a probe into PG&E’S vegetation management and maintenance practices in the wake of the deadly firestorm in the North Bay.

Late Thursday, the CPUC’s head of safety formally ordered the company to “preserve any factual or physical evidence” related to the fire, including all “failed poles, conductors and associated equipment from each event.”

Earlier Thursday, PUC President Michael Picker revealed the agency, along with Cal Fire, is probing whether PG&E's practices fueled the firestorm.

“We’re also looking into PG&E activities in this area with a specific focus on maintenance of facilities and vegetation management practices.”

The probe comes as NBC Bay Area has been reporting on the company’s vegetation management program, specifically its cutback on power line safety patrols in 2013. The savings ended up being spent in urban areas, where fewer outages would help more people, and also could lead to bigger bonuses for company executives.

State Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) said Thursday he hopes to convene a hearing on PG&E’s vegetation management practices. He welcomed the probe, which came as he had written a letter urging state regulators to make sure the utility preserves fire related evidence.

“I think the preservation of evidence is crucial in determining what that root cause is and where responsibility falls,” he said before the PUC sent the preservation order letter. “I think in this case we need to make sure that the PUC puts PG&E on notice.”

The preservation letter comes as the utility has been chastised for failing to alert regulators about problems and for not preserving evidence.

In the case of the Butte fire in Amador and Calaveras couties, PG&E failed to alert regulators that the massive blaze was caused by an at-risk tree falling onto its power lines. The fire claimed two lives back in September 2015.

In the 2010 gas explosion in San Bruno, state regulators cited the utility for “gross negligence” for failing to maintain evidence related to a gas system control room video.

Attorney Frank Pitre, who went up against the utility over the Butte fire and San Bruno blast, welcomes the investigation and says the order to preserve evidence is a good first step.

“I think that an order like that would be welcome for the benefit of the state of California and especially to provide answers to those people who have been victimized by this fire.”



Photo Credit: Rich Pedroncelli/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Emergency Alerts Scrutinized After Fires Wreck NorCal Homes]]>Thu, 12 Oct 2017 10:24:50 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-860391702.jpg

Communities in wildfire-prone Northern California have an array of emergency systems designed to alert residents of danger: text messages, phone calls, emails and tweets. But after days of raging blazes left at least 23 dead, authorities said those methods will be assessed after some residents complained those warnings never got through.

The fast-moving fires, strengthened by fierce winds and nearly absent humidity, began to burn through the state's fabled wine country Sunday night. Counties used a variety of ways to send out warnings, but the alert systems rely on mobile phones, landlines or the internet to rouse residents.

"People were in bed, asleep at midnight, and these fires came down on these communities with no warning within minutes," said state fire agency Chief Ken Pimlott.

"There was little time to notify anybody by any means," he added.

Sonoma County used various systems in an attempt to alert residents of the approaching flames but also decided against using what's known as a Wireless Emergency Alert, a widespread message sent to cell phones in the region, sometimes compared to an Amber Alert issued for missing children.

Because of its broad reach, officials concluded the message could panic people not in danger, triggering unnecessary evacuations that would snarl traffic and delay emergency vehicles, said county spokeswoman Jennifer Larocque.

"They would have reached many people not affected by the fire," she said. "It would have delayed our response."

In emergencies where a few minutes or even seconds can save lives, the notification systems have inherent blind spots. Not everyone will get the message. Sonoma County uses a service that sends out text messages or emails when an evacuation is ordered, but residents have to sign up to receive them. The county also uses a mobile phone app that can receive messages, but again it requires a resident to opt-in to participate.

The county can also trigger automated emergency calls to landlines in an area threatened by fire, but that would only reach homes with those phones.

Sonoma County sheriff Rob Giordano urged residents at a press conference Wednesday to sign up for one of the text message alert systems, called SoCoAlert.

Residents can also recieve emergency alerts via text message by signing up for Nixle, a private service that sends alerts to users based on zip code. 

Nixle will send emergency alerts over text, voice call and email, the Mercury News reported. 

On Sunday night, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office sent its first alert via Nixle, to warn residents of several fires. About 10 minutes later, law enforcement sent out the first mandatory evacuation orders.

However, nearly 80 cellphone towers were knocked out or badly damaged, officials said.

Some evacuees escaped only when they realized the fire was nearly at their doors.

David Leal was at his home in Santa Rosa about 11:30 p.m. Sunday when strong winds began stirring and he smelled smoke. Growing increasingly anxious, he called a fire dispatcher but was assured that there was no need to worry unless he saw flames. He looked outside and didn't, so he and his wife went to bed.

At 2 a.m., they were jarred awake when a sudden blast of wind knocked a lamp off a nightstand. Leal looked out at neighbors who were packing up to get out. There was never a phone call, or a knock on the door.

"We didn't know what was going on, but just instinct led us to agree on the decision to evacuate," he said.

State Sen. Bill Dodd of Napa said he received an alert Sunday night to evacuate, but by that time he had already decided to get out. His power had kicked off at 10 p.m.

He looked up a hillside by his home and "it was the most incredible fire coming at us," Dodd said. "A lot of it is common sense."

Sonoma County Sheriff Sgt. Spencer Crum was on duty Sunday night when he smelled smoke in the parking lot of the department's headquarters in Santa Rosa. Ducking inside, dispatch calls started coming in about fire in the nearby hills.

He and about a dozen other deputies raced to two rural neighborhoods with sirens blaring and warning residents on their loudspeakers of the fast-approaching blaze. Deputies went door-to-door urging residents to flee.

"Unfortunately, some of them were disbelieving and wanted to argue," Crum said.

When the fire got too close, they raced down the hill to warn others to flee.

"They didn't need any convincing," Crum added. "By that time, you could see the flames approaching."

Sonoma County also posts evacuation notices on a website, Facebook, and Twitter.

"Various counties use different ways to push information out to the public. And to my knowledge they were used by the counties where they could be used," said Mark Ghilarducci, director of the Governor's Office of Emergency Services.

"I think it's still too premature to determine what actually worked and what didn't," Ghilarducci said.

Sonoma County Sheriff Robert Giordano said his office did the best it could to notify people of evacuations after the blaze broke out Sunday, but he acknowledged the limitations in the systems.

"The world has changed. People don't have landlines anymore," Giordano said. "The other thing to keep in mind, the fire was unbelievably fast."

Blood reported from Los Angeles. Associated Press writers Paul Elias in Santa Rosa, Don Thompson in Sacramento and Olga Rodriguez in San Francisco contributed.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Crews Continue to Battle Atlas Fire in Solano County]]>Thu, 12 Oct 2017 20:15:08 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/Crews_Continue_to_Battle_Atlas_Fire_in_Solano_County.jpg

NBC Bay Area's Jodi Hernandez is along the front lines of the Atlas Fire in Solano County and provides the latest.]]>
<![CDATA[Air Quality Prompts School Closures in Bay Area]]>Thu, 12 Oct 2017 20:00:57 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Air_Quality_Prompts_School_Closures_in_Bay_Area.jpg

Many Bay Area school are canceling classes due to air quality concerns from the North Bay wildfires. Christie Smith reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Walnut Creek Oktoberfest Canceled Due To North Bay Fires ]]>Fri, 13 Oct 2017 10:45:35 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/AftermathWednesday4.jpg

Organizers announced Thursday that they were canceling Walnut Creek's annual Oktoberfest, citing air quality concerns caused by the deadly North Bay Area fires and guidance from health officials.

Hosted by the Chamber of Commerce, Walnut Creek Downtown, and Labadie Productions, the city's iteration of Oktoberfest was slated to take place this coming Saturday. It's unclear if the festival will be rescheduled. 

"Our hearts go out to the victims of our neighbors who have suffered such loss and devastation," the three hosts said in a joint statement announcing the cancellation.

They encouraged would-be attendees to donate instead to fire relief through the Safeway Foundation, which usually partners with Oktoberfest and is now matching customer donations up to $500,000. The grocery chain's fundraiser is just one of many active campaigns dedicated to fire relief and providing aid to victims. 

An homage to the festivals that take place each year in Germany, Oktoberfest is an annual tradition in Walnut Creek and other parts of the Bay Area. Attendees typically wear costumes and dine on festive foods. In recent years, Bay Area festivals have become a hybrid celebration of both German food and drink — especially beer — and Halloween. 

Most of the other Bay Area Oktoberfest celebrations took place in late September this year. The Peninsula Oktoberfest, also slated for this weekend, has not announced a cancellation. 

The air quality in the Bay Area has been especially poor since Sunday, with little sign of letting up as the fires continue to ravage the region's wine country.

That air has been blowing into the East Bay, masking the sky in a noxious opaque haze. Walnut Creek's decision comes on the heels of schools across Contra Costa County shuttering classes. The National Weather Service has issued "Red Flag" warnings for large swaths of the Bay Area, advising people to keep indoors and refrain from burning materials. 

Find extensive wildfire coverage here

webkit-text-stroke: #000000} span.s1 {font-kerning: none} -->

webkit-text-stroke: #000000} span.s1 {font-kerning: none} -->

webkit-text-stroke: #000000} span.s1 {font-kerning: none} -->

webkit-text-stroke: #000000} span.s1 {font-kerning: none} -->



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Growing Wildfires Impede Search For Missing People]]>Thu, 12 Oct 2017 15:17:01 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-860301330.jpg

Searches for the missing amid California's storm of wildfires have been marked mostly by confusion.

Even establishing a decent estimate of the unaccounted-for has proved too difficult, with authorities citing wildly disparate figures within a single day Wednesday, though all were in the hundreds.

Some of the missing are only struggling to reach loved ones because of communication problems. Others have been counted twice, inflating the numbers.

"We get calls and people searching for lost folks and they're not lost, they're just staying with somebody and we don't know where it is," said Napa County Supervisor Brad Wagenknecht.

But authorities say others will almost certainly be added to the death toll, now at 27.

Sonoma County Sheriff Robert Giordano said his investigators were beginning to work the missing-persons cases one at a time, but they're limited to looking in the "cold zones" they could reach.

With many fires still raging out of control, authorities said locating the missing was not their top priority.

"We can only get so many places and we have only so many people to work on so many things," he said. "When you are working on evacuations, those are our first priority in resources."

As a result, friends and relatives turned to social media, posting pleas such as "Looking for my Grandpa Robert," "We are looking for our mother Norma" or "I can't find my mom." It is an increasingly familiar practice that was seen after Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and the Las Vegas massacre.

Frances Dinkelspiel, a journalist in Berkeley, turned to social media for help finding her stepbrother Jim Conley after tweeting authorities and getting little help. But it was a round of telephone calls that ultimately led her to him.

A Santa Rosa hospital initially said it had no record of him, but when the family tried again, it was told he had been transferred elsewhere with serious burns.

It was a frustrating experience, Dinkelspiel said, but "I'm glad he's in a hospital and isn't lying injured on the side of the road."

Dozens of names are on a dry erase board at the Finley Community Center in Santa Rosa, which the Red Cross had turned into an evacuation center with dormitories, cold showers and three meals a day. Dozens of evacuees hung about, waiting for word for when they could return to their homes.

Debbie Short, an evacuee staying at the Finley Center, was a good example of a person listed as missing who was not. She was walking past the dry erase board when she noticed her name on the board, likely because a friend had been looking for her.

A Red Cross volunteer erased her name from the board.

A sobbing Rachael Ingram searched shelters and called hospitals to try to find her friend Mike Grabow, whose home in Santa Rosa was destroyed. She plastered social media with photos of the bearded man as she drove up and down Highway 101 in her pickup.

Privacy rules, she said, prevented shelters from releasing information.

"You can only really leave notes and just try and send essentially a message in a bottle," she said.

Ingram said she hopes Grabow is simply without a phone or cell service.

"We're hearing the worst and expecting the best," she said.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Fire Survivor Gnawed By Regret Over Elderly Neighbors]]>Thu, 12 Oct 2017 03:29:56 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_17285076872313.jpg

As his house filled with smoke from one of California's devastating wine country fires, Ryan Nelson's thoughts went to his elderly neighbors — one of whom has multiple sclerosis.

He ran over and pounded on their doors and windows, but wasn't able to get their attention. Now he fears they didn't make it out and wonders whether he could have done more to help.

"We're in the middle of the city, so that's never crossed anybody's mind here in terms of everything being a total fire loss," Nelson said. "That's why I didn't kick his door in. I just thought I'd come back to the house."

Nelson was in his Santa Rosa neighborhood on Wednesday going through the ruins of his house to try to find his grandfather's rifles, including an M-1 carbine from World War II, that he kept in a gun safe.

He found only pieces. His neighbors' home was also a total loss.


Nelson knows the man only as Manjeet and said he has never met or seen his wife, who had multiple sclerosis. Manjeet, who was in his 70s, has no car and is fairly "reclusive," Nelson said, seen occasionally walking to the nearby Trader Joe's or elsewhere in the neighborhood in a blue or white turban and sandals. He rarely answered the door if Nelson knocked.

"Nobody ever sees him or talks to him, but when you do see him he's got everything in the world to talk about," Nelson said.

Nelson said he awoke to the sound of a frightened dog scratching at the door.

The dog followed him as he went to alert neighbors, but he lost track of her and doesn't know whether she survived and was rescued.

Nelson said he underestimated the fire.

"My regret isn't doing more to try to save anything, it was more I feel like I could've forced entry into their house and pulled them out of bed or dome something more to help him get out," Nelson said.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Jonathan Copper
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[North Bay Fires: List of Areas Affected By Power Outages]]>Wed, 11 Oct 2017 17:24:24 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/101017aerialviewfire12_366202.JPG

Power outages throughout the North Bay are affecting thousands of PG&E customers in the wake of wildfires ripping through the region.

As of 3 p.m. Thursday, PG&E reports 49,000 wildfire-related outages in the North Bay:

  • About 44,000 customers in the Santa Rosa area
  • About 5,000 customers in the Napa area

View PG&E's outages map here.

Since the fires began on Sunday, 255,218 PG&E customers have lost electricity. The utility said 80 percent of customers have had their power restored.

Full North Bay wildfires coverage here.

]]>
<![CDATA[Community Google Doc Connects Fire Evacuees With Shelter]]>Fri, 13 Oct 2017 02:00:09 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/AftermathWednesday8.jpg

As hotels and evacuation centers continue to fill with people, a public Google Doc is becoming a lifeline for evacuees seeking free shelter from the devastating and deadly wildfires ravaging Northern California. 

More than 100 Bay Area residents in safe locations have added their name to the spreadsheet, offering up their available houses, rooms and even comfy living-room couches. 

The list continues to grow as it circulates on community message boards and on social media. People have recently begun adding other services, including free transportation. 

So far, a handful of people said they found shelter through the list.

Ryan Nadeau, who lives in San Francisco, created the document. The tech worker is traveling through Ibiza, Spain, and described feeling “helpless” and “guilty” watching the fires unfold. He posted the document on his Facebook, and it spread from there, with tech industry friends making edits and turning it into an easy-to-navigate spreadsheet. 

He described it as a useful alternative to Airbnb Open Homes, a program that the house-sharing platform activates during some natural disasters. Currently, Airbnb is facilitating free shelter until Oct. 30. 

“Open Homes is great, but it’s just for a couple weeks,” Nadeau said. “People are going to need much longer than that if they’ve lost everything. Hopefully, this will allow people to find shelter for as long as they need it.” 

The Google Doc is also publically accessible to anyone with an internet connection, so users don’t have to create an account to access it. 

“A couple times it’s brought tears to my eyes watching people populate this in real time from so far away,” Nadeau said. 

Matt Sulkis, who listed his San Francisco home, said it seemed like the most direct way to reach people who need help. 

“ A lot of us are local and grew up here, and we figured it was one less step,” he said. “We wanted to get something out there quick.”

The document is just one of many ways the broader Bay Area community has been rallying around victims of the massive infernos. People have also been flocking to donation centers, crowdfunding sites, and community groups to offer aid. 

So far, More than a dozen California fires have torched a combined 140,000 acres since Sunday, destroyed thousands of structures and sending more than 20,000 people fleeing from homes in more than six counties. 

At least 24 people perished in the blazes, and officials expect the death toll to rise. Hundreds are still unaccounted for, and possibly thousands more will return to their homes to find only ash and charred wreckage remaining. 

“It looks like a nuclear blast hit,” said John Fornachan, who lost a home in Santa Rosa that had been in his family for more than 100 years. “Everything is just wiped out.”

“We’re going to have to start from scratch,” he continued. 

Have something to add? Contact Gillian.Edevane@nbcuni.com. Access the Google Doc here or in the hyperlinks above. Find more fire coverage here.  Find ways to help here. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Sports Teams Join Forces to Support Wildfire Relief]]>Wed, 11 Oct 2017 14:07:30 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/DIT+NAPA+DRONE+THUMB.jpg

Bay Area sports teams have joined forces to donate $450,000 for North Bay fires relief efforts.

The Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Athletics, San Francisco Giants, Golden State Warriors, San Jose Sharks and San Jose Earthquakes announced the donation on Wednesday and are encouraging their fans to contribute.

The teams have established a YouCaring site for fans to donate whatever they can to support North Bay fire victims.

The fires have ravaged Sonoma, Napa, Solano, Mendocino and Lake counties, destroying at least 3,500 homes and businesses and forcing at least 20,000 people to evacuate. Officials have confirmed 21 fatalities. Here are other ways you can help with North Bay fire relief efforts.

]]>
<![CDATA[Free Breathing Masks, Charging Stations for Fire Evacuees]]>Mon, 16 Oct 2017 06:15:36 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1011-2017-breathing-mask.jpg

Our NBC Bay Area Responds team is providing free breathing masks and recharge stations to North Bay wildfire evacuees.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[200 Female Inmates Are Fighting Fires in California]]>Wed, 11 Oct 2017 12:35:28 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Women-firefighters-CA1.jpg

Before they head out, the women pack plenty of water: at least two canteens and a CamelBak hydration system each, along with extra safety glasses, snacks, and ready-to-eat meals in case the shift runs long. They also bring “ponies,” short lengths of hose to attach to a hydrant or other apparatus. The backpack weighs nearly 40 pounds in the end.

Sandra Welsh is a firefighter. But unlike most California firefighters, she is only paid $2 per day and doesn’t get to go home at the end her shift. Because she's also a prison inmate.

“We are the ones that do the line. We are the ones that carry the hose out. We’re the line of defense,” Welsh said in a recent interview with NBC News. Welsh, an inmate at Malibu Conservation Camp #13, is one of about 200 incarcerated women incarcerated around the state who fight fires in California.

Her group is on standby as firefighters battle the Canyon 2 fire in the Anaheim Hills. But other women are part of the fight against the fires currently devastating the state, which have claimed 21 lives and destroyed 3,500 structures over the past few days. 

"We have female crews from other camps working on the Canyon Fire in Anaheim and also up in Napa," said Bill Sessa, a spokesman for the corrections department. "The crews from the Malibu camp are on standby and also have to provide back-up fire protection for L.A. County."

The status of the crews could change quickly depending on conditions, he said.

About 3,800 inmates, both women and men, fight fires in California, making up about 13 percent of California’s firefighting force. The fire program saves taxpayers $124 million per year, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. 

In the fire program, the women do the same work as the men.

“We basically fight fires and it gives us a chance to better ourselves mentally and physically,” Latoya Najar, an inmate at the Malibu camp, told NBC News last month.

Working in crews of 14, the women use hand tools and chain saws to cut containment lines that stop fires from spreading. 

“Every day is a difficult day,” Najar said. “This will show you that you can do anything you put your mind to.” 

Malibu Conservation Camp #13 in Southern California is one of 43 conservation fire camps for adults run by the corrections department, and one of three such camps for female inmates. Inmates in the camps work hundreds of fires each year. Women at the Malibu camp, for example, have been called out on 177 fires so far this year, Sessa said. 

Sandra Welsh decided to volunteer in the program for the sake of her two children.

“This prison trip has taken a lot out of their lives and I wanted them to have something to hold onto,” Welsh, who is also at the Malibu camp, told NBC News. “My mom’s a firefighter. I might be an inmate firefighter, but I’m a firefighter.”

Inmates must volunteer to be in the program, and there are many benefits that motivate the women to sign up, said Sessa of the corrections department.

"They get paid better than any other prison job," he said. The pay is $2 per day day in camp and $1 per hour for time on the fire line.

Being housed in a camp is an "improvement" over the confines of a traditional prison behind an electric fence, he said. 

Another incentive is that inmate firefighters earn two days off their sentence for each day they're in the fire camp, as compared to other California inmates who can earn just one day for each day of good behavior. 

Still, at least one California politician has called the program's low pay "slave labor."

Gayle McLaughlin, the former mayor of Richmond, Calif., and a candidate for lieutenant governor in the state, said she does support the fire programs.

"But they must be paid fairly for each day of work – and $1 an hour is not fair pay," she wrote in September on her campaign website. "No matter how you may want to dress it up, if you have people working for nothing or almost nothing, you’ve got slave labor, and it is not acceptable."

Not all inmates are eligible to volunteer for the fire program.

To participate, inmates must be convicted of a non-violent crime, have a record of good behavior and pass physical examinations. If an inmate has a history of sexual offenses, arson or any history of violent escape, they’re automatically disqualified from the firefighting program. Qualified volunteers are trained by Cal Fire and then receive additional wildfire training in the camps. Training focuses on endurance because shifts can be as long as 16 hours, inmates say.

When she first came close to a fire, inmate Helen Chung was terrified.

"I said, 'Oh my god, we're actually in the fire,'" she told NBC News for its report.

But she says attitude is everything.

"You have to be very positive and make the most of your situation and your circumstances," Chung said. "But these are challenges that I’ve overcome and I’m proud to be here."

Other inmates also find the work rewarding.

"You get to save people’s houses,” said Melissa Logan, an inmate who fought fires at the Malibu camp but is now housed at the California Institution for Women in Chino. “You get to help people. It’s really gratifying and empowering when you’re driving by and people are holding up signs saying ‘Thank you, firefighters’ and they’re crying because you just saved their homes."

Inmates in the fire program are less likely to be rearrested after release than other inmates.

In the general prison population, three quarters of prisoners are arrested again within five years of release, according to studies by the Bureau of Justice Statistics. But these rates in the firefighting program are 10 percent lower, according to the corrections department.

"This is not a vocational program," Sessa said. "It is not designed to teach inmates how to be full-time firefighters. But they learn many life skills that they will say help them succeed in life when they leave prison… leadership, discipline, teamwork, responsibility."



Photo Credit: NBC News
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Wine Country in Flames: Death Toll Rises]]>Thu, 12 Oct 2017 13:32:35 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-859436442.jpg

THURSDAY, OCT. 12: The fires have killed 27, destroyed more than 3,500 homes and businesses, scorched nearly 300 square miles and forced at least 20,000 people to evacuate since Sunday, officials said. Meanwhile, firefighters are still struggling to contain the fast-moving flames.

For our latest coverage on the Northern California wildfires click here.

Firefighters in Northern California are still struggling to contain more than a dozen fast-moving wildfires scorching the state's world-famous wine country as officials warn that strong winds could further threaten the fight against the blazes. 

Twenty-two blazes across California — primarily spread across eight counties in Northern California — have killed at least 23 people, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Director Ken Pimlott said. The death toll includes 13 in Sonoma County, two in Napa County, two in Yuba County and six in Mendocino County.

"Make no mistake, this is a serious, critical, catastrophic event," Pimlott said.

Fires across the state have destroyed more than 3,500 homes and businesses, scorched in excess of 170,000 acres — or roughly 265 square miles — and forced at least 20,000 people to evacuate since Sunday, officials said Wednesday.

The latest mandatory evacuation Wednesday afternoon included all of Calistoga, a city of about 5,300 in Napa County.

"This is just pure devastation, and it's going to take us a while to get out and comb through all of this," said Pimlott. He added that the state had "several days of fire weather conditions to come."

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

The National Weather Service on Tuesday issued a Red Flag Warning — ideal conditions for fire ignition and spread — for the North Bay mountains and East Bay hills. The alert remains in effect through Thursday afternoon. 

Due to low humidity and strong winds, communities in Yuba, Sonoma, Napa, Lake, Humboldt, Mendocino, Butte, Nevada and Calaveras counties are experiencing "heavy fire activity," according to the California Office of Emergency Services.

The largest of the blazes burning over a 200-mile region hit Napa and Sonoma counties, both home to dozens of wineries that attract tourists from around the world. The Atlas Fire has burned over 42,000 acres in Napa and Solano counties and is 3 percent contained; the Tubbs Fire has scorched 28,000 acres in Napa County and is zero percent contained; the Nuns Fire has burned 7,626 acres in Sonoma County and is 2 percent contained; the Partrick-Carneros Fire has charred over 9,500 acres and is 2 percent contained, the Pocket Fire has burned 1,800 acres in Sonoma County, officials said. 

At least three other fires are also charring acreage in areas north of Sonoma and Napa counties. The Redwood/Potter Fire has charred 29,500 acres in Mendocino County and is 5 percent contained; the Sulphur Fire has spread to 2,500 acres in Lake County as is 40 percent contained; the Cascade Fire in Yuba county has grown to 12,349 acres and is 20 percent contained, according to Cal Fire.

Napa County Fire Chief Barry Biermann said Wednesday there has been "very aggressive" fire behavior with a "rapid spread." "We had a lot of winds that pushed the fire in a lot of directions," he said, posing significant challenges to first responders.

Unfortunately, Thursday promises to be more of the same due to the high fire risk. Biermann warned people that wine country will experience more "extreme fire behavior and growth" to the multiple blazes.

Area hospitals have reported treating more than 100 patients with fire-related injuries. Sonoma County Sheriff Robert Giordano said Wednesday morning that officials had received 670 missing persons reports. Of them, 110 people had been found. 

"We are not switching operations to anything but life saving right now," he said. "It's all about life saving and evacuations."

By the afternoon hours, the number of missing persons in Sonoma County dropped to 380, Giordano said.

County spokesman Scott Alonso said that the growing number of missing person reports is, in part, due to a lack of cellphone connectivity in the affected areas. Seventy-three cellphone towers between Santa Rosa and the Oregon border are out of commission, he said, which makes it a challenge for people to find their loved ones. 

Those figures are likely to climb in the coming days as more information is reported.

Mandatory and volunteer evacuations were widespread in Napa and Sonoma counties and stretched into Solano County late Monday night and into Tuesday.

"I think they underestimate how powerful and how dangerous (fires) can be," Giordano said. "That's why I say if you're in an advisory, you got a place to go, go. You don't need to be here."

By Wednesday, the mandatory orders had reached Calistoga — where Oakland police went door to door to help people get to safety in time — and covered a broader swath of Sonoma County. 

Supervisor Diane Dillon, whose district includes Calistoga, said roughly 2,000 of the city's 5,000 residents were impacted by the early morning evacuation order. Of them, most had already left their homes, while others were ready with their bags packed. 

Several evacuation centers have opened for residents to take shelter.


Chris Childs from the Napa County CHP office asked for people's "continued patience." 

"It's a tough message," to be told that "you can't go back to your homes," he said. 

At one point, an estimated 3,200 people were staying in 28 shelters across Napa and Sonoma counties.

"We understand that being displaced from your home is frustrating," said Belia Ramos, chairwoman of the Napa County board of supervisors. It comes with a set of "complex emotions," she said, but unfortunately, officials are unable to provide residents with an estimate for when they may be able to return home. 

"It's simply not safe," she said, adding that during a tour to part of the burned area she saw downed power lines and parts of residences that were smoldering. Life safety continues to be the foremost priority, Ramos said.

David Leal, 55, and his wife and stepson salvaged a few decorative items from their Santa Rosa home, including a wind chime, tiles from the backsplash in the kitchen, a decorative sun and a cross.

"Our plan is to keep those things, and when we rebuild, they’ll be mementos of what we’ve lived through, and of, just, resilience," Leal said. "It’s hard not to get emotional."

In the meantime, Leal got a post office box, so the family can get mail, a new laptop and some clothes. They’re living out of their two vehicles for now.

"We’ll be back home again sooner than later, and with our chins held high," he said, choking back tears. "And hopefully we’ll be amongst our neighbors and friends as they do the same."

Leal, a U.S. Navy veteran, evacuated with his family, two dogs and cat to nearby Petaluma late Sunday after seeing fierce, hot winds and flames whipping in the distance.

“We didn’t have time to think about what to grab. We grabbed what we saw,” he said. He got his external hard drive, which was lying out, but left his laptop.

Gov. Brown declared a state of emergency in Napa, Sonoma, Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Nevada, Solano and Yuba counties. Vice President Mike Pence, who visited the state Tuesday, said at an event near Sacramento that the federal government stands with California as it takes on the blazes.

Congressman Mike Thompson stressed "how serious and devastating this fire is on the people in our area." He said Tuesday that the federal government has been "incredibly responsive." Federal assistance and public grants are being made available to affected areas. 

"The resources that are needed are coming," Thompson promised. He also urged residents to pay attention to first responders' instructions. 

He continued: "Please listen to them. Please heed all their warnings and take all their directions."

President Donald Trump said he spoke Monday night with Gov. Brown to "let him know that the federal government will stand with the people of California. And we will be there for you in this time of terrible tragedy and need."

In some torched neighborhoods, fire hydrants still had hoses attached, apparently abandoned by firefighters who had to flee. 

The fires sent smoke as far south as San Francisco, about 60 miles away.

A thick, smoky haze cloaked wine country, where neighborhoods hit by the fires were completely leveled.

A number of wineries in Napa and Sonoma counties also were burned.

One key Napa County vintner says at least five wineries in his trade group are destroyed or seriously damaged in a region synonymous with excellent food and wine.

The Napa Valley Vintners association earlier Tuesday had put the number at four. But board chairman Michael Honig said the latest count was five. He said damage was to facilities, and the group does not know about vineyards.

Cal Fire urged people to refrain from flying drones because it hindered air assaults on flames. Officials also described the fire as a "life safety event," and said that crews are not yet in firefighting mode. The goal is to evacuate people and ensure their safety.

Among the more prominent structures damaged in the fires were Cardinal Newman High School and the Hilton Hotel in Santa Rosa.

The destructive blazes and high winds, which fanned the flames and toppled power lines, have left tens of thousands of people across the North Bay without power, according to PG&E. Roughly 53,000 customers are without power, with the majority of them in Sonoma and Napa counties, PG&E reported Wednesday.

Most schools in Napa, Sonoma and Solano counties were closed through the end of the week.

Santa Rosa officials also issued a curfew order for affected burn areas at 6:45 p.m. until sunrise. Evacuees are instructed not to return to their homes until evacuation orders are lifted, they said.

The wildfire ripped through the historic Stornetta Dairy off Highway 12 in Sonoma County.

In Napa, the fire destroyed a water pump station in the Silverado Country Club area, prompting the city to issue a boil-water notice for customers on Hagen Road, Woodland Drive, Syar Drive, Holly Court and Old Coach Road. Boil water notices were also issued for some residents in the Fountain Grove area of Santa Rosa.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Facebook, Apple, Google Pledge Millions in Fire Relief Aid]]>Wed, 11 Oct 2017 17:56:07 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/north-bay-fire-wed-EM.jpg

Amid a series of deadly blazes ravaging Northern California, the nation's leading technology companies  — including Google, Apple and Facebook — have pledged more than $2.5 million combined to help fire relief efforts. 

All companies have headquarters in the Bay Area. 

Facebook, which has a history of donating to disaster relief funds, announced on Tuesday that it would be donating $1 million to local nonprofits, including the Community Foundation of Sonoma County. Additional recipients have yet to be announced. 

"I'm thinking of all our neighbors in harm's way and I hope everyone stays safe," CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post announcing the donation. 

Along with other social networks, Menlo Park-based Facebook has become a hub for people to share their stories in the aftermath of the raging fires, which overtook densely-populated suburbs within Santa Rosa and flattened neighborhoods across the Northern Bay Area. 

At least 20 people have perished in the spate of fires, while hundreds more remain missing or unaccounted for in Napa, Sonoma, Solano, Lake, Nevada, Butte, Calaveras, Shasta, and Yuba counties.

Users have been marking themselves safe using Facebook's Safety Check feature, while more than 3,000 people offered help on community message boards, according to the company. Site users thanked Zuckerberg for the site's feature on his most recent post, crediting Facebook with helping families connect during tragedies. 

Others implored him to continue his philanthropic efforts outside of the U.S. 

"Please carry out more campaigns that encourage people to help other poorer countries, such as Mexico, for example, affected by environmental or other disasters at war," wrote Facebook user Leila Barbosa. 

The entrepreneur, whose company donated $1.5 million to hurricane relief in Puerto Rico, came under fire for what many called an insensitive "virtual reality tour" through the flood-wrecked island. He has since apologized. 

Meanwhile, Apple also pledged $1 million to fire relief efforts. The Cupertino-based company also plans to match employee donations two-for-one.

"Our thoughts are with our Bay Area friends & neighbors affected by wildfires," CEO Tim Cook Tweeted, warning people to "stay safe."

Apple did not say which nonprofits would benefit from the donations.

Google representatives said that the company would also be contributing to relief efforts across California with a $500,000 donation. The Mountain View-based company will be working with its longtime partner, the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, to distribute money to local nonprofits. 




Photo Credit: Rich Pedroncelli/AP]]>
<![CDATA['Heartbroken': Smoke, Fires Ravage California's Wine Country]]>Wed, 11 Oct 2017 01:03:47 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/179*120/GettyImages-859499196_master.jpg

Workers in Northern California's renowned wine country picked through charred debris and plotted what to do with pricey grapes after wildfires swept through lush vineyards, destroying at least two wineries and damaging many others.

The wind-driven wildfires came as Napa and Sonoma counties were finishing highly anticipated harvests of wine grapes. Monday normally would have found workers picking and processing the ripe grapes to make chardonnay and other wines.

Instead, melted and blackened wine bottles decorated the ruined Signorello Estate winery in Napa Valley. People at Paradise Ridge Winery in Sonoma County posted photos of debris and haze, saying they were "heartbroken to share the news" that the winery had burned.

A maintenance worker watched and hoped for the best Monday as flames crept down a hillside by the Gundlach Bundschu Winery.

"It's right behind the main office. It's working its way down the hillside. What can I say? It's slowly working its way in," Tom Willis said.

The Napa Valley Vintners, a trade association, said Monday that most wineries were closed because of power outages, evacuation orders and employees who couldn't get to work. The organization said it did not have firm numbers on wineries burned or how the smoke might affect this year's harvest or the industry in general. But it said most grapes had already been picked.

About 12 percent of grapes grown in California are in Sonoma, Napa and surrounding counties, said Anita Oberholster, a cooperative extension specialist in enology at the University of California, Davis. But they are the highest value grapes, leading to the highest value wines, she said.

It's hard to predict correctly, but she said chances are good this year's crop won't carry much smoke damage.

"Even if wines now were heavily affected by smoke, it doesn't carry over to the next season, only in the fruit itself," she said.

Gloria Ferrer, Ravenswood and Kenwood were among well-known wineries closed for the day because of the fires, according to social media posts. Chateau Montelena Winery, which helped put California on the global wine map when it won a French wine-tasting competition in 1976, escaped damage.

Wineries that escaped damage grappled with the lack of power, which they need to process the grapes.

"Some of our growers did pick for us last night. So we had to unload the fruit into our cold barrel room and wait until tomorrow to process it," said Alisa Jacobson, vice president of winemaking at Joel Gott Wines.

"I think we'll be OK, but it's not an ideal situation. But more importantly, all our employees seem to be doing OK," she said.

She said she was stunned by the speed of the fires, falling asleep around 10 p.m. Sunday only to wake during the night to the smell of smoke. By 3 a.m. people were being evacuated.

Lise Asimont, director of grower relations for the Family Coppola wineries, was among the people being urged to leave her Santa Rosa home. She said explosions that made her think of war woke her around 2 a.m. She opened the front door to a sky snowing ash.

Authorities told her family to prepare to flee, but Asimont was also worried about her grapes, four truckloads of cabernet sauvignon machine-picked in Lodi on Sunday with no way of getting to Coppola facilities Monday because of a closed highway.

She called a wine maker with LangeTwins winery and vineyards, who had a tank available to crush the grapes and was happy to be able to help. In turn, she passed on the favor to another winery.

"There's a lot of people helping each other, which is amazing," she said.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[CHP Rescues Runaway Llama During Wildfires in Sonoma County]]>Wed, 11 Oct 2017 16:14:27 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/22365675_1632494223441558_627809252794247186_n.jpgThe North Bay wildfires caused damage to a llama's corral in Sonoma County. Luckily, Animal Control Officer, Cathey McCafferty, and CHP Officer, Custodio Lopez, worked together to fix the fence and herd the llama back to safety. ]]><![CDATA[Even Small Sparks Pose Risk Amid CA's 'Worst Time for Fires']]>Wed, 11 Oct 2017 13:30:11 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/north-bay-wildfires-ff-EM.jpg

A carelessly discarded cigarette, a downed power line, a car's backfire or a chainsaw's pull. Just about anything could have started any one of the wildfires now tearing through Northern California, authorities said.

"Every spark is going to ignite a fire," said Ken Pimlott, the state's top firefighter. He said the risk remains "extreme for new starts."

Pimlott said Tuesday that investigators are looking into the causes, but no determination has been made at any of the sites of major wildfires blazing in Northern California. Authorities said 22 were burning Wednesday.

Pimlott, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection director, said "98 percent" of all wildfires are started by people, and it's unlikely lightning is to blame for any of the fires that exploded overnight Sunday, killing at least 21 people so far.

California's most dangerous wildfire season comes in autumn, when summer heat and insects have left brush dead and dried out, and winds are especially hot, dry and strong.

"This is traditionally California's worst time for fires," Pimlott said.

Pimlott said firefighters typically respond to 300 blazes a week during this season, but nearly all are extinguished quickly and with minimal damage. It's unusual to have many major fires burning at once, he said.

However, conditions were ripe for wildfires in California wine country after record rains last winter created an abundance of dry vegetation, which combined with low humidity and unusually high winds gusting to 79 mph to create fast-moving infernos.

Pimlott told reporters Wednesday that the state was still feeling the effects of five years of drought and that the winter rain was gone, leaving behind critically dry vegetation to fuel fires.

None of the major fires has been contained. They are spread over a 200-mile region north of San Francisco from Napa in the south to Redding in the north, taxing firefighting resources.

Napa County Fire Chief Barry Biermann said fires had been moving too fast and unpredictably for firefighters to attack directly.

"The winds were extremely erratic during those conditions of high winds and a lot of things happened," Biermann said.

He and others said resources are stretched thin as firefighters battle so many major blazes simultaneously.

California Office of Emergency Services Director Mark Ghilarducci said thousands of firefighters, law enforcement officials and others are responding. Airplanes are helping and fresh firefighters from Southern California and Nevada are streaming in to help.

The U.S. Department of Defense is sending a large drone to help map the fires and assess damage. The California National Guard is also providing gasoline to firefighters and other first responders because many service stations in the area are without power and unable to pump fuel.

The biggest and most devastating fire is burning in Santa Rosa, a city of 175,000 people 45 miles north of San Francisco. A fire there swept through several neighborhoods and business districts. Many residents had only minutes to flee. Many of the fatalities so far have occurred in and near Santa Rosa.

Many roads are closed throughout Northern California. California Highway Patrol officers are helping with security at evacuation centers and providing escorts to rescue vehicles traveling in dangerous areas, commissioner Warren Stanley said.

He also had a request for motorists in the area.

"Anybody who is driving around — if you're smoking in your car — please do not throw your cigarettes out the window," Stanley said.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: Ben Margot/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Apocalyptic Photos From California's Wine Country]]>Wed, 11 Oct 2017 15:38:38 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/Wednesday_Fire2.jpgFirefighters are struggling to contain over a dozen fast-moving wildfires scorching an estimated 170,000 acres across Northern California, killing 21 people this week. Fire's across the state have destroyed more than 3,500 homes and businesses and forced at least 20,000 people to evacuate since Sunday, officials said Wednesday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Aerial Views of North Bay Wildfires]]>Wed, 11 Oct 2017 17:34:43 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/101017aerialviewfire2_366045.JPGNBC Bay Area's SkyRanger captured these images from the skies above North Bay cities devastated by historic wildfires.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Search For Mother Trapped in Tubbs Fire Ends in Heartbreak]]>Wed, 11 Oct 2017 18:47:59 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/Missing+Woman_GettyImages-859543022.jpg

Jessica Tunis screamed at her mother to run out of the burning house but Linda Tunis said she was trapped, there was fire everywhere, and the last thing she said to her daughter was that she was going die before the call dropped.

The younger Tunis immediately called 911 early Monday, but didn't know if they rescued her 69-year-old mom before her house was leveled in wildfires that swept Northern California's wine country.

She turned to social media, along with hundreds of others looking for loved ones. She posted a picture of her mother smiling at a café with the caption, "Does anyone know if Journey's End Mobile Home Park got evacuated before it burned down? I can't find my mom, Linda Tunis."

The post spawned more than 100 comments, largely from strangers who offered encouragement and tips, she told an AP reporter Tuesday night. Some even went to shelters to search for the woman who loved bingo and the beach.

"I've had people going to shelters for me because of Facebook," Tunis said. "It does help. For sure. Anything helps."

As of Wednesday, 22 wildfires were burning in Northern California, up from 17 the day before. The blazes killed at least 21 people and destroyed an estimated 3,500 homes and businesses, many of them in California's wine country.

Sonoma County authorities said they didn't have the resources to look for missing people with fires spreading and more evacuations.

Jessica Tunis hoped desperately that her mother was somewhere safe, unable to tell people who she was. The family continued calling hospitals seeking Jane Does and hitting up evacuation centers.

On Wednesday, her brother Robert Tunis picked through the debris where his mother's house once stood, searching for clues to what happened to her.

"She's spunky, she's sweet, she loves bingo and she loves the beach, she loves her family," said Jessica Tunis on Wednesday, crying. "Please help me find her. I need her back. I don't want to lose my mom."

Hours later Tunis texted an AP reporter to say her brother had found their mother's remains among the debris. Authorities put the remains of the 69-year-old woman in a small white plastic bag and strapped it to a gurney before taking it away.

Jessica Tunis didn't forget to update her friends on Facebook:

"My mother's remains have been found at her home at Journey's End. May she rest in peace, my sweet Momma."

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: Getty Images and Jessica Tunis ]]>
<![CDATA[North Bay Fires Reduce Mexican Immigrant's Dreams to Ashes]]>Wed, 11 Oct 2017 13:37:50 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_17283681104144.jpg

Jose Garnica worked for more than two decades to build up his dream home that was reduced to ashes in a matter of minutes by the deadly firestorm striking Northern California.

Garnica, who moved to the U.S. from Mexico over 20 years ago, had finally decided he could afford to upgrade parts of his Santa Rosa house after building a stable career with the local garbage company and saving nearly everything he and his wife earned.

Over the past two years, he replaced the siding and installed a new air conditioner, stainless steel appliances and new flooring. He bought a new 60-inch television. On Saturday, the 44-year-old got an estimate to replace the fence, one of the last items on his list.

But at 3:30 a.m. Monday, he watched his house become one of the more than 2,000 homes and businesses destroyed by the series of blazes across the region that as of Wednesday has killed at least 21 people.

“You feel helpless,” he said Tuesday. “There’s nothing you can do. Everything, your whole life, goes through your mind in a minute. Everything you had done. I left all my family behind in Mexico to get a better life. Finally we were just coming to the comfort level, and this happens.”

Garnica tried to save the home with a garden hose. He and a neighbor tried to cut open the neighbor’s above-ground pool, hoping the water would protect their homes. In 15 minutes, the entire neighborhood caught fire, he said.

“If I knew this was going to happen, maybe those 45 minutes I spent trying to put the fire down, I should’ve just grabbed all the belongings,” Garnica said. “But I didn’t think it was going to happen.”

Those destructive flames raced across the wine country of Napa and Sonoma counties and the coastal beauty of Mendocino further north, leaving little more than smoldering ashes and eye-stinging smoke in their wake. Whole neighborhoods are gone, with only brick chimneys and charred laundry machines to mark sites that were once family homes.

“This is just pure devastation, and it’s going to take us a while to get out and comb through all of this,” said Ken Pimlott, chief of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. He said the state had “several days of fire weather conditions to come.”

In some torched neighborhoods, fire hydrants still had hoses attached, apparently abandoned by firefighters who had to flee.

The wildfires already rank among the deadliest in California history, and officials expected the death toll to increase as the scope of destruction becomes clear. At least 185 people were injured during the blazes that cropped up Sunday night. Nearly 200 people were reported missing in Sonoma County alone.

David Leal, 55, and his wife and stepson salvaged a few decorative items from their Santa Rosa home, including a wind chime, tiles from the backsplash in the kitchen, a decorative sun and a cross.

“Our plan is to keep those things, and when we rebuild, they’ll be mementos of what we’ve lived through, and of, just, resilience,” Leal said. “It’s hard not to get emotional.

In the meantime, Leal got a post office box so the family can get mail, a new laptop and some clothes. They’re living out of their two vehicles for now.

“We’ll be back home again sooner than later, and with our chins held high,” he said, choking back tears. “And hopefully we’ll be amongst our neighbors and friends as they do the same.”

Leal, a U.S. Navy veteran, evacuated with his family, two dogs and cat to nearby Petaluma late Sunday after seeing fierce, hot winds and flames whipping in the distance.

“We didn’t have time to think about what to grab. We grabbed what we saw,” he said. He got his external hard drive, which was lying out, but left his laptop.

Garnica also hung onto hope, saying he was not back at square one.

“I came into the States with nothing. I didn’t have anything,” Garnica said. “I think I’m better off than how I came in. At least I got a job. I got a family. I’m healthy.”

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: Ben Margot/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Couple Wed for 75 Years Killed by Fast-Moving Fire in Napa]]>Tue, 10 Oct 2017 16:03:48 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/10102017RIPPEYFAMILY_360594.JPEG

A World War II veteran and his wife, who had been married for 75 years, died Sunday when they were unable to make it out of their Napa home before it was engulfed in flames.

Charles Rippey, 100, and his wife, Sara Rippey, 98, lived in the Silverado Residential Community for 40 years, according to their son, Chuck Rippey.

The couple’s caregiver tried to get to them out of the house, but ran out of time.

“Before she knew it, the roof was caving in,” he said. “So it was very fast, very fast.”

Chuck Rippey said the caregiver called him as the fire ravaged the house.

“She went down to get my father and all the windows started to explode and (there was) smoke and heat and all that everywhere,” he said. “She just couldn’t find them.”

Charles Rippey enjoyed playing tennis and going out to eat, but he loved his wife most of all, said Chuck Rippey, who took solace in the knowledge that his parents were together until the very end.

Despite the intense heat and smoke in the house and his need for a walker, Chuck Rippey said his father appeared to be heading to his mother's room. He almost made it to her side. That’s where he found their bodies.

"My father certainly wouldn't have left her," said Mike Rippey, the couple's second son. 

The couple had met in grade school in Wisconsin and been together ever since, celebrating their 75th anniversary last year.

Rippey, 71, said he and his siblings couldn't imagine how either parent would have navigated life if just one had survived the flames.

"We knew there's no way they would ever be happy, whoever was the last one. So they went together, and that's the way it worked," he said stoically.

In the charred remains of the home, only metal and porcelain survived to testify to the couple's long life together. There were coffee cups along a low sill; two metal chairs, side-by-side by a patio table; and a porcelain tea set of white and soft washes of blue, some pieces still intact.

Charles Rippey — nicknamed "Peach" as a toddler for his chubby cheeks — and his wife were among the 17 victims who have died in the fierce, fast-moving fires that started on Sunday and raged through neighborhoods. None of the other victims had been identified.

Mike Rippey said his mother had previously suffered a stroke.

He was in London and boarding a flight to California when his brother, Chuck Rippey, called and told him their parents had died.

The couple attended the University of Wisconsin and married in 1942 before Charles Rippey served as a U.S. Army engineer in World War II. He became an executive with the Firestone tire company.

Rippey said he had no plans to rebuild the home.

"Without them, it doesn't mean a thing,'' he said. "It's gone. They're gone.''

Authorities are expecting other older people to be among the dead, who like the Rippeys might not have been able to move fast enough to beat the flames.

Seventeen wildfires raging across parts of seven counties have destroyed more than 2,000 homes, businesses and other structures.

The wildfires rank among the five deadliest in California history, and officials expect the death toll to rise as the scope of destruction becomes clear.

At least 185 people were injured, and more than 300 have been reported missing in Sonoma County alone, though many may be safe but unable to use damaged communication systems.

NBC Bay Area's Rhea Mahbubani contributed to this report.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: Rippey family]]>
<![CDATA[Time Lapse Video of Destroyed Santa Rosa Neighborhood]]>Mon, 16 Oct 2017 06:15:08 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/FOUNTAINGROVE_AND_COFFEY_PARK_TIMELAPSES_1200x675_1068885571897.jpg

This time lapse video shows the devastation left behind by the wildfires that tore through the Fountaingrove and Coffey Park neighborhoods.]]>
<![CDATA[Shelters Work Together to Save Animals From North Bay Fires]]>Wed, 11 Oct 2017 10:23:22 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/216*120/Cheetah6.JPG

As thousands escape the destructive fires engulfing much of Northern California’s wine country, animal rescue groups throughout the Bay Area are hustling to clear space in shelters and find temporary homes for lost pets.

Milo Foundation, a long-running animal rescue group with headquarters in Point Richmond, was forced to evacuate about 200 animals from its sanctuary in Willits. Shelter staff are asking people who live in safe locations to open their homes to shelter dogs and cats as a result.

“We’re trying to clear as much space as possible,” said Jasmine Salazar, the assistant kennel manager. “We’ve been getting calls from people, asking if we can take in other pets too. We know they’re going to be coming in, so we’re trying to be prepared.”


Salazar advised people to go to their website for more information about fostering pets, as phone lines have been consistently busy since Monday morning.

Meanwhile, Humane Society Silicon Valley, Kiska and the Nevada Humane Society picked up evacuated animals from the Petaluma Animal Shelter on Monday, as the flames continued to roar closer to the Hopper Street location. Some of the four-legged evacuees had only recently arrived from Louisiana, where they were rescued from the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey.

The Petaluma shelter posted that it had received a strong show of support from the community, quickly maxing out the needed number of volunteers and receiving dozens of bags of food and other supplies. Shelter staff said they are still in need of foster parents for animals and cash donations to cover veterinary care.

“We're all super tired but inspired by the love of our friends and neighbors who worry if we're OK,” Petaluma shelter staff wrote in a Facebook post. “We love to serve animals and people, and we're here for fire victims. We're one big family - that's how we see it.”

Marin Humane also took in 100 cats and kittens from the evacuated Pets Lifeline in Sonoma, but the organization posted on its Facebook page that it had plenty of volunteers and was stocked up on supplies.

“what we need most right now is financial support to cover the cost of care for the many, many animals we're boarding free of charge for evacuees,” staff wrote in a Facebook post. “People can make donations to support the boarded animals here.”

Meanwhile, Safari West, an animal wildlife preserve in Santa Rosa, was mostly spared by the fire. About 700 animals, including wildebeests, monkeys, zebras, giraffes, and boars, live at the 400-acre sanctuary.

“The preserve remains intact and the animals safe and contained,” Safari West said in a statement. “However, fires continue to burn nearby and the situation is far from stabilized. Please continue to help by keeping the roadways as clear as possible and allowing our firefighters to do their work

Have something to add to this? Email Gillian.Edevane@NBCuni.com



Photo Credit: Safari West
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Cardinal Newman High School Badly Damaged in Santa Rosa Fire]]>Tue, 10 Oct 2017 05:24:56 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/CardinalNewmansdestruction.jpg

Students at Santa Rosa’s Cardinal Newman High School are off the rest of the week as district officials assess the damage to the campus.

The question on everyone’s minds is whether students will be able to complete the school year at 50 Ursuline Road, a small campus that houses just over 600 students. Tragedy struck as students were getting ready for homecoming, which will likely at least be delayed.

The school's principal estimates that up to 18 of the school’s 35 classrooms were burned. That includes the library, main office and many portable classrooms – not to mention equipment like computers, text books and other resources.

Over the next few days, Cardinal Newman officials will try to determine how much of the school is still usable. But if more than 50 percent of the school is damaged, the big challenge ahead will be where then to send the students.

Superintendent Steven Herrington issued a statement that said in part: “We are still learning the impact of these devastating fires on our community as this situation unfolds. I urge everyone to make safety their top priority.”

Meanwhile, on social media, several rival high schools tweeted out good wishes to Cardinal Newman High School students.

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help rebuild the school. As of Tuesday morning, $775 of a $5,000 goal have been raised. 

Here's a list of Northern California school districts that will be closed Tuesday as deadly fires burn:

  • Santa Rosa City
  • Petaluma City
  • Cotati-Rohnert Park
  • Alexander Valley
  • Bellevue
  • Bennett Valley
  • Cinnabar
  • Cloverdale
  • Dunham
  • Forestville
  • Gravenstein
  • Geyserville
  • Guerneville
  • Healdsburg
  • Harmony
  • Horicon
  • Kashia
  • Kenwood
  • Liberty
  • Mark West
  • Monte Rio
  • Oak Grove
  • Old Adobe
  • Piner Olivet
  • Rincon Valley
  • Roseland
  • Sebastopol Union
  • Sonoma County Office of Education
  • Sonoma County
  • Sonoma Valley Unified
  • Two Rock
  • Twin Hills
  • Two Rock
  • West Side
  • Wright
  • West Sonoma County Union
  • Wilmar
  • Windsor
  • Wright





Photo Credit: John Lindsey via Twitter]]>
<![CDATA[Fire Relief: Businesses Offer Shelter To Fire Evacuees ]]>Fri, 13 Oct 2017 22:09:43 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-859923316.jpg

Local and national businesses with ties to the Bay Area are slashing prices and offering free services to residents affected by the deadly wine country fires.

Airbnb activated its Disaster Response Program on Monday to help provide free shelter to first responders and evacuees fleeing from the massive inferno, which has been ravaging much of the North Bay since Sunday. So far, more than 100 hosts on the house-sharing platform have offered up their homes at no cost.

A spokesperson for Airbnb says the company is looking for more Bay Area volunteers to opt-in to the Open Homes program, specifically those who live in Alameda, San Francisco, and Marin counties.

“We encourage hosts in safe areas to aid in this effort by listing their available rooms or homes on the platform to help the growing number of people evacuating,” said Kellie Bentz, Head of Global Disaster Response and Relief for Airbnb, in a statement.

The free listings are currently slated to continue until Oct. 30. Interested homeowners can check out how to join here. 

Hotels are also slashing prices for first responders and evacuees. The Westin in San Francisco, a ritzy hotel in Union Square, lowered its prices from about $250 per night to $95. Hotel Zephyr, a pet-friendly hotel on Fisherman’s Warf, lowered its prices from about $200 per night to $95 for evacuees. And the Days Inn and Suites in Antioch is offering free rooms to evacuees and first responders.

Meanwhile, The de Young Museum in San Francisco is waiving admission this weekend for all Bay Area residents who want to escape the noxious and smoky air.

"Those affected by the fires, or those seeking to escape poor air conditions, we are offering free & safe space for visitors this weekend," the museum tweeted on Friday. 

Other businesses are also offering aid to customers affected by the fires. Verizon Wireless is giving its affected subscribers talk, text and data relief. AAA Northern California, Nevada, and Utah have opened an emergency response trailer at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa. There, members can get help with insurance claims and receive personal care items. 

Officials estimate that 20,000 people have been displaced by multiple fires, which together have flattened entire neighborhoods in Santa Rosa and Petaluma – densely-populated suburbs home to both the working class and wine-country wealthy.

Hundreds, possibly thousands, of homes of all sizes were obliterated by flames. On Monday, a few residents attempted to return to their neighborhoods, against official advice and found nothing but charred rubble.

John Gianfermi returned to one of those leveled Coffey Park homes Monday morning. As he talked against the backdrop of his gutted home, he picked out a washing machine, folding chairs, and what looked like a bed frame in the ruins. A Buddha had survived the flames, but he thought his photo albums and other family possessions were gone.

"A neighbor pounded on our door and said, 'You've got to go now,'" he said, recalling the moment he was told to evacuate. “"You don’t think that that’s ever going to happen to you.”

This list will be updated with local businesses providing shelter to fleeing evacuees. Have a tip? Email Gillian.Edevane@nbcuni.com



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Boil Water Notice For Some Sonoma, Napa County Residents]]>Tue, 10 Oct 2017 02:47:41 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Water-Generic1.jpg

As deadly flames snake across the North Bay, destroying everything in their path, officials in Sonoma and Napa on Tuesday asked residents to boil water before consuming it. 

In Santa Rosa, the notice is in effect in the Fountaingrove area, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office.

People who live east of Mendocino Avenue, north of Chanate Road, west of Fountain Grove Parkway, south of Mark West Springs Road and in areas where there is little to no water pressure are asked to boil water before drinking it or using it for cooking purposes.

Tap water is safe in other parts of the city, which has been hit hard by the destructive fires that have led to at least 10 deaths and prompted roughly 20,000 evacuations.

Meanwhile, the Napa Water Division has issued a boil water notice for people who live on Hagen and Old Coach roads, Woodland and Syar drives and Holly Court. The same goes for anyone who lives in the area north of Hagen Road and east of the Silverado Trail, which includes the Silverado Country Club, Monticello Park and Vichy Avenue.

The fires have gutted a water pump station in the upper part of Silverado Country Club and the Milliken Treatment plant is not working either, officials said. Napa has set up temporary pumps to restore water pressure and plans to perform analyses and inform customers when it is safe to drink tap water. They believe the issue should be resolved within four days. 

For their safety, residents are asked to boil water for one minute and let it cool before drinking it. Bottled water is an alternative. Those who cannot boil water can use water disinfection tablets or unscented, liquid household bleach.

For more information, people can call the city of Santa Rosa at 707-543-4511, the State Water Resources control Board at 707-576-2145 or the Local Environmental Health Jurisdiction at 707-565-6565.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area, File image]]>
<![CDATA[North Bay Fires: Town of Glen Ellen on Edge]]>Tue, 10 Oct 2017 00:06:53 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/North_Bay_Fires_Town_of_Glen_Ellen_on_Edge.jpg

The Sonoma County town of Glen Ellen is still on edge late Monday and surrounded on three sides by fire. Dozens of homes have burned to the ground, but so far the downtown area has been spared thanks to Cal Fire and a slew of Bay Area fire departments.]]>
<![CDATA[Wildfire Chars Santa Rosa Trailer Park in 'Blink of an Eye']]>Tue, 10 Oct 2017 16:29:59 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/santa-rosa-bay-fires-EM.jpg

Nancy Cook’s dogs sounded the alarm in the middle of the night and she looked out the window to see the flames about a mile away. She never thought they’d reach the Journey’s End trailer park she called home.

But like many who made a pre-dawn dash for their lives in California’s wine country Monday, Cook discovered how fast a wind-driven inferno could arrive at the door.

“My husband and I both thought it wouldn’t get here,” Cook. “It was way, way back there. A big gust of wind just sent it flying. ... Just literally in the blink of an eye.”

By daybreak nearly all of the roughly 160 units in the park for residents over age 55 were reduced to ash and charred, melted metal as flames continued to sprout from gas lines. The homes next to U.S. Highway 101 at the northern end of this city of 175,000 were among more than 1,000 that were consumed by flames as more than a dozen fires burned statewide.

The wildfire stampeded into the city while people were sleeping, torching fast-food businesses, a Hilton hotel and catching residents off guard and, in many cases, little time to escape with more than the clothes — or pajamas — on their backs.

They left behind beloved pet cats, wallets and a vintage collector’s car.

It was smoky when Linda Johnson went to bed around 11 p.m. When she woke up a few hours later, it was glowing red outside.

A landmark round red barn on the hill nearby was burning “like a torch, like a candle,” she said.

Embers from the barn were carried by the wind and rained down on the park’s evergreen and palm trees.

“One of the trees just went ‘poof,’” Johnson said. “Two or three trees after that just went ‘poof.’ So fast. It was so fast. I couldn’t believe it.”

Flames leapt from the trees to one of the trailers and then the residents were in a race for their lives.

Johnson struggled to get her partner, Frank Bautista, a heavy sleeper, up and moving.

“I just said, ‘Come on, we gotta go, we gotta go,’” she recounted. “He just kept taking his time, taking his time. Every time I looked out the window it was closer.”

They were able to get out, but in their haste left behind a cat named River.

Charlie Brown said he woke up several neighbors after seeing the bright glow and helped a woman who used a walker get out of her home. He got in his van and drove around honking his horn before leaving.

He planned to return to retrieve his hot rod 1964 Ford Galaxie. But by the time he got back, fire had claimed the classic car.

“There’s nothing,” Brown said. “These things burn hot. It melted my car, blew the gas tank up.”

Cook also had scrambled to alert others. She and her husband, Jim, pounded on neighbors’ doors.

She struggled to get a 94-year-old man to abandon his pickup truck as flames from his burning house threatened to ignite the vehicle. She gave up as he insisted on taking the truck.

“I just figured all the time I’m wasting trying to stop him,” she said, and told herself to "just let him go and hopefully he gets it out of there."

The man managed to escape. Firefighters and police officers who forced Cook to leave told her they had checked every unit and were confident everyone got out.

She managed to gather the couple’s dogs and medications, but couldn’t find two pet cats.

The Cooks then joined other residents at the parking garage of the Kaiser Permanente medical center next door, where they watched the Journey’s End park — and their homes — go up in smoke.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: Jeff Chiu/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Former Giants Pitcher Noah Lowry Among Wildfire Evacuees]]>Mon, 09 Oct 2017 22:03:44 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/171*120/noah+lowry-1009.jpg

Former San Francisco Giants pitcher Noah Lowry and his family were among those who had to flee from the ferocious series of wildfires in Northern California.

Lowry told The Associated Press that he, his wife, his two daughters and his 2-week-old son had to leave their home in Santa Rosa in a matter of minutes as the flames approached.

Lowry says he "can't shake hearing people scream in terror as the flames barreled down on us."

He said he ran into a closed Highway 101 freeway because the flames had jumped it. But he and his family were able to get away in time and get to a friends' house where they are staying.

Lowry, who pitched for the Giants from 2003 and 2007, now owns an outdoor sporting goods store in Santa Rosa.


Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: Getty Images file]]>
<![CDATA[Fast-Moving Fire Consumes Napa Home, Kills WWII Veteran and Wife]]>Tue, 10 Oct 2017 09:59:06 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Screen+Shot+2017-10-10+at+12.55.12+PM.png

A World War II veteran and his wife were unable to make it out of their Napa home before it was engulfed in flames Sunday, killing them. Jodi Hernandez reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Price-Gouging Alert Issued in Wake of Devastating CA Fires]]>Tue, 10 Oct 2017 04:46:54 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-859429456.jpg

A price-gouging alert was issued Monday by the California attorney general to remind residents and business owners that California law prohibits price gouging during a state of emergency, the attorney general's office said.

Gov. Jerry Brown Monday issued a state of emergency for Napa, Sonoma and Yuba counties as wildfires have devastated communities in the counties.

Across Northern California, 14 fires have destroyed at least 1,500 homes and led to at least 11 deaths, officials said.

Attorney General Xavier Becerra is asking anyone who has been a victim of price gouging or who has information of potential price gouging to file a complaint on the attorney general's website, call 800-952-5225 or call their police department or sheriff's office.

California's price-gouging law prohibits many different businesses from charging more than 10 percent than they were before the state or local emergency was declared.

The attorney general's office said an exception exists if the business's cost of labor, goods or materials has increased.

California's price-gouging law applies to businesses that sell food, emergency supplies, medical supplies, building materials, gas, reconstruction services, emergency cleanup services, transportation, freight and storage services, hotel rooms and rental housing.

Violators can be criminally prosecuted and could face up to a year in the county jail or a fine of up to $10,000.

The attorney general's office said violators also face civil enforcement action including penalties of up to $5,000 per violation, injunctive relief and restitution.

District attorneys and the attorney general's office can enforce the price-gouging law.

Officials with the attorney general's office were not immediately available to say whether anyone had reported price gouging Monday.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NorCal Inferno: Death Toll Rises as Fires Continue March]]>Wed, 11 Oct 2017 01:37:45 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/napafire1010_368427.JPG

Newly homeless residents of California wine country awoke to shattered lives Tuesday after wildfires killed at least 17 people and destroyed more than 2,000 homes and businesses. 

Cal Fire Chief Ken Pimlott said a total of 17 large fires still burning across the state charred more than 115,000 acres in just 24 hours.

Area hospitals have reported treating more than 100 patients with fire-related injuries. As many as 2,000 homes and businesses have been destroyed, according to authorities, who warned that all those figures were expected to climb in the coming days as more information is reported.

Eleven deaths have been confirmed in Sonoma County and two in Napa County. Farther north, three people have been confirmed dead in Mendocino County and one in Lake County.

Mandatory and volunteer evacuations were widespread in Napa and Sonoma counties and stretched into Solano County late Monday night and into Tuesday. Several evacuation centers have opened for residents to take shelter.

California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in Napa, Sonoma, Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Nevada, Solano and Yuba counties due to wildfires. Vice President Mike Pence, who was visiting California, said at an event near Sacramento that the federal government stands with California as it takes on the blazes, but he made no specific promises.

Congressman Mike Thompson stressed “how serious and devastating this fire is on the people in our area.”

He said Sen. Dianne Feinstein and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi are “fully engaged” and the entire California delegation is pushing to get aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency as well as the White House.

President Donald Trump said he spoke Monday night with Gov. Brown to "let him know that the federal government will stand with the people of California. And we will be there for you in this time of terrible tragedy and need."

The largest of the blazes burning over a 200-mile region hit Napa and Sonoma counties, both home to dozens of wineries that attract tourists from around the world. The Atlas Fire has burned 26,000 acres in Napa and Solano counties and is 3 percent contained; the Tubbs Fire has scorched 27,000 acres in Napa County and is 0 percent contained; and the Nuns Fire has burned 5,000 acres in Sonoma County and is 1 percent contained, Cal Fire said. 

The fires sent smoke as far south as San Francisco, about 60 miles away.

A thick, smoky haze cloaked wine country, where neighborhoods hit by the fires were completely leveled.

One key Napa County vintner says at least five wineries in his trade group are destroyed or seriously damaged in a region synonymous with excellent food and wine.

The Napa Valley Vintners association earlier Tuesday had put the number at four. But board chairman Michael Honig said the latest count was five. He said damage was to facilities, and the group does not know about vineyards.

About 3,200 people were staying in 28 shelters across Napa and Sonoma counties.

"I don't know how long I'm going to be here, or what's happening at home," said Santa Rosa evacuee Kathy Ruiz, who had found her way to a center at Sonoma County Fairgrounds. "That's what I'm starting to think about now, am I going to have a home to go back to?"

In the Santa Rosa suburb known as Coffey Park, house after house was gone with only brick chimneys still standing. The flames burned so hot that windows and tire rims melted off cars, leaving many parked vehicles sitting on their steel axles. The only recognizable remnants at many homes were charred washing machines and dryers.

As she approached the smoldering ruins of the Coffey Park duplex she had shared with her husband and their 6-year-old son, Robyn Pellegrini let out a cry of grief. Daniel Pellegrini held his wife before they went searching for something they could salvage for their child.

With bare hands, they sifted through the remains of the exterior wall, which had collapsed into dust inside the house and covered all the other debris in their boy's room. They found a stuffed animal — charred but still recognizable as a turtle. Robyn Pellegrini let out joyful gasps when they found pieces of his rock collection.

A young boy across the street, whose home was spared, brought over one of his own stuffed animals to share.

"You lose all your photos," said Tony Pellegrini, Daniel's father. "You feel like you lost a part of your life."

Santa Rosa, a far larger and more developed city than usually finds itself at the mercy of a wildfire, has sustained much of the damage so far. Around 175,000 residents call Santa Rosa home, including both the wine-country wealthy and the working class.

The flames were unforgiving to both groups. Hundreds of homes of all sizes were leveled by flames.

Former San Francisco Giants pitcher Noah Lowry, who now runs an outdoor sporting goods store in Santa Rosa, was forced to flee in minutes along with his wife, two daughters, and a son just over 2 weeks old.

"I can't shake hearing people scream in terror as the flames barreled down on us," Lowry said.

His family and another evacuating with them tried to take U.S. 101 to evacuate but found it blocked by flames and had to take country roads to get to the family friends who took them in.

Santa Rosa city officials on Tuesday afternoon said the Nuns Fire was rapidly approaching the Oakmont neighborhood, which was already under a mandatory evacuation order, and told residents who were still in the area to leave immediately.

Authorities hoped cooler weather and lighter winds would help crews get a handle on 17 separate fires, which are among the deadliest in California history.

"The weather has been working in our favor, but it doesn't mean it will stay that way," said Brad Alexander, a spokesman of the governor's Office of Emergency Services.

Cal Fire urged people to refrain from flying drones because it hindered air assaults on flames. Officials also described the fire as a "life safety event," and said that crews are not yet in firefighting mode. The goal is to evacuate people and ensure their safety.

Among the dead were 100-year-old Charlie Rippey and his 98-year-old wife Sara. The pair had been married for 75 years but didn't make it out of the Silverado Golf Course house they lived in for the past 40 years.

"The caregiver called and said there's fire everywhere," Chuck Rippey, the couple’s son, said. "I said get these guys out on the street, and before she knew it, the roof was caving in very fast."

Rippey said his dad was a World War II veteran who liked playing tennis and going out to eat. But he loved his wife more than anything. Rippey said he finds peace in knowing the two were together until the very end. The Napa County coroner confirmed their deaths.

Kim Hoe, a 33-year-old tech worker from Penang, Malaysia, was staying at the Hilton Sonoma Wine Country, which was gutted by flames. He said the power went out around 1 a.m., and he and his colleagues started packing up when someone knocked on the door and told them to run.

"We just had to run and run. It was full of smoke. We could barely breathe," Hoe said.

NFL legend and former San Francisco 49ers safety Ronnie Lott, along with other sports stars, were evacuated from a hotel in Sonoma minutes before wildfire ripped through the area, according to TMZ.

Former San Francisco Giants great Barry Bonds was also among the athletes who fled from Wine County wildfires, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Among the more prominent structures damaged in the fires were Cardinal Newman High School and the Hilton Hotel in Santa Rosa. A number of wineries in Napa and Sonoma counties also were burned.

The destructive blazes and high winds, which fanned the flames and toppled power lines, have left tens of thousands of people across the North Bay without power, according to PG&E. Roughly 87,000 customers were without power, with the majority of them in Sonoma and Napa counties, PG&E reported at noon.

School closures in Santa Rosa were extended through Wednesday, officials said, and Napa Valley, Calistoga and St. Helena unified school districts canceled classes for the rest of the week, officials said.

Sonoma State University canceled classes Wednesday, and Santa Rosa Junior College will remain closed through Sunday, according to the school websites. 

Santa Rosa officials also issued a curfew order for affected burn areas at 6:45 p.m. until sunrise. Evacuees are instructed not to return to their homes until evacuation orders are lifted, they said.

The wildfire ripped through the historic Stornetta Dairy off Highway 12 in Sonoma County.

In Napa, the fire destroyed a water pump station in the Silverado Country Club area, prompting the city to issue a boil-water notice for customers on Hagen Road, Woodland Drive, Syar Drive, Holly Court and Old Coach Road. Boil water notices were also issued for some residents in the Fountain Grove area of Santa Rosa.

To the south in Orange County, more than 5,000 homes were evacuated because of a fire in the Anaheim area. The blaze had grown to nearly 10 square miles and had destroyed 24 structures.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Wildfires Threaten Wine Industry in Napa, Sonoma]]>Wed, 11 Oct 2017 12:54:01 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-859498368_594_screen.jpg

Click here for a list of wineries affected by the North Bay fires.

Workers in Northern California's renowned wine country picked through charred debris and plotted what to do with pricey grapes after wildfires swept through lush vineyards, destroying at least two wineries and damaging many others.

The wind-driven wildfires came as Napa and Sonoma counties were finishing highly anticipated harvests of wine grapes. Monday normally would have found workers picking and processing the ripe grapes to make chardonnay and other wines.

Instead, melted and blackened wine bottles decorated the ruined Signorello Estate winery in Napa Valley. Napa winery White Rock Vineyard was also "gone completely," staffers confirmed to the San Francisco Chronicle. 

People at Paradise Ridge Winery in Sonoma County posted photos of debris and haze, saying they were "heartbroken to share the news" that the winery had burned.

Further north, Mendocino County Tourism Commission officials confirmed that fires destroyed Frey Vineyards in Redwood Valley, a longtime producer of organic and biodynamic wines.

A maintenance worker watched and hoped for the best Monday as flames crept down a hillside by the Gundlach Bundschu Winery.

"It's right behind the main office. It's working its way down the hillside. What can I say? It's slowly working its way in," Tom Willis said.

The Napa Valley Vintners, a trade association, said Monday that most wineries were closed because of power outages, evacuation orders and employees who couldn't get to work. The organization said it did not have firm numbers on wineries burned or how the smoke might affect this year's harvest or the industry in general. But it said most grapes had already been picked.

Karissa Kruse, president of the Sonoma County Winegrowers trade group, told the Santa Rose Press Democrat about 90 percent of Sonoma County crop was already harvested. But, late season grapes such as cabernet sauvignon and merlot represent the remaining crop, said Alison Crowe, director of winemaking at Playa Wine Partners in Napa. It is not clear what the extent of the damage is and how it may affect prices for those wines. 

About 12 percent of grapes grown in California are in Sonoma, Napa and surrounding counties, said Anita Oberholster, a cooperative extension specialist in enology at the University of California, Davis. But they are the highest value grapes, leading to the highest value wines, she said.

It's hard to predict correctly, but she said chances are good this year's crop won't carry much "smoke taint," a burnt characteristic infused in wine that has been exposed to smoke and ash.

"Even if wines now were heavily affected by smoke, it doesn't carry over to the next season, only in the fruit itself," she said.

Gloria Ferrer, Ravenswood and Kenwood were among well-known wineries closed for the day because of the fires, according to social media posts. Chateau Montelena Winery, which helped put California on the global wine map when it won a French wine-tasting competition in 1976, escaped damage.

Wineries that escaped damage grappled with the lack of power, which they need to process the grapes.

"Some of our growers did pick for us last night. So we had to unload the fruit into our cold barrel room and wait until tomorrow to process it," said Alisa Jacobson, vice president of winemaking at Joel Gott Wines.

"I think we'll be OK, but it's not an ideal situation. But more importantly, all our employees seem to be doing OK," she said.

She said she was stunned by the speed of the fires, falling asleep around 10 p.m. Sunday only to wake during the night to the smell of smoke. By 3 a.m. people were being evacuated.

Lise Asimont, director of grower relations for the Family Coppola wineries, was among the people being urged to leave her Santa Rosa home. She said explosions that made her think of war woke her around 2 a.m. She opened the front door to a sky snowing ash.

Authorities told her family to prepare to flee, but Asimont was also worried about her grapes, four truckloads of cabernet sauvignon machine-picked in Lodi on Sunday with no way of getting to Coppola facilities Monday because of a closed highway.

She called a winemaker with LangeTwins winery and vineyards, who had a tank available to crush the grapes and was happy to be able to help. In turn, she passed on the favor to another winery.

"There's a lot of people helping each other, which is amazing," she said.

Here is a list of wineries damaged in the wine country fires:

  • Signorello Estate - Destroyed
    The Napa County winery has been burned down. 
  • White Rock Vineyard - Damaged
    One of the oldest wineries in Napa County is likely to have suffered significant damage. 
  • Paradise Ridge Winery - Destroyed
    The Sonoma County winery has been burned down. 
  • Frey Vineyards Winery - Destroyed
    The Mendocino County winery has been burned down. 
  • William Hill - Damaged
    The Napa County winery sustained minor cosmetic damage, but buildings are still intact, according to the SF Gate. 
  • Stags' Leap Winery - Damaged
    The Napa County winery showed fire damage in many photos, but it is still unknown how much, according to the SF Gate. 
  • Nicholson Ranch - Damaged
    The Sonoma County winery was in the path of fire but escaped from being engulfed by flames. The winery only suffered minor damage. 
  • Chateau St. Jean - Damaged
    The Sonoma County winery sustained limited damage to the infrastructures. 
  • Mayo Family Wineries - Damaged
    The Sonoma County winery sustained minor damage, but the winery has been spared so far, according to the SF Gate. 
  • Oster Wine Cellars - Destroyed 
    The Mendocino County winery has been burned down, according to the Mercury News.
  • Gundlach Bundschu Winery - Damaged
    The Sonoma County winery sustained some damage, but the extent is still unknown, according to the SF Gate. 

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[North Bay Wildfires: Devastation at Coffey Park]]>Mon, 09 Oct 2017 17:03:42 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Devastation_at_Coffee_Park.jpg

The Coffey Park neighborhood in Santa Rosa was devastated by one of several wildfires raging in Northern California. Jessica Aguirre reports.]]>
<![CDATA[West Estates Devastated By Wildfires]]>Mon, 09 Oct 2017 17:37:00 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Mark_West_Estates_Devestated.jpg

Vicky Nguyen reports.]]>
<![CDATA[North Bay Wildfires: The Smoldering Aftermath]]>Mon, 16 Oct 2017 12:14:36 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Sta-Rosa-trailer-burned-EM.jpg

Photo Credit: Ben Margot/AP]]>
<![CDATA[North Bay Fires: Health Officials Issue Smoke Advisory]]>Mon, 09 Oct 2017 15:06:45 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/air-qualty.jpg

Bay Area health officials issued a smoke advisory due to the North Bay fires and advise residents to stay inside.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Santa Rosa Trailer Park in Ruins After Wildfire]]>Mon, 09 Oct 2017 17:46:39 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Journey_s_End_Trailer_Park_in_Ruins.jpg

Damian Trujillo shows the remains of the Journey's End Trailer Park after one of several wildfires burning in Northern California ripped through the community.]]>
<![CDATA[360 Views of the Devastating Santa Rosa Fire]]>Tue, 17 Oct 2017 12:50:57 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-859429648_594_screen.jpg

Deadly wildfires in Napa and Sonoma counties sent residents fleeing for their lives and reduced dozens of homes to smoldering ash. The blazes have killed 35, destroyed more than 3,500 homes and businesses, scorched more than 345 square miles and forced at least 20,000 people to evacuate since Sunday



Photo Credit: Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[North Bay Fires Prompt Smoke Advisory for Bay Area]]>Wed, 11 Oct 2017 15:45:22 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/191*120/AP_17282592183596.jpg

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District issued a smoke advisory Monday as a result of multiple fires burning in Napa and Sonoma counties.

Smoke from the fires, which have burned tens of thousands of acres, wafted across the Bay Area due to high winds late Sunday and early Monday, air district officials said.

According to AIRNow, air conditions across the Bay Area are ranging between unhealthy and hazardous. Cities near or in Napa and Sonoma County are advised to take proper precautions. The air quality in these counties are very unhealthy and the population can be affected. 

Residents are advised to limit outdoor activities and to set air conditioning and car ventilation systems to the "recirculate" option to prevent outside air from entering.

If indoors, keep your windows and doors closed unless it is extremely hot outside. According to air district officials, if the home lacks air conditioning, staying inside with the windows closed may be dangerous in hot weather. It is advised that people in these circumstances seek alternative shelter. 

It is important to keep the fresh air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent additional smoke from coming in. 

Elderly people, children and those with respiratory illnesses are particularly susceptible to the smoky conditions and should take extra precautions, air district officials said.




Photo Credit: AP
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Raging Fire Burns Homes in Santa Rosa]]>Mon, 09 Oct 2017 12:20:19 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Homes_Burned_in_Coffee_Park_Neighborhood.jpg

Homes in Santa Rosa's Coffey Park neighborhood are destroyed in a fast-moving wildfire. Mark Matthews reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Fire Evacuees Arrive at Napa Church]]>Mon, 09 Oct 2017 17:42:46 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Crosswalk_Community_Church_in_Napa_Takes_in_Evacuees.jpg

Cheryl Hurd provides the latest on Atlas Peak fire evacuees.]]>
<![CDATA[RAW: Aerial Footage Depicts Scope of North Bay Fires]]>Mon, 09 Oct 2017 14:47:28 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/ChopperFire_344727.JPEG

Footage captured by NBC Bay Area's SkyRanger depicts the widespread devastation caused by wind-driven wildfires that quickly spread across the North Bay. ]]>
<![CDATA[North Bay Fires Destroy Mobile Home Park in Santa Rosa]]>Mon, 09 Oct 2017 12:20:51 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/Mobile_Home_Park_Destroyed.jpg

Wildfires raging in North Bay destroyed a mobile home park in Santa Rosa. Damian Trujillo reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Residents Capture First Moments of Wine Country Fires]]>Tue, 10 Oct 2017 16:11:45 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/224*120/Santa_Rosa_Residents_Capture_Fire_Pics.JPG

Residents of wine country were sent fleeing from their homes Monday as about 15 wind-driven wildfires burst to life across North Bay counties, wiping out 1,500 structures and sending the smell of smoke as far as San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose.]]>
<![CDATA[Three Tips for Dealing with Fire Insurance]]>Mon, 09 Oct 2017 14:03:50 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Actions_to_Take_During_a_Wildfire_Evacuations.jpg

Consumer reporter Chris Chmura has helpful advice if you're a homeowner affected by the North Bay wildfire.]]>
<![CDATA[Residents Capture First Moments of Wine Country Fires ]]>Tue, 10 Oct 2017 17:25:11 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/22344314_1920760918172677_8405529694404870144_n.jpgResidents of wine country were sent fleeing from their homes Monday as about 15 wind-driven wildfires burst to life across North Bay counties, wiping out 1,500 structures and sending the smell of smoke as far as San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose.]]><![CDATA[RAW VIDEO: Fast-Moving Wildfire Rages in Napa]]>Tue, 10 Oct 2017 09:34:10 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/KNTV_100000000508700_1200x675_1066490435527.jpg

Raw video from the NBC Bay Area SkyRanger shows a fast-moving wildfire in the Napa area.]]>
<![CDATA[NorCal Wildfires Leave 11 Dead, Burn 1,500 Structures]]>Tue, 10 Oct 2017 09:58:14 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_17282743058328.png

Thousands of residents of wine country were sent fleeing from their homes Monday as more than a dozen wind-driven wildfires erupted across Northern California, wiping out at least 1,500 structures and sending the smell of smoke as far as San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose.

At least 11 people have died and two people have suffered serious injuries as a result of the blazes. Seven deaths occurred in the Tubbs Fire in Sonoma County, two deaths occurred in the Atlas Fire in Napa County and one death was reported in the fire that ignited in Mendocino County, Cal Fire said. One more death was reported in Yuba County, the local sheriff's office said.

A Sonoma County spokesman said late Monday that the county has received more than 100 missing-persons reports.

An estimated 20,000 people have been evacuated, Cal Fire Director Ken Pimlott said. He added that the estimates of destroyed structures are very conservative.

Pimlott said the fires are burning across an eight-county swath of Northern California, including Napa, Sonoma and Yuba counties. Cal Fire estimated that a total of 73,000 acres, or 114 square miles, have been scorched as of Monday afternoon.

Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in response to the blazes, including the 6,000-acre fire south in Orange County. The flames spread rapidly as a result of wind gusts topping out around 50 mph during the overnight hours.

"It was an inferno like you’ve never seen before," said Marian Williams, who caravanned with neighbors through flames before dawn as one of the wildfires reached the vineyards and ridges at her small Sonoma County town of Kenwood.

Laurie Thompson said she had "just enough time to grab a few things" before fleeing from the Coffey Park neighborhood in Santa Rosa. Swift gusts whipped flames into the area, leaving some homes in a heap of smoldering rubble. 

"Homes were just destroyed," Thompson said. "Blocks are gone."

John Gianfermi returned to one of those leveled Coffey Park homes Monday morning. As he talked, he picked out a washing machine, folding chairs, and what looked like a bed frame in the ruins. A Buddha had survived the flames, but he thought his photo albums and other family possessions were gone.

Gianfermi said he had started to smell smoke Sunday night and noticed that the wind was very strong.

"A neighbor pounded on our door and said, 'You've got to go now,'" he said.

He, his wife, and two teenagers got into his truck and fled in a neighborhood exodus, eventually heading to his sister's house. They returned Monday morning to see what, if anything, was left, and while his wife and children waited in the truck about a mile away, he walked the rest of the way.

"Better that I see it than my wife and my kids," he said.

But everyone got out alive, no one was hurt, and the family could buy new clothes, he said.

"You don’t think that that’s going to happen to you," he said.

The Tubbs Fire burning in Napa County off Highway 128 and Bennett Lane in Calistoga has scorched 35,000 acres, according to officials. The Atlas Fire south of Lake Berryessa off Atlas Peak Road has burned at least 25,000 acres while the Partrick Fire, which ignited west of Napa, has torched roughly 3,000 acres. 

The Nuns fire, burning in Sonoma County north of Glen Ellen, has torched 5,000 acres, according to Cal Fire. At the southern tip of Sonoma County, the 37 Fire, which started near Highway 37 and Lakeville Highway, has incinerated 1,500 acres.

At least 10,000 acres in Mendocino County also have been scorched after the Redwood Complex Fire, which includes the Redwood and Potter fires, ignited west of Mendocino National Forest, Cal Fire reported.

Evacuations have been ordered across the North Bay for residential neighborhoods, shopping centers and hospitals, such as Kaiser Permanente Hospital and Sutter Hospital in Santa Rosa. Flames consumed mobile homes next to Kaiser while hospital employees rushed patients to safety. Staff moved some in private cars when they ran out of ambulances.

The fires forced all Santa Rosa schools and Napa Valley Unified School District schools to close for the day.

Santa Rosa officials on Monday issued a curfew for affected burn areas from 6:45 p.m. until sunrise.

In Napa County, Kim McPherson said she had heard that her house was gone.

"Shock," she said. "Disbelief."

But she said she was grateful that she and others were alive and uninjured.

A man whose parents live in the Fountain Grove neighborhood of Santa Rosa described driving over to wake them up, then waking up their neighbors. His parents' house was still standing, but all around them was devastation. Firefighters from around the area had responded to Santa Rosa to help, he said.

"This is insane," he said.

Dreama Goldberg, who is eight months pregnant, got out safely with her husband, 7-year-old stepdaughter, roommate and cat.

“We feel very fortunate for that,” she said. “It was really scary.”

Goldberg, who is a dance instructor in Santa Rosa, said her house was destroyed but already her friends in the dance community are rallying around the family.

“We’re going to start from scratch,” she said.

A number of areas in Sonoma County are under evacuation orders including the region west of Highway 101 in the Piner Road area to downtown Forestville, Cloverdale KOA, Palomino Road, Vanoni Road to Gill Creek Road, Arnold Drive to the State Hospital and west of Jack London State Park, according to officials. 

Evacuation centers in Sonoma County have opened at the Cloverdale Citrus Fair, Sebastopol Vets Hall and Sonoma Valley High School, according to officials.

Evacuation orders in Napa County include the Wooden Valley area, Montecito area, Old Sonoma Road to Buhman Avenue, Dealy Lane, Henry Road, Coombsville Road and Wild Horse Valley Road.

Centers for the evacuated have opened at Crosswalk Church, Napa Valley College Gym and the Napa County Fairgrounds, officials said.

The Solano County Sheriff late Monday issued mandatory evacuation orders for Joyce Lane and Twin Sisters Road in Fairfield.

NBC Bay Area has compiled a running list of evacuation orders and evacuations. Those impacted by the fire can also check the Cal Fire website or Nixle for further updates on evacuations. 

For those with large animals, Vintage High School farm is taking animals that need shelter. The Napa County Animal Shelter will hold smaller animals.

The animals and birds at Safari West, a 400-acre African animal preserve in Santa Rosa, were not harmed by the fires.

High winds overnight drove the blazes to spread rapidly across the region, according to officials. The strong gusts also toppled power lines, knocking out power for some and leading to spotty cellular coverage.

Smoke from the fires has drifted across all parts of the Bay Area, as far south as San Jose. People across the Bay Area are advised to limit their outdoor activities and close their windows.

A red-flag warning is in effect through Tuesday morning for the North Bay and East Bay hills, meaning there is an elevated risk for fire danger because of dry conditions and gusty winds. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Residents Flee Homes as Wildfires Torch North Bay]]>Mon, 09 Oct 2017 14:48:57 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/KENWOODFIREPIC3_342702.JPEG

Scores of residents were forced to leave thier homes late Sunday or early Monday as multiple wildfires ignited across the North Bay. Bob Redell reports.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Evacuation Site for Santa Rosa Residents]]>Mon, 09 Oct 2017 13:06:26 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Evacuation_Site_for_Santa_Rosa_Residents.jpg

Residents evacuate and head to shelter. Bob Redell reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Evacuation Orders and Centers in the North Bay]]>Mon, 16 Oct 2017 18:26:40 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/220*120/2017-10-14_6-00-54.jpg

10/17 2:25 P.M. UPDATE: Mandatory evacuations lifted in Santa Rosa. The area includes the Oakmont neighborhood (all streets south of Highway 12, east of Calistoga Road to Pythian Road.

*All northbound roads off Highway 12, including Highway 12 eastbound at Pythian Road, will still be closed under mandatory evacuation orders.

The evacuation order has also been lifed for the medical complex located 3536 and 3540 Mendocino Avenue. All areas within the mandatory evacuation zone around the complex will remain in place. The only access to the complex will be via Steele Lane north to Mendocino Avenue.

--

10/16 6:25 P.M. UPDATE: Mandatory evacuations lifted for the area of Bennett Valley/Annadel Heights in Santa Rosa.

Mandatory evacuations lifted for the following regions in Napa County:

  • Wooden Valley Road at the Napa/Solano County line, north to Monticello Road, State Route 121
  • Monticello Road at State Route 121, north to State Route 128, Moskowite Corners

10/16 12 P.M. UPDATE: Mandatory evacuations lifted for the following regions in Sonoma County:

  • Bennett Valley Road and the area east of Petaluma Hill Road (some roads in the area remain closed)
  • Kenwood: residents outside of the burn area will be allowed to return home
  • Boyes Hot Springs: advisory evacuations lifted, including area east of Highway 12 to the fire perimeter and south from Madrone Road to Verano Avenue
  • Glen Ellen: east of Arnold Drive to fire perimeter and south from Martin Street
  • City of Sonoma: east of Highway 12 to 4th Street East and south of E. Verano to East and West Spain St.; 7th Street East from E. Napa Street south to Denmark Street
--


10/15 6 P.M. UPDATE: 

Wikiup and the area to the north, and east of Old Redwood Highway, including Faught Road, are now open to the public, except for the following closed areas:

  • Vista Grande Drive, all residences west of 5339 Vista Grande Drive have access. No access to the east of 5339 Vista Grande Drive.
  • Wikiup Drive at Wikiup Court. No access to the east of that intersection.
  • Wikiup Drive, all residences to the west of 889 Wikiup Drive. No access to the east of 889 Wikiup Drive, including Knollwood Court.
  • Carriage Lane, east of Carriage Court. No access to the east of that intersection on Carriage Lane.

Larkfield: The area north of the Larkfield Shopping Center that is outside the burned area as defined by the road closures listed below.

  • Londonberry Drive at the intersection, east of Hatona Drive. No access to the south of that intersection.
  • Lambert Drive, east of Hatona Drive. No access to the south of that intersection.
  • Pacific Heights Drive, east of Old Redwood Highway. No access on Pacific Heights Drive.

10/15 2:45 P.M. UPDATE: Mandatory evacuations have been lifted for Solano County residents impacted by the Atlas Fire. People with proof of residency can return home between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Roads will reopen to the public after 6 p.m.

10/15 1:30 P.M. UPDATE: Evacuation order for city of Calistoga to be lifted at 2 p.m. 

10/15 11:25 A.M. UPDATE: Evacuation advisory in place within Napa city limits has been lifted. 




--

More than one dozen fires burning in the North Bay since late Sunday have prompted widespread evacuation orders to be implemented and evacuation centers to open.

Below is a running list of evacuation orders and evacuation centers that have been announced since the fires ignited.

Evacuation Orders in Sonoma County (Latest evacuation orders at the bottom):

  • Area west of Highway 101 in the Piner Road area of downtown Forestville
  • Cloverdale KOA
  • Palomino Road (all directions)
  • Vanoni Road to Gill Creek Road (all directions)
  • Arnold Drive to the State Hospital and west of Jack London State Park
  • Area east of Fulton Road between Guerneville Road and River Road
  • Area north of Guerneville Road/Steele Lane from the Mendocino Avenue corridor to Fulton Road
  • Area north of Hopper Avenue between Highway 101 and Coffey Lane
  • Porter Creek
  • Petrified Forest
  • Franz Valley
  • Mountain Home Ranch Road
  • Skyfarm area
  • Fountaingrove Parkway and Montecito Heights area
  • G and H section residents in Rohnert Park
  • Sonoma Valley area of Mission Highland, Norrbom Road and Gehricke Road areas
  • Rohnert Park area, Roberts Road, Lichau Road, Pressley Road and Sonoma Mountain Road
  • All residents of Wild Oak community and the surrounding area
  • Bennett Valley areas of Sonoma Mountain Road, Bennett Ridge Road, Enterprise Road
  • Pacific Heights neighborhood behind Molsberry's Market in Larkfield
  • Ida Clayton Road from Highway 128 to the Lake County line
  • All of Glen Ellen
  • Sonoma Developmental Center
  • Cross Creek Road
  • Faught Road, near Shiloh Regional Park
  • Montebello Road
  • Wall Road, north of Trinity
  • Frederick Ranch Road
  • Rincon Valley, north of Montecito Blvd. from Brush Creek Road to eastern city limits
  • Oakmont
  • St. Andrews Drive
  • Cavedale Road
  • East of Bennett Valley Golf Course, west of Annadel State Park
  • Annadel Heights area, Parktrail Drive, Summerfield Road
  • Pacific Heights
  • Every residence between 1922 Highway 128 and the Russian River
  • Sonoma Valley area: Moon Mountain Road, Mission Way, London Way, Martin Road, Cavedale Road, Adobe Way
  • Castle Road north of Lovall Valley Road
  • 7th Street East north of Lovall Valley Road
  • Geyserville on Highway 128 east to River Rock Casino, and south on Highway 128 to Geysers Road up to Cal Pine
  • Castle Road north of Lovall Valley Road
  • 7th Street East north of Lovall Valley Road
  • North of East Napa Street from 4th Street East to end of E. Napa Street
  • Highway 128 between Geysers Road to Chalk Hill Road
  • 7th St. East from E. Napa Street to Denmark Street
  • North Side of Denmark Street from 7th Street E. to Napa Road
  • 8th St. E. north of Denmark Street
  • E. MacArthur St. East of 7th Street E.
  • Quail Run Way, Hamblin Road
  • Highway 12 from Adobe Canyon Road to Calistoga Road

Evacuation Centers in Sonoma County:

  • Cloverdale Citrus Fair: 1 Citrus Fair Dr., Cloverdale
  • (FULL OR CLOSED) Guerneville School: 14630 Armstrong Woods Ct., Guerneville
  • Healdsburg Community Center: 1157 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg
  • (FULL OR CLOSED) Petaluma Community Center: 320 North McDowell Blvd., Petaluma
  • Casa Grande High School: 333 Casa Grande Rd., Petaluma
  • Cavanaugh Youth Center: 426 8th St., Petaluma
  • Church of Christ: 370 Sonoma Mountain Parkway, Petaluma
  • 1st Presbyterian Church: 939 B. St., Petaluma
  • New Life Church: 1310 Clegg St., Petaluma
  • Veterans Memorial Hall: 1094 Petaluma Blvd. S., Petaluma
  • Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds: 175 Fairgrounds Dr., Petaluma 
  • (FULL OR CLOSED) Burton Recreation Center/Rohnert Park Community Center: 7421 Burton Ave., Rohnert Park
  • Elsie Allen High School: 599 Bellevue Ave., Santa Rosa
  • Finley Community Center: 2060 W. College Ave., Santa Rosa
  • Cook Middle School: 2480 Sebastopol Rd., Santa Rosa
  • (FULL OR CLOSED) New Vintage Church: 3300 Sonoma Avenue, Santa Rosa
  • (FULL OR CLOSED) Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building: 1351 Maple Avenue, Santa Rosa
  • Sonoma County Fairgrounds Pavillion: 1350 Bennett Valley Road
  • St. Eugene's Cathedral School/Gym: 300 Farmers Lane, Santa Rosa
  • (FULL OR CLOSED) Sebastopol Community Center: 390 Morris St., Sebastopol
  • (FULL OR CLOSED) Sebastopol Veterans Hall: 282 S. High St., Sebastopol
  • Analy High School: 6950 Analy Ave., Sebastopol
  • Hessel Church: 5060 Hessel Avenue, Sebastopol
  • St. Stephen's Episcopoal Church: 500 Robinson Road, Sebastopol
  • Adele Harrison Middle School: 1150 Broadway, Sonoma
  • (FULL OR CLOSED) Altamira Middle School: 17085 Arnold Dr., Sonoma
  • Sally Tomatoes, 1100 Valley House Drive, Rohnert Park
  • Technology Middle School, 7165 Burton Ave, Rohnert Park
  • Waldo Rohnert Elementary School, 550 Bonnie Ave., Rohnert Park
  • Burton Recreation Center/RP Community Center, 5401 Snyder Lane, Rohnert Park
  • Sonoma Valley High School: 20000 Broadway, Sonoma
  • Sonoma Raceway: 29355 Arnold Drive, Sonoma
  • Sonoma Veterans Building: 126 1st St. West, Sonoma
  • Windsor High School: 8695 Windsor Road, Windsor
  • (FULL OR CLOSED) Huerta Gymnasium: 9291 Old Redwood Highway, Windsor

Evacuation Orders in Napa CountyLatest evacuation orders at the bottom

  • Wooden Valley area
  • Montecito area
  • Old Sonoma Road to Buhman Avenue
  • Dealy Lane
  • Dry Creek Road south to Linda Vista
  • Henry Road
  • Coombsville Road
  • Wild Horse Valley Road
  • Carneros Inn
  • Partrick Road
  • Circle Oaks West to Atlas Peak
  • Soda Canyon
  • Capell Valley Road between Turtle Rock and Moskowite Corners
  • Mt. Veeder and Dry Creek roads
  • Oakville Cross, Lokoya and Wall roads
  • North of Grant Street in Calistoga
  • All of Calistoga
  • Evacuation advisory (not mandatory): East of Silverado Trail between Trancas Street and Soscol Avenue, East of Soscol Avenue between Silverado 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, North of Jameson Canyon Road between Highway 12 and the Napa/Solano County line, West of Highway 29 from Oakville Grade Road to Rutherford Road

Evacuation Centers in Napa County:

  • American Canyon High School, 3000 Newell Drive, American Canyon
  • Calistoga Fairgrounds: 1435 N. Oak St., Calistoga
  • Crosswalk Community Church: 2590 First St., Napa
  • Napa Valley College Gym: 2277 Napa Vallejo Highway, Napa

Evacuation Orders in Solano County: Latest evacuation orders at the bottom

  • All streets off of Green Valley Road north of Rockville Road
  • All streets in Green Valley Estates west of Green Valley Road
  • All streets on the west side of Green Valley Road from Mason Road to Valley End
  • All of Twin Sisters Road and roads off of Twin Sisters
  • All of Joyce Lane
  • West side of Suisun Valley Road from Napa County line south to Rockville Road
  • North of Rockville Road from Suisun Valley to Green Valey Road
  • Gordon Valley, Williams, Lambert and Clayton roads
  • Eastridge development in Fairfield under advisory evacuation

Evacuation Centers in Solano County:

  • Solano Community College: 4000 Suisun Valley Road, Fairfield
  • Alan Witt Sports Complex: 1741 W. Texas St., Fairfield

Animal Shelters Across the North Bay:

  • Napa County Animal Shelter (Small Animals): 942 Hartle Court, Napa
  • Solano Community College (Large Animals): 4000 Suisun Valley Road, Fairfield
  • Solano County Fairgrounds (Large Animals), Gate 6: 900 Fairgrounds Drive, Vallejo

Clinics in Sonoma County:

  • Russian River Health Center: 16319 3rd St., Guerneville
  • Occidental Health Center: 3802 Main St., Occidental
  • Petaluma Health Center: 1179 N. McDowell Blvd., Petaluma
  • Petaluma Health Center: 5900 State Farm Dr., 2nd Floor, Rohnert Park
  • Kaiser Rohnert Park Campus: 5900 State Farm Dr., Rohnert Park
  • Brookwood Health Center: 983 Sonoma Ave., Santa Rosa
  • Roseland Pediatrics: 711 Stony Point Rd., Santa Rosa
  • Southwest Community Health Center: 751 Lombardi Ct., Suite B, Santa Rosa
  • Sebastopol Community Health Center: 6800 Palm Ave., Sebastopol
  • Gravenstein Community Health Center: 652 Petaluma Ave., Suite H, Sebastopol

People impacted by the fires can keep an eye on Nixle to stay up to date with the latest information being issued by emergency responders. Those interested should text their zip code to 888777.


This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Animals at Safari West]]>Mon, 09 Oct 2017 12:56:20 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Animals_at_Safari_West.jpg

A 400-acre African animal preserve is safe from harm at the Safari West.]]>
<![CDATA[North Bay Inferno: Images From Wine Country’s Deadly Fires]]>Mon, 16 Oct 2017 15:15:52 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/Wednesday_Fire2.jpgMultiple fires that erupted late Sunday night across the North Bay, swept through the wine country, destroying hundreds of homes and businesses and leaving dozens of people dead.

Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)]]>
<![CDATA[Wildfires Burning Across Northern California]]>Mon, 09 Oct 2017 11:27:23 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/firephoto.png

About 10 wildfires are burning across wine country in Northern California, forcing evacuations]]>
<![CDATA[Fire Destroys Santa Rosa Mobile Home Park]]>Mon, 09 Oct 2017 09:13:03 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Mobile_Home_Park_Destroyed_by_Wildfire.jpg

A fire that ignited in Santa Rosa destroyed a mobile home park, which is situated next to a hospital. Thom Jensen reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Peninsula Crews Travel to North Bay to Fight Fires]]>Mon, 09 Oct 2017 07:59:37 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/napa+wildfire.JPG

Crews from San Mateo left early Monday to help assist in the fight against multiple fires burning in the North Bay. Kris Sanchez reports.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Body of SF Officer's Wife Returned as Gun Debate Heats Up]]>Sun, 08 Oct 2017 22:35:10 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/etcheberescort1008_335520.JPG

The body of Stacee Etecheber, who was one of 58 people killed a week ago in the Las Vegas massacre, was returned to waiting family in Novato on Sunday.

The wife of a San Francisco police officer arrived at San Francisco International Airport and was escorted by SFPD officers to a funeral home.

Meanwhile, as victims' families continue to grieve and heal, lawmakers continue to spar over gun control. The topic dominated the Sunday morning talk shows.

"Look, how many of these events to do we have to have happen with these devices before we do something about it?” Sen. Dianne Feinstein said on "Face the Nation."

Feinstein admitted no law could have stopped the attack since the gunman passed all background checks. But she, along with other gun control advocates, said there are other measures to take, such as limiting the use of bump stocks.

A bump stock allows a semi-automatic weapon to mimic an automatic weapon.

"I don’t want to do anything that violates the Constitution," said Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., "but there are common sense things we can do if Democrats and Republicans come together to reduce violence in our community."

Republican Rep. Steve Scalise, who was shot in June at a congressional baseball practice, said he stands for an unlimited right to bear arms.

"Look, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi already said she wants it to be a slippery slope. She doesn't want to stop at bump stocks," Scalise said. "They want to go out and limit the rights of gun owners."

The National Rifle Association is calling for reviews and not necessarily a ban of bump stocks. The NRA wants the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to regulate sales and for Congress to not get involved.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Brush Fire Burns 20 Acres in Napa County, Near Airport]]>Sun, 08 Oct 2017 20:42:49 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/napa+county+fire-1008.jpg

A vegetation fire in Napa County sent a huge plume of black smoke into the air Sunday, stopping traffic on Highway 29, according to Cal Fire.

The fire burned about 20 acres of brush at Green Island Road and Highway 29 and spread to an auto salvage yard, burning multiple vehicles before crews stopped its forward progress, fire officials said.

The fire was caused by a car that caught fire and went off the roadway and into the brush, fire officials said.

No injuries were reported. 

No further details were available.



Photo Credit: Napa County FD]]>
<![CDATA[Limousine Bus, Napa Valley Wine Train Collide]]>Sun, 08 Oct 2017 22:33:18 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/NapaWineTrainCollision.PNG

A limousine bus and the Napa Valley Wine Train collided on Sunday, but no injuries were reported, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The collision occurred around 12:45 p.m. next to Highway 29 near the V. Sattui Winery in St. Helena, according to the CHP.

A majority of the bus' left side was caved in and scraped, and at least four windows appeared to be smashed based on photographs taken from the scene.

Traffic along Highway 29 was not impacted by the incident, according to the CHP.

It is not yet clear what transpired before the train and bus collided.

Further information was not available.



Photo Credit: Christopher Bearman]]>
<![CDATA[Driver Accused of Striking Four Cyclists Arrested: CHP Marin]]>Sun, 08 Oct 2017 22:31:25 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/NorthBayArrestCyclists.PNG

Officers on Saturday arrested a driver who is accused of striking four cyclists on Point Reyes-Petaluma Road before fleeing the scene, according to the California Highway Patrol Marin office.

A number of tips following the hit-and-run incident earlier in the day led police to a house in Novato, according to the California Highway Patrol. The vehicle in question was spotted, and the driver, 21-year-old Aaron Paff, was taken into custody a short time later. He is facing a charge of felony hit and run causing injury, the CHP said.  


The four cyclists were riding in a charity event when they were hit and injured.

Witnesses told officials that a dark blue Dodge Ram pickup truck was traveling westbound on Point Reyes-Petaluma Road when the driver intentionally swerved to the right, striking all four cyclists. According to witnesses, the driver did not stop and quickly fled the scene.

The four men all sustained a number of injuries and were all transported to hospitals. One of the cyclists was flown to the hospital in critical condition. 



Photo Credit: CHP Marin
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA['Only in Petaluma': Alligator Escapes, Heads to Koi Pond]]>Sun, 08 Oct 2017 12:06:25 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/22219631_1527168213995842_8601285384369469175_o.jpg

Later, gator! 

A Petaluma resident on Thursday was shocked to see a three-foot alligator trying to take a dip in a koi pond.

Police were called out to the scene around 9 p.m. and an officer, identified only as Mark, was able to capture the reptile that is "quite beautiful," according to Petaluma Animal Services.

"Situations like this are almost always escaped exotic pets, which is a whole other subject, but for now — we are working on finding this guy a safe place to land," shelter officials wrote on Facebook.

The gator was taken to the Petaluma shelter and within hours, officials discovered that it had gotten loose from a wildlife facility. The reptile, named Darth Gator, has since been returned to its home. 

"Only in Petaluma, folks," shelter officials quipped.



Photo Credit: Petaluma Animal Services via Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Driver Killed After Drifting Off Road, Ramming Into Big-Rig]]>Sat, 07 Oct 2017 19:22:42 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/marincrash_327101.JPEG

A man driving a sedan died early Friday after slamming into a parked big-rig in Marin County near Larkspur, according to the California Highway Patrol. 

The deadly crash occurred just before 6 a.m. on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard near Main Street. 

"Apparently the driver was traveling at an unknown speed and for an unknown reason drifted off the road and crashed into the back of a large, parked trailer," said officer David Bruestle.

The big-rig was hauling construction equipment and was parked on the right shoulder of the road, Bruestle said. 

"According to a witness, he was travelling anywhere from 30 to 40 mph and he drifted off the road and then back into the lane and drifted back off again and ran into the back of the trailer," Bruestle said of the truck, which has a large flatbed. 

The victim, a Honduras native who was living in California, was approximately 28 years old, he said. 

The big-rig is so heavy that its driver, who was asleep inside, didn't feel the impact, according to Bruestle.

"It would have been like driving into a concrete wall," he said.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Vallejo Police Investigate Man's Shooting Death as Homicide]]>Fri, 06 Oct 2017 13:11:20 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tlmd_police_tape_lights_generic24.jpg

A Vallejo school community was shaken Friday after a confrontation between the family members of two children turned deadly.

Counselors spent the day on the Loma Vista Elementary School campus after a situation between two first-graders reportedly led to a confrontation between the kids' fathers and ended with a 51-year-old man being shot dead.

Police said officers responded to a report of a shooting in the 100 block of Kemper Street around 10:15 a.m. Thursday.

There, officers found a man suffering from a gunshot wound. Medical personnel attempted to treat the victim, however, he was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

The victim's identity is being withheld until his family has been notified. The school district is also staying mum, however, parents say they are troubled and talking to their children about how to keep emotions from getting out of hand. 

Police also did not release information about suspects.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact Vallejo police Detective Josh Caitham at 707-648-4342 or Detective Mat Mustard at 707-648-4514.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area, File image]]>
<![CDATA[Four Cyclists Injured in a Hit-and-Run in Marin County ]]>Sat, 07 Oct 2017 23:36:23 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/Marin-county-hit-and-run-cyclist.JPG

Four cyclists were injured during a hit-and-run incident on Point Reyes-Petaluma Road while riding in a charity cycling event on Saturday.

Witnesses told officials that a dark blue Dodge Ram pickup truck was traveling westbound on Point Reyes-Petaluma Road when the driver intentionally swerved to the right, striking all four cyclists. According to witnesses, the driver did not stop and quickly fled the scene.


The four men all sustained a number of injuries and were all transported to hospitals. One of the cyclists was flown to the hospital in critical condition. 

"It is a benefit for the Marin County Bicycle Coalition. If there's a single most important priority in our work, it's safety," said a cyclist at the scene, Jim Elias. "That's why an event like this is heartbreaking." 

Officials are asking the public’s help to locate the vehicle associated with the collision. The driver of the vehicle was described as a white male, between 20-35 years old with stubble facial hair and crew-cut brown hair.

Marin CHP is asking that anyone with information regarding the hit-and-run incident call dispatch at (707) 551-4100. 



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Data Breach Affects Eight Whole Foods Stores in Bay Area ]]>Fri, 06 Oct 2017 13:14:29 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-696617858.png

Heads up, Bay Area: If you shop at certain Whole Foods stores, your payment information may have been hacked.

Whole Foods officials said in September that the credit and debit card information of people who bought meals or drinks at its in-store restaurants or bars were exposed to hackers.

Eight of the 470 locations affected are in major cities in the Bay Area, including San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Clara and Walnut Creek. 

The grocer, which was recently acquired by Seattle-based online retailer Amazon.com Inc., is investigating the hack, but says it did not affect its main checkout registers or any Amazon.com shoppers.

Below is a list of local stores where customer payment information may have been compromised:

Cupertino

20955 Stevens Creek Boulevard

Tap Room, Gengi Asian Venue

Dublin 

5200 Dublin Boulevard

Tap Room, Gengi Asian Venue

Mill Valley

731 East Blithedale Avenue

Tam Tam

San Francisco

Potrero Hill:

450 Rhode Island St

Burger Venue, Coffee Bar

SoMa:

399 4th Street

Tap Room, Gengi Asian Venue

San Jose

777 The Alameda

Pizza Venue, Sushi Venue, Tap Room

Santa Clara

2732 Augustine Drive, Suite 1600

Burrito Venue, Sandwich Venue, Tap Room

Walnut Creek

2941 Ygnacio Valley Road

Tap Room, Taqueria Venue

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Las Vegas Shooting Victims With Bay Area Ties]]>Thu, 05 Oct 2017 15:47:19 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Bay_Split_Vegas.jpg]]><![CDATA[Novato Woman Killed in Las Vegas Shooting Remembered]]>Wed, 04 Oct 2017 00:38:05 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/stacee+etcheber-1002.jpg

A San Francisco police officer's wife, who was among the 58 people killed in the Las Vegas mass shooting Sunday, was being remembered Tuesday as a passionate, loving wife and mother and a talented horsewoman.

Stacee Etcheber, a stylist from Novato, had been missing since the shooting Sunday, when she and her husband, San Francisco police Officer Vinnie Etcheber, got separated in the chaos. On Tuesday, a frantic search for her ended, as she was confirmed as one of the fatalities in the mass shooting.

"When the shooting occurred, it was all about helping other people," Stacee's brother-in-law, Al Etcheber, said. "So, when my brother went out to help other folks and put her into safety and told her to run out of there, she didn’t run out of there. She ran back to help other people as well."

Stacee Etcheber was one of three Bay Area women killed in the mass shooting

Family and friends were heartbroken when they heard the news of her death. They described Stacee as a person who "lights up a room." A candlelight vigil, including a San Francisco Police Department motorcade, was held Tuesday evening at San Ramon Elementary School as the news of her tragic death touched the entire community.

"Stacee had a love for horses. She had a stall right down the block here. She shared her horses with her kids," Al Etcheber said. "She loved the outdoors. She was a vivacious, tough as nails person."

Karen Hoeflein met Stacee more than a decade ago when the two crossed paths at the Novato Horsemen, a gathering place for the equine community in Novato. When they met, neither one of them had children. Now, both have families.

"She’s just one of those people who lights up a room or an arena, however you want to look at it," Hoeflein said. "She just walks in, and she’s got her presence known. She’s just really sweet.

"Especially as a parent, these kinds of things just hit you harder because you have your own kids," Hoeflein continued. "I can’t imagine something like that happening to your family."

The San Francisco Police Officers Association has set up a GoFundMe campaign that had raised more than $97,000 as of Tuesday night.

Flanked by members of the law enforcement community Tuesday morning, Al Etcheber had a message for Stacee's two children: "We love you very much. Your dad loves you very much. You’ve also got the support of the Police Officer’s Association and the San Francisco Police Department, the community around here."

Al Etcheber left for Las Vegas immediately Monday morning to help his brother find Stacee. He said they "circled around" for her at hospitals until a sixth sense kicked in, and they checked the morgue. That's where they found her.



Photo Credit: SFPOA]]>
<![CDATA[Three Women From Bay Area Killed in Las Vegas Mass Shooting]]>Tue, 03 Oct 2017 16:49:24 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/etcheber_vo.jpg

Three women from the Bay Area were among the 59 people who were killed during the mass shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas Sunday night.

A family member on Tuesday wrote on Facebook that Novato resident Stacee Etcheber, who went missing after the gunman opened fire on thousands of concertgoers, had died. Etcheber was married to a San Francisco police officer who was also at the concert and jumped in to aid the wounded.

"It's with a heavy heart and deep sorrow, Stacee Etcheber has passed away," Al Etcheber, Stacee Etcheber's brother-in-law, wrote. "Please pray for our family during this difficult time."


Michelle Vo, a 2003 graduate of San Jose's Independence High School, was also among those killed.

The 32-year-old previously worked as an administrative assistant in Mountain View before moving to Southern California. She was described as being "a sweet soul" with a bright smile.

Later Tuesday, NBC Bay Area learned a third Bay Area woman, Denise Cohen, of San Ramon, also was killed in the shooting, according to Facebook post by the California High School Alumni Association. Cohen graduated from Cal High in 1977.  


Stacee Etcheber was instructed by her husband to run when the gunman, who was perched on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Casino and Hotel, unleashed a barrage of bullets in the direction of the open concert venue.

Stacee Etcheber's husband Vincent stayed behind to help the shooting victims, but when he later tried to find his wife, he was never able to spot her amid the chaos, according to the San Francisco Police Officers' Association. Stacee Etcheber did not have her cellphone with her during the concert, and she had handed her ID to her husband when the concert began.


San Francisco Police Chief William Scott wrote in a statement that Stacee Etcheber "was taken in a senseless act of violence" while her husband "heroically rushed to aid shooting victims."

Al Etcheber indicated that his sister-in-law, who worked as a hair stylist in Marin County, leaves behind two children.

"We will dearly miss you," Al Etcheber wrote on his Facebook post.


In addition to the 59 people who were killed during the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, 527 people were also wounded. The gunman, who has been identified as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, killed himself before officers stormed the hotel room he was staying in.

NBC Bay Area's Shawn Murphy contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Facebook, SFPOA
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Wife of SFPD Officer Missing After Las Vegas Mass Shooting]]>Tue, 03 Oct 2017 00:00:40 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/stacee+etcheber-1002.jpg

The wife of an off-duty San Francisco police officer is missing following the mass shooting Sunday night in Las Vegas, police said Monday.

A post on Facebook said that Stacee Etcheber, of Novato, is missing and that she is the wife of Vincent Etcheber, who's listed as an officer with the San Francisco Police Department's Northern Station in a station newsletter from last year.

The Facebook post by Al Etcheber, Vincent's brother, also said that after the shooting Vincent helped injured people to the hospital.

At least 59 people were killed and more than 520 were injured in the shooting at a country music festival near the Mandalay Bay casino.

Al said his brother shepherded his wife and friends to a partition or scaffolding when the shooting started. Then a woman near them was hit, and Vinnie went to help treat her and helped get her to the hospital in a pickup truck, Al said. Vinnie told Stacee and their friends to "make a run for it" when he thought it was clear.

That’s the last time he saw Stacee, Al said.

"The complication lied in the fact that his wife did not have her cellphone with her; she had left it at home, probably didn’t want to lose it," Al said. "And then, she did not have her ID on her. My brother held her ID, probably just for safe keeping."

Al Etcheber said even more concerning is the fact that Stacee knows her huband's phone number and hadn't called him yet. He also said family members were not being allowed into hospitals or triage centers Monday and had to wait for further instructions.

Despite their lack of information, the Etcheber family remained positive.

"Stacee’s tough as nails," Al said. "If anyone’s going to make it through this, it’s going to be her. And knowing her, she probably came back looking for her husband or to try and help other gunshot victims."

The San Francsico Police Officers' Association said it was sending a crew of its members down to Las Vegas to assist Vinnie in his search for his wife.

City officials did not address Etcheber's case specifically but did speak about the tragedy.

Mayor Ed Lee said in a statement, "We are sending our deepest condolences and sympathies to the hundreds of families affected by this senseless act of gun violence. Our nation needs stricter, common sense gun laws. We cannot continue to play politics with American lives."

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon also released a statement about the shooting and the country's gun laws.

"The rights of gun owners must be weighed against everyone's right to be safe from gun violence," Gascon said. "Lawmakers continue to pay deference to gun owners and the gun lobby at the expense of the public at large."

Lee said that as San Francisco visitors, residents and employees prepare to take part in upcoming civic events such as Fleet Week, police will be more present, and they will be working with state and federal authorities to keep residents safe.



Photo Credit: SFPOA]]>
<![CDATA[Fairfield PD Seek Help Identifying Man Who Beat Dog to Death]]>Sun, 01 Oct 2017 08:53:53 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/police-lights-generic-crop.jpg

Fairfield police are seeking the public's help in identifying a person suspected of beating a dog on Thursday, which later died of its injuries.

At 12:04 p.m., police received a report of an animal being abused in the alley south of the 800 block of Ohio Street. Responding officers learned from a witness that the injured dog, a tan-colored male pit bull about four years old, had already been taken to a nearby animal shelter for treatment, police said.

According to police, the witness told officers that a short time earlier three men in their 20s were standing around the dog, which was chained by its collar to a fence with only its rear legs able to touch the ground. One of the men swung a bat and struck the dog on the head.

The suspect that hit the dog was described as a black man in his 20s with a thin build.

After the attack, the suspect and the two other men got into a gold 2004 or 2005 Chevy Tahoe and fled, possibly south on Jackson Street, police said.

The witness was able to identify some of the figures of the license plate as "WB2V."

The dog suffered life-threatening injuries, from which it died the following day, police said.

Police are asking for help identifying the suspect who killed the dog, as well as the dog's owner. Anyone with information about this crime is encouraged to call Fairfield police at (707) 428-7300, CrimeStoppers at (707) 644-7867, or send a text to 888777 and begin the message with "TIP FAIRFIELDPD."

Information can be submitted anonymously.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area, File]]>
<![CDATA[2 First Responders Hurt When 2 Emergency Vehicles Collide]]>Sun, 01 Oct 2017 12:13:44 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/WEB-Vallejo-Crash-Double_232913.JPEG

Two emergency vehicles collided in Vallejo Saturday morning, sending a paramedic and a firefighter to the hospital, police said.

The crash occured near Florida Street and Sonoma Boulevard at 9:50 a.m. while an ambulance and a fire department SUV were responding to separate emergency calls, according to Vallejo police.

The collision caused major damage to both vehicles, but the two people sustained minor injuries. 

Vallejo police are investigating the crash. 

Further details were not immediately available.




Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Man, 60, Struck by Car, Killed While Crossing Vallejo Road]]>Sat, 30 Sep 2017 12:17:32 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Generic+Police+Lights+8.30.17.jpg

A pedestrian was struck and killed by a vehicle in Vallejo Friday night, police said.

The pedestrian, identified as a 60-year-old man from Vallejo, was struck while trying to cross Lewis Brown Drive, according to the Vallejo Police Department.

Officers responded Friday at 7:59 p.m. to a report of a major injury collision involving a pedestrian and a vehicle on Lewis Brown Drive east of Sonoma Boulevard.

Investigators said a 1999 Chevrolet Camaro was traveling west on Lewis Brown Drive when the vehicle struck the man.

The pedestrian suffered life-threatening injuries in the collision and was transported to the hospital, but he ultimately died from his injuries, police said.

The driver of the vehicle, identified as a 32-year-old man from Vallejo, was not injured in the collision.

Officers are investigating if drugs or alcohol played a factor in the collision.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area, File image]]>
<![CDATA[Coast Guard Employee Arrested in Child Porn Case]]>Fri, 29 Sep 2017 12:57:40 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/handcuffs-generic-on-black2.jpg

A Petaluma man who was arrested last week on suspicion of distributing child pornography on the internet is a member of the U.S. Coast Guard, a sheriff's sergeant said.

Jory Rock, 28, listed the Coast Guard as his employer on a booking log, sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Crum said.

Rock was arrested Sept. 21 at his residence on English Street after a two-month investigation, sheriff's Lt. Tim Duke said.

Detectives seized computers, digital media and hard drives, and images and videos depicting pornography involving minors were found during a forensic exam, Duke said.

Rock was booked in the Sonoma County Jail but posted bail and was released.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area, File image]]>
<![CDATA[Mom Had Meth in System After Crash that Killed Daughters]]>Sat, 30 Sep 2017 22:47:41 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/197*120/09+GettyImages-84611044+gavel.jpg

The mother of two girls killed last year when the car she was driving plunged into a Northern California river had methamphetamine in her system the day of the crash. 

A Sonoma County prosecutor said at a bail hearing Friday that 27-year-old Alejandra Hernandez-Ruiz also had been deemed a negligent driver by the state and had been drinking the day before the crash that killed her daughters, ages 7 and 9, last August.

Hernandez-Ruiz is facing charges of vehicular manslaughter, child endangerment and driving on a suspended license.

The Santa Rosa Press-Democrat reports, her attorney said there was no evidence the methamphetamine played any role in the crash.

A judge agreed to release her from jail on electronic home confinement so she could receive treatment for cervical cancer.




Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sex Offender Found in Girl's Bathroom at Elementary School]]>Fri, 29 Sep 2017 07:11:45 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sexoffendersuspect.jpg

Sonoma County sheriff's deputies arrested a registered sex offender Tuesday after he was found in the girls' bathroom of an elementary school, a sheriff's sergeant said.

Alan Brelsford, 39, was found in the bathroom by a parent and staff member of the Redwood Adventist Academy elementary school around 8:25 a.m.

Brelsford, who is registered as a sex offender in Santa Rosa, said he was watching a helicopter when he felt the need to use the bathroom, sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Crum said.

He was escorted off the school campus at 385 Mark West Springs Road north of Santa Rosa, and staff members photographed his Chevrolet pickup truck with black rims, Crum said.

Brelsford slowly drove by the school again as sheriff's deputies were taking a report on the incident. His truck was stopped and he could not provide a good explanation for why he was in the girls' bathroom or at the school, Crum said.

Deputies determined he was a registered sex offender out of Sacramento County, where he was convicted in 2006 of exposing himself and masturbating behind the fence of an all-girls private high school in Sacramento, Crum said.

Deputies arrested him for violating the terms of his registration by being on an elementary school campus without lawful business, according to Crum.

Brelsford posted bail and was released from Sonoma County Jail.

The sheriff's office released his photograph because he is deemed a threat to public safety. Anyone who sees him on school grounds is encouraged to call their local law enforcement agency, Crum said.



Photo Credit: Sonoma County Sheriff's Office]]>
<![CDATA[School Responds Quickly to Graffiti Threatening a Shooting]]>Thu, 28 Sep 2017 23:04:11 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/RW+high+threat-0928.jpg

A North Bay high school received a second threat of violence in as many weeks, and school officials responded by beefing up security on the campus.

At Redwood High School in Larkspur, students found graffiti in one of the restrooms saying there would be a shooting at the school Friday. The school immediately called police and notified parents there would be officers on campus all day.

Principal David Sondheim said the threat is under investigation, and classes will be in session. He addressed the issue in a letter to parents Thursday, saying in part:

"School will be in session tomorrow on a normal Friday schedule. We will be taking steps tomorrow to make sure all students are safe. Central Marin Police Officers will be on campus all day tomorrow, administrators and campus assistants will be in the hallways all day, and extra personnel from our District Office will be on campus to ensure the safety of all students and staff."

On Sept. 19, officials evacuated the school after a bomb threat.



Photo Credit: Redwood High School]]>
<![CDATA[Paramount Pictures Painted Over A Beloved Vallejo Mural]]>Thu, 28 Sep 2017 20:20:55 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Vallejo+Rising.jpg

Alvaro Garcia was sitting with his wife, Helen, in their Vallejo home on the morning of Sept. 9, drinking coffee as the couple prepared to head off to work. Mid-conversation, Helen, who had been absentmindedly thumbing through news on her phone, went quiet. A headline caught her eye.

"Isn’t this your mural?" she asked her husband. Eyes wide, she handed her phone over to Garcia, urging him to take a look.

A headline on the web page of the Vallejo Times-Herald, the local newspaper, read: "Painted over mural in downtown Vallejo causes anger, sadness." The article was about the repainting of a mural on the side of a building at 401 Georgia Street. Garcia, a high school Spanish teacher and artist, completed the large-scale artwork over the course of four months in 2012.

Gobsmacked, the muralist scanned the news article, trying to piece together what happened, who painted over it, and why he hadn’t been notified.

"I remember being shocked," Garcia said. "I really couldn’t believe it. I thought, who would do that, knowing what the mural was about? Without telling me?"

Titled "Vallejo Rising," the mural was commissioned shortly after the city had filed for bankruptcy, at what was arguably the nadir of civic pride. Its meanings were myriad; at once, it was about the city coming to grips with its embattled past and keeping hope alive for a more prosperous future.

Speaking with evident pride, Garcia referred to his work as "diamond with many facets," about his city struggling to "rise up from the ashes." In the center of the wall, he painstakingly drew a massive Lotus flower — flora known for blooming even in untenable conditions. Just above that was a fiery, orange Phoenix, gearing up to spread its wings. Off to the right side were beloved community members who died at an early age, including a former student of Garcia's. 

Paramount Pictures, in town shooting the Transformers spin-off "Bumblebee," had gotten permission from the owner of the building to paint over "Vallejo Rising," with the promise that necessary repairs would be done in exchange. In a matter of hours, the mural — a bright work covered in saturated reds and blues — was totally obscured by a thick layer of beige paint. Aside from the owner, no one involved in the mural’s creation was notified in advance.

 

It wasn’t just Garcia who was caught off guard by the development. Community outrage came fast and furious. The city’s mayor, Bob Sampayan, said he "gasped" when he first found out what happened. Champaygne Tafoya, whose son died tragically and was one of the young people depicted in the mural, scrambled to Georgia street during her lunch break to see if the rumors were true.

"It felt like losing a piece of him again," she said. "I broke down, and I cried. When they put the mural up, I thought he would be there forever." 

Over the next few weeks, Paramount, which declined to comment for this story, would try to mitigate the damage. The studio took great lengths to apologize to Tafoya specifically, even arranging for her children to visit the set to take photos as filming wrapped. Garcia says he tagged along and met briefly with the crew. 

Sampayan said he talked with Paramount Pictures and described the studio’s remorse as authentic. They are, he said, "good neighbors."

"They’ve said ‘yes, we erred, it’s our fault, we feel really bad, and we’ll pay for it," Sampayan said. "I’ve talked to everyone all the way up to the executive director, and everyone has said they’ll make good on this."

But three weeks out, with shooting wrapped up, Garcia feels that apologies and agreements for a new mural haven’t been enough. He says Paramount never reached out to him directly and didn’t give him space to explain to producers what the crew had painted over — a conversation he admitted would be lengthy. But good neighbors, he said, would take those steps.

He also hasn’t received any guarantees that he will be selected to design the replacement mural, should it ever come to fruition.

Frankly, he says, he has was sidestepped in the conversation, while Paramount focused on superficial photo ops and damage control, and news media focused on the account of Tafoya. 

"I feel like my mural was hijacked," he said. "People have been focusing on one aspect of it, without looking at the broader picture of what that mural represents in our city's history." 

And, as more film crews descend on Vallejo, he is left wondering what will become of the city he calls home. It's hard for him to ignore the irony of a visiting Hollywood film crew painting over a mural about maintaining cultural heritage and local pride. 

"The disappointment, the frustration, and the anger have not gone away," he said. "What about my intellectual property? What about the memory of the people I walked alongside, who entrusted me to tell their stories? What about a town that entrusted me to do it in a dignified manner?" 

There are currently no guidelines in the city’s municipal code that specifically address public art in relation to film or television production. However, Sampayan said that the city is committed to safeguarding cultural heritage and credits the mural fiasco with jump-starting a conversation about protecting public art. In addition to finding a new place for a mural, he is directing city staff to come up with more rigorous stipulations for visiting film crews. 

"This is brand new for us," Sampayan said, referring to Hollywood’s growing interest in Vallejo. "We’re going to be looking at the whole gamut." 

For Garcia, a consolation has been the community support. He said having his work appreciated and understood, even in hindsight, is a gift. He remembers painting the mural in the empty downtown area late at night, wishing that it would bring hope to a city that, at the time, seemingly had very little of it. Times are better now, he said. If he can paint a new mural, he would want it to illustrate that growth.

"It has been an incredibly validating experience to realize that the community felt that way," he said. "Every artist wants to have the opportunity to create something this large, but they also wish, more than anything else, to endow it with emotions that allow it to connect with the community in a powerful way." 

"I feel like I did that," he continued.

But he’s still waiting for a call from Paramount.



Photo Credit: Google Images]]>
<![CDATA[Crew Leaving Travis Air Force Base to Aid Puerto Rico]]>Wed, 27 Sep 2017 07:24:32 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Capture275.JPG

A crew on Wednesday is slated to depart from Travis Air Force Base in Solano County for storm-ravaged Puerto Rico to provide relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

The crew will pick up a generator in North Carolina and fly it to San Juan, Puerto Rico, to power air traffic control systems, which would allow for military and civilian flights to get on and off of the island "a lot faster," according tp Cap. Lyndsey Horn, the Chief of Public Affairs at Travis Air Force Base.

Large portions of the island, which is inhabited by 3.4 million U.S. citizens, continue to remain without sufficient food, water and fuel after the category 4 storm walloped the territory last week. Officials said electrical power may not be fully restored for more than a month.

The Trump administration said it was sending a number of ships and thousands more military personnel to Puerto Rico to address the growing humanitarian crisis. Critics and storm victims have complained that the federal response to the territory has been insufficient.

The administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Brock Long, said Tuesday the devastation wrought by the Category 4 storm presented logistical challenges, with badly damaged airports and seaports making it difficult to get aid and personnel to the stricken island.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[8 Injured After Truck Careens Off Hwy. 101 in Mill Valley]]>Tue, 26 Sep 2017 20:39:10 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/mill+valley+crash-0926.jpg

At least eight people were injured, two critically, Tuesday afternoon after a pickup truck veered off Highway 101 in Mill Valley and crashed into multiple vehicles in a parking lot, according to the California Highway Patrol.

About 2:25 p.m., the GMC Sierra pickup careened off the freeway, crossed Redwood Highway and smashed into six parked vehicles at an In-N-Out parking lot in the Strawberry Village Shopping Center, the CHP said.

Two people suffered critical injuries and were taken to a hospital. One of those was the driver of the pickup, who apparently suffered a medical episode, the CHP said. The other critically injured person was a pregnant woman inside one of the vehicles that was struck in the parking lot.

Later Tuesday, the family of the pregnant woman told the CHP the woman and the baby were doing fine. The driver also was recovering, the CHP said.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Arrested on Suspicion of Sending Lewd Material to Boy]]>Fri, 29 Sep 2017 16:01:56 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/handcuffs-generic-on-black2.jpg

Rohnert Park public safety officers today arrested a woman on suspicion of sending lewd material to a boy in Arkansas and possession of child pornography.

Ashley Zimmer, 21, was arrested after the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety was contacted by the Saline County Sheriff's Office in Arkansas.

The mother of a 12-year-old boy found nude photos of an adult on her son's phone and she determined they were from a Rohnert Park resident after comparing pictures on different social media accounts, public safety officials said.

The Saline County Sheriff's Office provided details to Rohnert Park detectives after interviewing the boy Tuesday. Detectives then obtained search and arrest warrants and took Zimmer into custody today.

Zimmer allegedly met the boy on Xbox Live in mid-August, and she and the boy began exchanging photos on social media. Zimmer told investigators she thought the boy was 14 years old because that was the age he gave on his profile, public safety officials said.

Zimmer told investigators she has worked at YMCA programs at Richard Crane Elementary School in Rohnert Park and Penngrove Elementary School in Penngrove, according to the Department of Public Safety.

Crane Elementary School principal Teresa Ruffoni said this afternoon that Zimmer is not an employee of the Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District.

Zimmer denied any illegal conduct with children in the YMCA programs, and there is no evidence other children are at risk based on an interview with Zimmer and information obtained through the search warrant, public safety officials said. The evidence will be examined to determine if other crimes or victims exist.

Zimmer also provided babysitting services for young children through www.care.com, but public safety officials said they does not believe there are any victims as a result of the babysitting service.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Teen Injures Spinal Cord Diving at Beach Near Bodega Bay]]>Mon, 25 Sep 2017 11:58:48 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/Generic+Beach+Generic+Marconi+Beach.png

A Santa Rosa boy fractured his spinal cord when he dove into shallow ocean water at Pinnacle Gulch Beach near Bodega Bay Sunday afternoon, a Sonoma County sheriff's sergeant said.

The teen was wading in the ocean with three friends when he dove head first over an incoming wave around 4:15 p.m., sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Crum.

The water behind the wave was shallower than the boy thought, and he injured his neck and spinal cord when his head struck the bottom of the ocean, Crum said.

Friends and bystanders pulled the boy out of the water. The boy lost feeling in the lower part of his body and was unable to move, Crum said.

He was treated at the scene for a spinal cord injury and was then flown by the sheriff's helicopter to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, where he was diagnosed with a fracture in his spinal cord, Crum said.



Photo Credit: NECN]]>
<![CDATA[3 Homes Destroyed in Small Wildfire Near Vacaville]]>Sat, 23 Sep 2017 16:19:21 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/9-23-17_Vacaville_Fire.JPG

Authorities say three homes and several other structures were destroyed in a small wildfire near Vacaville in Northern California.

The California Department of Fire and Forestry says the wind-driven fire was reported shortly after 11 a.m. Saturday and quickly grew to 55 acres.

Department spokeswoman Lynne Tolmachoff says the fire on the edge of a subdivision destroyed three homes, numerous outbuildings and two RV's.

The area north of Vacaville, a city 30 miles southwest of Sacramento, was under a red flag warning of fire weather conditions, including up to 30 mph wind gusts.

The fire is 65 percent contained. Its cause is under investigation.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: Solano County Sheriff's Department]]>
<![CDATA[Rohnert: Juvenile Who Held Teen Girl at Knifepoint Arrested]]>Thu, 28 Sep 2017 15:26:43 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/handcuffs-generic-on-black2.jpg

Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety officers arrested a juvenile suspected of breaking into a home Wednesday and holding another teen at knifepoint.

At about 7 p.m., public safety officials received a 911 call from a 17-year-old girl who lives on Meadow Pines Avenue. The girl, who was home alone, reported that someone was trying to break into her house, public safety officials said.

When her doorbell rang, she refused to answer the door because she did not recognize the male suspect, who then began walking around the outside of the house, public safety officials said.

The girl locked herself in an upstairs bathroom and told a dispatcher that she heard the suspect enter the house and walking around downstairs.

Out of fear of being found, the girl did not talk and instead pressed buttons on the phone to communicate with the dispatcher as officers were responding, public safety officials said.

Three minutes after the initial 911 call was received, the girl pressed a button on the phone to indicate to the dispatcher that the suspect

was upstairs. That's when the girl stopped responding and the dispatcher heard her crying and then scream. The phone was then disconnected, public

safety officials said.

According to public safety officials, that's when the suspect kicked open the bathroom door and pulled a large hunting knife on the girl.

He allegedly cornered her at knifepoint and took her phone when she told him she had called the police.

Officers surrounded and entered the house and the suspect allegedly tried to run. He was taken into custody and identified as a 17-year-old Rohnert Park resident who did not know the victim.

Officers determined that the suspect used a ladder to enter the house and climb in through an open window after removing the screen. He was carrying a backpack that had items from the home, public safety officials said.

The victim was not injured, although she was shaken.

The suspect was booked into Sonoma County Juvenile Hall on suspicion of home invasion, robbery, burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, false imprisonment and possessing stolen property.

The name of the suspect is not being released because he is a minor.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[1 Man Dead, Another on Life Support After North Bay Shooting]]>Sat, 23 Sep 2017 13:18:37 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/9232017-sonomacountyhomicide.jpg

Deputies are investigating a shooting in Forestville, a census-designated place in Sonoma County, that left one man dead and another gravely wounded Friday night, sheriff's officials said.

Around 6:40 p.m., Sonoma County sheriff's deputies and the Henry One helicopter responded to a call about a shooting at River Road and Trenton Healdsburg Road, Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Crum said.

Helicopter crew members spotted two men down, Crum said. One was dead and the other had life-threatening injuries. The helicopter flew the injured man to the hospital, where he is on life support and not expected to survive, Crum said.

Both men are in their 40s, Crum said. Their names aren't being released at present because their families haven't been told yet.

There is a marijuana grow near the place where the shooting took place and the sheriff's office suspects the deaths were marijuana-related, Crum said.

Detectives have been working through the night and into this morning to figure out what happened and identify a suspect, Crum said.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[High School in Larkspur Safely Evacuated After Bomb Threat]]>Tue, 19 Sep 2017 09:32:11 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/NBC+Bay+Area+Breaking+News+Image31.png

Redwood High School in Larkspur was safely evacuated on Tuesday after the school reported a bomb threat, according to the school's Twitter account.

After the threat was reported, school and law enforcement officials announced that 1,900 students were "calmly leaving" classrooms and assembling at a safe location.

Students were not released until the entire school was evacuated, the Marin County Sheriff's Office tweeted.

Authorities advised that no injuries were reported. 

Further information was not available. 

Stay tuned for details.

]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Freeway Traffic Continues to Worsen: MTC]]>Tue, 19 Sep 2017 06:04:42 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Traffic+Generic2.jpg

No surprise for Bay Area commuters: traffic is getting worse.

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission found that weekday traffic congestion across the region jumped 80 percent between 2010 and 2016. Back in 2010, commuters on average spent 1.9 minutes daily driving at freeway speeds below 35 mph. Fast forward six years and that number climbed to 3.5 minutes per commuter, marking the fourth-straight year that the statistic has increased.

The top three busiest roadways in the Bay Area did not change between 2015 and 2016, according to the MTC, but significant shifts were recorded on several other freeway segments.

Here is the top 10 list for Bay Area freeway locations with the worst delays in 2016:

1. Northbound Highway 101/Eastbound Interstate 80 from San Francisco to Treasure Island during the evening commute hours (No. 1 worst traffic congestion area in 2015)

2. Westbound Interstate 80 from Highway 4 through Berkeley and across the Bay Bridge at all times of day (No. 2 worst traffic congestion area in 2015)

3. Southbound Highway 101 from Mountain View to San Jose during the evening commute hours (No. 3 worst traffic congestion area in 2015)

4. Northbound Interstate 680 from Fremont to Sunol during the evening commute hours (No. 6 worst traffic congestion area in 2015)

5. Northbound Interstate 880 from Fremont to Hayward during the evening commute hours (No. 8 worst traffic congestion area in 2015)

6. Soutbound Interstate 280 from Cupertino to San Jose during the evening commute hours (No. 12 worst traffic congestion area in 2015)

7. Eastbound Interstate 80 from Oakland to Berkeley during the evening commute hours (No. 4 worst traffic congestion area in 2015)

8. Northbound Interstate 680 from San Ramon to Concord during the evening commute hours (No. 11 worst traffic congestion area in 2015)

9. Eastbound Highway 24 from Oakland to Walnut Creek during the evening commute hours (No. 10 worst traffic congestion area in 2015)

10. Eastbound Highway 4 from Martinez to Concord during the evening commute hours (No. 16 worst traffic congestion area in 2015)



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Missing 12-Year-Old Boy in Suisun City Found Safe]]>Mon, 18 Sep 2017 23:59:38 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/missing+boy-0918.jpg

Suisun City police said early Tuesday morning that a 12-year-old boy that was reported missing Monday afternoon has been found safe and returned to his family.

Officer Joe Elliott said that Abram Rodriguez was found at 6:53 p.m. Monday near his home. Elliott said that Rodriguez told officers when he was found that he was hiding in the home when police originally searched it.

However, Elliott said police believe the boy was hiding somewhere near his home during the search.

Rodriguez went missing around 5 p.m. Monday after he allegedly ran away from his home, according to police.



Photo Credit: Suisun City PD]]>
<![CDATA[Vallejo Pastor Gets 24-Year Sentence for Bilking Congregants]]>Sun, 17 Sep 2017 15:44:44 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Jail-Generic-Photo1.jpg

A San Francisco Bay Area pastor who defrauded members of his congregation out of a million dollars in investments has been sentenced to nearly 24 years in prison.

In announcing the sentencing Friday, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra called the case against Pastor Luther Feltus-Curry "despicable."

Feltus-Curry was convicted in February of felony theft and securities fraud.

Prosecutors said the 69-year-old pastor devised a fake investment scheme to bilk congregants at his Revival Center Ministries in Vallejo.

He and a co-conspirator, Alma Perez, created shell companies and promised their victims low risk and high returns.

Instead they used the money for personal expenses and get-rich-quick schemes, ultimately defrauding the victims of their whole investment.

The East Bay Times says Perez was sentenced to 10 years in prison earlier this year.



Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area, File image]]>
<![CDATA[Hildebrand Returns to Bay Area for Sonoma Race]]>Tue, 12 Sep 2017 20:08:53 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Hildebrand_Returns_to_Bay_Area_for_Sonoma_Race.jpg

J.R. Hildebrand is one smart guy. The Sausalito native is an adjunct lecturer in Stanford's vehicular dynamics program. He's also one of the best Indy car drivers in the world who came to a fork in the road a dozen years ago. Colin Resch reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Father, Son Killed After Small Plane Crashes in Benicia]]>Mon, 11 Sep 2017 08:05:43 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/FileSmallPlane.jpg

A father and his son were killed after their small plane went down in Benicia, the Solano County Sheriff's Department announced Sunday.

The single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza aircraft crashed in the area of the 2200 block of Lake Herman Road, according to authorities.

The 67-year-old pilot and his 43-year-old son had departed Buchanan Field Airport in Concord before the crash, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. They were slated to travel to the Arcata-Eureka Airport in Humboldt County.

An investigation by the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board is ongoing.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Record Heat Hit California Wine Regions Around Harvest Time]]>Mon, 11 Sep 2017 08:13:29 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/WineGrapesGeneric.jpg

The record head that baked Northern California over the Labor Day weekend left wine grapes shriveling on the vines, reducing many of them to raisins before the normal harvest and turning what was looking to be a promising vintage into a year that looks more uncertain.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports three straight days of triple-digit temperatures dehydrated the wine grapes, sometimes causing some vines' entire metabolic process to shut down.

Although September heat waves are not uncommon for California wine regions, it was nearly unprecedented to have one this early and close to the point of ripeness for certain wine grape varieties.

Winemakers said they'll have to put grapes that taste overripe into a lower quality, less expensive wine blend.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[One Dead After Double Stabbing in Downtown Petaluma: Police]]>Sun, 10 Sep 2017 23:28:46 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/police-lights-generic-080615.jpg

One person was killed after a double stabbing in downtown Petaluma early Sunday, according to police, and officers are asking for the public's help to find the suspect.

The stabbing was reported along the 100 block of Kentucky Street around 1:45 a.m., a time when many bars and nightclubs were closing up shop, according to police.

One victim, who was found along a pedestrian walkway, was transported to the hospital, but was later pronounced dead, police said.

The other victim was treated at the scene and taken to the police department for questioning, according to police.

Officers said the suspect might have ran to the Keller Street Parking Garage and possibly hopped escaped in a getaway car, but officers are still trying to gather more information.

It is not clear if the victims knew the suspect, police said.

Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to contact Detective Walk Spiller at 707-778-4372.



Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Remembers 9/11 Victims 16 Years Later]]>Mon, 11 Sep 2017 08:05:46 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/9-11-17_SFFD_Salute.jpg

Monday marks the 16th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, the deadliest such attacks on American soil.

Residents and emergency personnel across the Bay Area on Monday are taking time out of their days to remember the nearly 3,000 lives lost.

In the East Bay, a somber mood was felt as people paid their respects to those who died after United Airlines Flight 93, which was bound for San Francisco, crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The passengers on that flight — several with Bay Area ties — are known for fighting back against the hijackers, who were believed to have plans to fly the plane into the U.S. Capitol.


Across the bay, firefighters in San Francisco gathered at Station 7 and the other 43 stations across the city by the bay just after sunrise to pay their respects to fellow first responders and civilians during a bell-ringing ceremony. Fire crews also lowered the American flag to half-staff and read the names of the 343 New York City firefighters killed trying to save others from the World Trade Center.

Even as the years pass by, Lt. Jonathan Baxter with the San Francisco Fire Department noted that the annual ceremonies must not be forgotten.

"It's a very important reminder that you can't just teach, you have to show, and if we take this lightly and we don't remember it, I think that would send a negative message to not only our community but most importantly our youth," he said.


In San Jose, firefighters at Station 1 held a moment of silence followed by the ringing of a bell to mark the moment when the North Tower of the World Trade Center was struck by the first hijacked airplane.

Other 9/11 memorial events were scheduled in Alameda at the USS Hornet at 10 a.m. and in Danville at 5:30 p.m. at Oak Hill Park.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Brief Heat Spell Brings Hot Weather Back to Bay Area]]>Sun, 10 Sep 2017 23:25:34 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Sun_Heat_Generic_Hot_car.jpg

A brief heat spell is expected to blanket most of the Bay Area with warm to sizzling temperatures Sunday.

Inland valleys are forecasted to creep above the 100-degree threshold, according to weather officials. Temperatures around the bay are expected to check in around the high 80s in the East Bay to low 90s along the Peninsula and in the South Bay. San Francisco is expected to hover around an unusual 85 degrees.

For those seeking relief, Half Moon Bay appears to be the coolest spot around. The coastal city is expected to max out around 75 degrees. 

The sweltering conditions did not prompt any heat advisories or warnings for the Bay Area's nine counties, according to the National Weather Service.

The brief spell of hot temperatures comes one week after a lengthy heat wave set temperature records across the region, including an all-time high of 106 degrees in downtown San Francisco.

The latest round of heat is expected to dissipate by the start of the workweek, but portions of the Bay Area won't escape unusual weather right away. The South Bay could see isolated shower and thunder chances on Monday and Tuesday, according to the NWS.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Pilot Killed in Crash Near Bolinas Had Fled Hurricane Harvey]]>Sun, 10 Sep 2017 07:48:30 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/9-8-17-missing-plane-search.jpg

The wife of a pilot killed in a crash in Marin County said her husband had recently fled his home in Houston after it was damaged by Hurricane Harvey.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports a search crew found 58-year-old John R. Wilson Friday in his wrecked Cessna 172 at Point Reyes National Seashore. The oil and gas industry consultant was flying from Santa Barbara County to Santa Rosa for a business trip, and he was reported overdue Thursday afternoon.

Wilson's wife, Christine, said her husband splits his time between Austria, Santa Barbara and Houston. She said he left Houston to stay at the couple's property in Santa Barbara after the hurricane flooded their basement.

She said he received his pilot license a few weeks ago.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Retiring Sonoma Firefighter Leaves Legacy of Lifesaving]]>Sat, 09 Sep 2017 18:56:21 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Paganini+on+truck.jpg

It’s almost as if Jeff Paganini was born and raised on the back of a fire engine. At the age of 58 he’s spent more than 40 of them putting out fires and saving lives with the Sonoma Fire Department.

So now that he’s retiring from the profession he’s known since he was 17 years old, firefighters around the Bay Area are paying tribute to a fireman’s fireman who left his mark on generations of firefighters.

“I think he’s pretty much responsible for thousands of people’s lives being saved,” said Lieutenant Jonathan Baxter, a San Francisco firefighter who worked under Paganini in the Sonoma Fire Department.

Paganini was 17 when his mother signed a permission slip allowing him to become a volunteer firefighter. He served with Cal Fire for a time. But he spent the majority of his career with the Sonoma Fire Department, the city where he grew up — taking inspiration from a neighborhood full of volunteer firefighters.

He recalled the chief who hired him giving him an edict: “‘Promise me one thing,” Paganini remembered him saying. “‘All I ask is you leave this place a little better than when you got here.”

And in retirement Paganini is leaving plenty. He founded the Sonoma County Fire Department museum, designed the department’s training tower and founded a local chapter of the Every 15 Minutes campaign focused on deterring high school students from drinking and driving.

“Is that part of his job description? No. He saw a need and he filled it,” said fellow Sonoma Firefighter Jim Cominsky. “And since it was accepted and took on we have not had a fatality vehicle accident involving alcohol in high school kids.”

Paganini said the founding of the fire department’s history museum sits at the top of his list of proudest accomplishments. Inside a former store room, fire engines from the early days of the department are flanked by displays of old badges and uniforms. He showed off the city’s 1889 water tender which holds the distinction of being the only fire apparatus anyone knows of that actually pumped wine on a fire.

“It ended up putting the fire out and saving the plaza,” Paganini said with a chuckle.

Paganini paced through the museum, eyeing the vintage vehicles — some of which were still in use when he joined the department. He said once word of the new museum began to spread, people started turning-up with vintage department treasures. The Benicia Fire Department discovered a box of original Sonoma Fire Department uniforms in a storage room. Paganini lit up as the museum filled with the past.

“His passion was creating something, a historical thing” said his son Nick Paganini, now a San Francisco Firefighter, “to not lose memory of how it started.”


The elder Paganini said young firefighters entering the department should know its long history — the sense of where it came from and how things came to be before trucks were outfitted with GPS and computers.

“When I came to work we used pencils and paper to write a reports, and use a map book,” he said. “And now there’s computers in the engine and everything."

But retirement won’t come easy for a man used to slipping into his fire fighting gear in under a minute, or riding down the street with sirens wailing. Even now, the sound of a radio call to his unit stops him mid-sentence. And the wail of a siren gives him an adrenalin rush.

“It’s tough because I live a few blocks away,” Paganini said, “and I hear the siren and the engine leaving the station.”

But the veteran firefighter won’t be slipping into the easy-chair just yet. Even after retiring he’s re-enlisted as a volunteer, with the intention of easing out of the business gently.

“I just don’t see me sitting in a chair in front of the TV,” he said, pulling down the museum door.



Photo Credit: Joe Rosato Jr./NBC Bay Area
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Man Accused of Stealing Starbucks Tip Money Twice in 2 Weeks]]>Sat, 09 Sep 2017 14:39:37 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/starbucks-GettyImages-57419124.jpg

Petaluma police are looking for a suspect who allegedly stole tip money from Starbucks employees on two separate occasions and also attempted to steal a deposit bag that was near the register on Aug. 28.

Police said the suspect is wanted for stealing money from a tip jar on Aug. 16 at a Starbucks on 701 Sonoma Mountain Parkway in Petaluma and then doing it again during a second theft at the same location on Aug. 28.

Petaluma Police Sgt. Rick Cox said the suspect also tried to take a deposit bag during the second theft, but an employee told him that the bag wasn't his. Cox said the suspect handed the deposit bag back to staff and fled from the store on foot.

Starbucks staff confirmed he was the same person from the previous theft.

Video surveillance from the coffee shop, police said, identified the suspect as being in his late teens or 20s. At the time of the crime, he was wearing a red T-shirt, beige pants and holding a gray sweatshirt. Police said the suspect might have a flower tattoo on his right wrist.

Anyone with information on the case should call Petaluma police officer Kim Mota at (707) 781-1243.



Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Small Plane Crashes Near Bolinas, Killing Pilot]]>Fri, 08 Sep 2017 18:18:29 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/9-8-17-missing-plane-search.jpg

A small plane crashed at the southern end of Point Reyes National Seashore, killing the pilot, a spokesman said.

A signal was transmitted from an emergency locator transmitter to the U.S. Coast Guard around 1 p.m. Thursday, according to John Dell'Osso. 

A signal from another transmitter was received from the south end of the Point Reyes National Seashore in the Bolinas area, and 20 to 30 people searched on land until 3 a.m. Friday, Dell'Osso said.

The land search resumed around 8 a.m., he said.

The plane was found just before 1 p.m. and the pilot was declared deceased at the scene.

The Marin County Sheriff's Office's Search and Rescue Team, Bolinas Fire Department, Marin County Fire, Napa County Search and Rescue, National Park Service, Bay Area Mountain Rescue Unit, California Highway Patrol and Civil Air Patrol contributed to the search, Dell'Osso said.

An ELT transmitter is designed to send a signal when there is a significant impact, California Highway Patrol's Golden Gate Air Operations Unit Sgt. Rich Bookbinder said.

The cause of the crash is under investigation, officials said.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Doe, Fawn Shot Dead by Tiburon Man For Eating Plants: PD]]>Wed, 06 Sep 2017 19:11:31 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/pelletguntiburon.JPG

Frustrated with a doe and her fawn for eating his decorative plants, a Tiburon man shot and killed the animals last weekend, police said.

Tiburon police responded to a report of a man acting strangely on the 2300 block of Mar East Street around 5:20 a.m. Saturday. There, officers found the two fatally injured deer. 

Officers arrested Mark Dickinson, 54, after they determined he shot the deer several times with a high-powered pellet gun with scope, laser and flashlight attachment, according to chief Michael Cronin. 

"He said he was sick of the deer eating his expensive landscaping," Tiburon police Sgt. Steve Hahn told the Marin Humane Society, who wrote about the animals' death on Facebook.

They continued: "This tragic incident serves as a reminder that we promote the respect of wild animals through peaceful coexistence. There are many ways to protect your yard from deer, whether it's by building appropriate fencing or planting deer-resistant shrubs, trees, and plants."


However,  Dickinson's lawyer Charles Dresow said the killing was an accident.

"My client did not intend to harm the animals," Dresow said. "The public outrage related to these allegations is driven by the inflammatory claims of the Tiburon Police Department which haven't been proven in Court."

Dickinson was taken into custody and booked at the Marin County Jail, police said. He faces charges of felony animal cruelty, but has since posted bail. The case against him is pending at the Marin County District Attorney's Office.

The Marin County Humane Society was called to dispose of the deer and the agency is urging prosecutors to file charges.

Society spokeswoman Lisa Bosch said the deer suffered a long and painful death. 

"It was a momma doe and her daughter and they weren't menacing anyone," Bosch said. "Using violence is something that is upsetting to people. We are certainly disturbed."

Thousands of negative comments have been posted on several social media sites, including Facebook and the Tiburon section of the web site NextDoor calling for prosecutors to charge Dickinson.

Tiburon is one of the wealthiest enclaves in the county. The median household income is $130,000 and the median home price is $2.3 million. 

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: Tiburon Police Department
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Visiting Muir Woods Will Require Reservation in 2018]]>Sat, 09 Sep 2017 19:24:25 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/179*120/Muir-Woods-National-Monument.jpg

Visiting Muir Woods National Monument in Mill Valley is about to get a little harder.

Large crowds and overwhelming traffic have led officials to start capping visitors in 2018. Anyone hoping to visit the popular destination will now be required to have a reservation to park a vehicle or ride a shuttle bus into the park.

The only way to avoid having to make a reservation in advance is by hiking your way in.

The new system expects the daily parking reservations to vary based on the season – approximately 500 spaces in the low season and 900 in the peak. The park is also expecting an estimated 100,000 shuttle reservations per year, the SF Gate reports.

Although reservations will not be implemented until next year, park officials are hoping to spread the news so people can become aware of how to plan their visits.




Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Father, Son Injured When Car Backs Over Them Near Petaluma]]>Wed, 06 Sep 2017 13:21:50 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/000ggdgdcms1.jpg

A father and his 3-year-old son were injured Wednesday morning when a vehicle backed over them near Petaluma, according to the California Highway Patrol.

CHP officers responded at about 10:40 a.m. to Emerald Drive just west of Petaluma on a report of a collision involving a vehicle and pedestrian.

An investigation determined that the father was holding his young son when the vehicle backed over them, according to the CHP.

Both the father and son were taken to Petaluma Valley Hospital and the boy was then flown to UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland with moderate to major injuries, CHP officials said.

CHP Officer Jonathan Sloat said more information about the collision was not immediately available.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ceremony for Transit Facility Opening in Novato]]>Wed, 06 Sep 2017 09:00:45 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Ceremony_for_Transit_Facility_Opening_in_Novato.jpg

A new transit facility is opening in Novato on Wednesday. The facility is located on Redwood Boulevard between Grant and Delong. Officials say this is the culmination of work to make the bus stop safer and more efficient.]]>
<![CDATA[Novato Middle School Student Arrested for Making Threat: PD]]>Wed, 06 Sep 2017 08:47:55 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Generic+Lockers+Generic+School+Generic.JPG

A 12-year-old boy was arrested Tuesday for making a threat against students and staff at a Novato middle school, according to police.

The threat, which was reported at Sinaloa Middle School in the North Bay city, has resulted in the boy's suspension, police said.

Investigators went to the student's home after learning that he was behind the threat. A search of the student's home revealed "several" replica firearms.

Police said they "thoroughly investigated" the threat and believe "there is no further danger to the students or staff."

Officers will conduct additional patrols around the school on Wednesday to make sure the community feels safe, police said.

Sinaloa Middle School Principal Jim Larsen said in addition to a locker search, neveral notification were sent to families.

A motive is unclear, but parents said they are glad swift action was taken. An investigation is ongoing.



Photo Credit: NBC Boston]]>
<![CDATA[Woman, Husband, Son Accused in Her Lover's Killing]]>Thu, 07 Sep 2017 07:13:13 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/police-lights-generic-crop.jpg

Authorities in Northern California say a woman, her husband and her son are accused of killing her lover after the men discovered the affair.

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports detectives suspect 25-year-old Antonio Botello-Arreola was shot to death over the weekend by the Lake County family. His body was found near an abandoned van.

Officials say 40-year-old Maria Torres arranged to have her husband and son follow them as they drove to a pullout outside Santa Rosa. After Torres exited the car, her husband and her son pulled up in another vehicle and someone began to shoot at Botello-Arreola.

Sonoma County deputies connected Torres to the shooting after finding evidence from a motel in the van and identifying her through check-in information and surveillance video.

Torres, her 40-year-old husband and 20-year-old son are scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday on suspicion of murder and conspiracy charges.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area, File]]>
<![CDATA[Medfly Found in Area of South Fairfield]]>Wed, 06 Sep 2017 07:20:49 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/MedFly+AP.jpg

An adult Mediterranean fruit fly was found late last week near the Tolenas area of south Fairfield and Suisun City, according to the Solano County Agricultural Commissioner's Office.

The Mediterranean fruit fly, or medfly, was found in an insect trap baited with lures to attract it, and its discovery triggered an extensive survey and the placement of 1,095 additional insect traps covering 81 square miles, agricultural officials said.

The traps have been checked and no additional medflies were found.

The medfly can infest more than 250 types of fruits and vegetables, impacting agricultural imports and backyard gardens.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture verified the DNA of the mature female medfly with well-developed eggs inside that was found last week, matching it to populations in Hawaii. Scientists are trying to determine if it is part of a breeding population or is an isolated incident.

When a single medfly is found within three projected life cycles, a quarantine to restrict fruits and vegetables is imposed by federal laws, agricultural officials said.

A single medfly was found in Vacaville in October 2016 but a quarantine was not necessary. Several medflies that were found in Dixon in 2007 and 2008 shared the same genetic biotype as the medfly found last week and a quarantine to eradicate it was established, according to the Agricultural Commissioner's Office.

Solano County Agricultural Commissioner Jim Allan said residents should be aware that uncertified produce from foreign countries, Puerto Rico and Hawaii may carry the risk of an infestation.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Fatal Crash Closes Highway 101 Offramp in San Rafael: CHP]]>Tue, 05 Sep 2017 22:23:56 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/chp-generic-night.jpg

A fatal collision closed an offramp along U.S. Highway 101 in San Rafael late Tuesday night, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The Lucas Valley Road offramp from northbound Highway 101 was closed, the CHP said on social media at about 9:50 p.m.

The offramp was expected to reopen later Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning.

Further information about the fatal crash was not immediately available.



Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Politicians Denounce DACA Decision]]>Wed, 06 Sep 2017 00:00:03 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-841023822.png

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allows young undocumented immigrants to stay and work in the United States, is "being rescinded," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Tuesday.

The decision to do away with DACA drew scathing criticism from some Bay Area politicians. 

"President Trump’s decision to end DACA is a deeply shameful act of political cowardice and a despicable assault on innocent young people in communities across America," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. "Deporting DREAMers means destroying the lives of hundreds of thousands of patriotic young people, costing the economy billions and betraying the fundamental values of the American Dream."

Rep. Barbara Lee, who represents the East Bay, took to Twitter, writing, "Ending #DACA is cruel and heartless. Congress must act now to protect #DREAMers and pass comprehensive reform once and for all."

DACA has given approximately 800,000 young undocumented immigrants, also referred to as "dreamers," the opportunity to stay in the country and work legally in the U.S. in the form of two-year, renewable work permits. The state with the highest amount of DACA recipients benefiting from the program is California, according to data analyzed by the Pew Research Center.

The government will stop processing new applications under the Obama-era program, but the Trump administration is giving Congress six months to come up with a legislative fix before the government stops renewing permits for people already covered.

California Sen. Scott Wiener, who represents San Francisco, joined Pelosi and Lee in condemning the decision, arguing that President Trump is "going after immigrant children."

"Ending DACA is a disaster that will only serve to tear families apart and stoke fear and distrust in our immigrant communities," part of Wiener's statement read. "Trump’s odious immigration policies expose him for what he is – a divisive, destructive nativist with no concern for the well-being of the people who live in this country."

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo also blasted the announcement, but vowed to support DACA recipients in San Jose.

"The Attorney General's announcement of the Trump Administration's rescission of DACA abandons 800,000 of America's hardest-working, most patriotic residents," a portion of the mayor's statement read. "Punting the issue to Congress, without any affirmative leadership to enact a legislative solution, amounts to a cowardly cop-out, placing the futures of these young women and men in serious jeopardy."

Aside from taking to social media or issuing written statements, a number of Bay Area politicians addressed the DACA decision at Tuesday news conferences.

In the South Bay, Santa Clara County leaders scolded President Trump for showing a cold heart to DACA recipients.

"I, like many here, are not surprised that the President of the United States took the moral compass of his country and once again threw it to the ground," Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez said.

Fellow supervisor Dave Cortese added that the county will consider legal action against the federal government as well as continue to fight for the roughly 24,000 DACA recipients in the region.

"I urge every 'dreamer' out there affected by today's decision to remain resilient and hopeful," Cortese said. "That's the American way. That's the Silicon Valley way. And that's absolutely the Santa Clara County way. And we will not go down without a fight."

A slew of South Bay leaders gathered a short time later and pledged their continued support for those impacted by DACA while recipients of the program themselves spoke out about the program's benefits during a rally outside the Martin Luther King Library in San Jose.

In San Francisco, immigrant, civil rights and faith groups gathered at an 11 a.m. news conference at city hall to "condemn the President's cruel and unjust decision." Later in the day, Mayor Ed Lee criticized the Trump administration's decision, saying that they "turned their backs on these young people."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Politicians Slam Expectation of DACA Withdrawal]]>Mon, 04 Sep 2017 19:50:41 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/DefendDACA.jpg

The possibility that protections could come to an end for young immigrants in the United States triggered sharp responses from Bay Area politicians.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee lashed out at President Donald Trump on Monday after they heard the commander in chief is expected to dismantle the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program — but with a six-month delay, sources told NBC News.

DACA has given approximately 800,000 young undocumented immigrants the opportunity to stay in the country and work legally in the U.S. in the form of two-year, renewable work permits.

If President Trump follows through, Congress is expected to use the six-month delay window to decide whether it wants to address the status of the legislation, sources told the Associated Press. 

Pelosi issued a statement Monday urging leaders of Congress to protect those directly benefiting from the program.

"President Trump’s decision to end DACA should break the hearts and offend the morals of all who believe in justice and human dignity," part of her statement read. "This cruel act of political cowardice deals a stunning blow to the bright young DREAMers and to everyone who cherishes the American Dream."

Lee, in a statement issued Monday, said that doing away with DACA would "continue to divide our community and tear families apart."

"This is an entire generation of young people — approximately 800,000 people — who have only known America as their home," part of his statement read. "They are hard-working individuals and diligent students who only aspire to achieve their dreams of educational excellence and economic prosperity. Their families fled to America from war-torn countries and dire economic straits because they saw this country as a place of refuge and hope. To punish them for seeking a better life is unconscionably cruel."

Prior to Monday, Feinstein took to Twitter and pledged her support for DACA on multiple occasions.

"There are more #DACA recipients in California than in any other state," one of her tweets read. "We stand with them. We have their backs. #HereToStay"

Dave Cortese, the president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, said agencies are already gearing up to assist the county's estimated 20,000 Dreamers.

"One of the things we'll be prepared to do tomorrow and every day after that is put local resources into helping people who are Dreamers, who are impacted by this decision," Cortese said.

Kevin Gaytan is part of a group of Dreamers graduating from a special county government internship program Tuesday. He said no matter what, he won't hide in the shadows.

"Understanding that we have a platform in which we have solid allies is definitely reassuring, to make sure we continue to fight," Gaytan said.

NBC Bay Area's Robert Handa and the Associated Press contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Double Trailer Carrying Grapes Crashes in Napa County ]]>Tue, 05 Sep 2017 20:09:59 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/grape-truck-crash.jpg

A double trailer big rig hauling large bins of red grapes near Calistoga crashed down an embankment Tuesday morning, according to CHP.

The crash took place on Porter Creek Road in Napa County when the driver lost control of the breaks. According to officials, the driver tried to slow the truck down before careening down the hillside and crashing into several trees.

Grapes were spilled all over the hillside making driving conditions hazardous for vehicles driving on the Napa County Road.

According to officials, the driver sustained minor injuries, but the truck was severely damaged and will have to be taken out in sections.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Vallejo PD Tows 93 Cars in Abandoned Vehicle Abatement Push]]>Mon, 04 Sep 2017 09:05:04 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/two+truck.jpg

Vallejo police towed 93 cars Sunday as part of an abandoned vehicle abatement program in the city, police said.

Officers checked 148 vehicles that were reported to them. Ninety-eight were registered or not at the reported location or legally parked.

But officers marked another 18 that will be towed in 72 hours if they are not moved.

Residents can report abandoned vehicles by calling (707) 648-4682, going to the city's website or by using the Police Department's mobile app, which is available for Apple and Android phones.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Heat Wave, Smoke Trigger Unique Bay Area Sunsets]]>Mon, 04 Sep 2017 12:02:52 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/UGCSunset3_1.jpg

Photo Credit: hyper_kuiper via Instagram]]>
<![CDATA[Spare the Air Alert in Effect as Smoke Chokes Bay Area]]>Mon, 04 Sep 2017 06:08:28 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/BayAreaSmoke.jpg

The brutal heat wave that gripped the Bay Area over the weekend is on its way out, but air quality will continue to be an issue of concern Monday.

Smoke pouring in from Northern California wildfires coupled with lingering warm temperatures prompted Bay Area officials to declare a fifth-consecutive Spare the Air Alert for Labor Day.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District encourages residents to limit their outdoor activities, recirculate air in their homes and cars, keep windows and doors closed, and head to cooling centers in order to stay away from the smoke-filled air.

Elderly people, children and those with respiratory issues are the most likely to be impacted by the unhealthy air.

Hazy skies filled with smoke will likely stick around through the end of the Labor Day weekend, according to officials.

After multiple days above 100 degrees, several Bay Area cities on Monday are not expected to exceed the triple-digit threshold, according to the National Weather Service. Livermore is forecasted to top out at 94 degrees, San Jose should reach 87 degrees, Oakland is pinned in for a high of 82 degrees and San Francisco should max out at 76 degrees.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Multiple Fires in Santa Rosa Investigated as Arson]]>Sun, 03 Sep 2017 23:57:37 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sr+arson+fires-0903.jpg

A passing motorist intentionally started multiple fires Sunday in West Santa Rosa, according to the Windsor/Rincon Valley Fire Department.

At about 5 p.m., along Stony Point Road, north of Todd Avenue, witnesses reported someone tossing fireworks or other incendiary devices into the dry vegetation along homes from a moving vehicle, fire officials said.

The flames destroyed a barn and vehicle and threatened multiple homes, people and animals, officials said.

At lease six fires were reported, fire officials said.

No suspects were identified.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Fire Crew Saves 3-Year-Old Girl From Locked Car in Petaluma]]>Mon, 04 Sep 2017 00:17:32 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/petaluma+child-0903.jpg

Firefighters in Petaluma rescued a 3-year-old girl accidentally locked inside a car Sunday, according to the Petaluma Fire Department.

At about noon, the girl was accidentally locked inside a newer-model BMW on Meadowlark Lane, Battalion Chief Mike Madeiros said. The young girl's sister inadvertently locked the car with the 3-year-old still inside and called 911 immediately, Madeiros said.

While the fire crew was there, the girl started to sweat and cry, so they decided to break the glass and were able to get the girl out. She was taken to a hospital for evaluation, Madeiros said. The girl was stable and recovering, he said.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Heat Wave Weakens Slightly; 100s Still Expected Inland]]>Mon, 04 Sep 2017 00:13:33 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/072617+heat+generic+hot+weather+generic.jpg

The sizzling heat wave that has toasted the Bay Area for multiple days receded ever so slightly Sunday and was expected to die down even more Monday, bringing much needed relief to some cities not accustomed to the scorching temperatures.

An excessive heat warning expired at 9 p.m. Sunday for the inland valleys and coastal mountain ranges, according to the National Weather Service. That same warning has been downgraded to a heat advisory for the coast and immediate areas surrounding the San Francisco Bay.

Inland areas are expected to peak anywhere from the high 90s to 108 degrees, according to the NWS. Areas along the bay should fluctuate between 85 and 95 degrees while coastal spots will welcome temperatures in the 80s.

The hot weather coupled with smoke lingering over the region has prompted officials to declare Spare the Air Alerts for Sunday and Monday, marking a streak a five-consecutive days with such an alert in place.

The heat also was putting a strain on the power grid statewide. In the Bay Area, more than 2,500 PG&E customers were without power as of Sunday evening: 1,614 in the East Bay (mostly Oakland), 1,593 in the South Bay (mostly San Jose), 320 on the Peninsula (mostly Foster City) and 100 in the North Bay. There were no reported outages in San Francisco.

Weather officials are reminding people to properly prepare for the hot weather to both prevent wildfires and heat-related illnesses. Folks should limit outdoor activity during the hottest parts of the day, drink plenty of water and hang out in air conditioned areas. Pet owners should also keep a watchful eye on their companions, making sure their animal friends have adequate water and access to cool locations.

Bay Area residents are also asked to limit pollution-causing activities, such as driving and mowing the lawn. Those who are sensitive to unhealthy air are also encouraged to stay indoors.

Hazy skies filled with smoke will likely linger throughout the Labor Day weekend, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

Those wishing to beat the heat can visit a slew of cooling centers scattered across the Bay Area or take a trip to the coast where temperatures were significantly cooler than Saturday. Officials warn beachgoers to never swim alone and to be mindful of rip currents. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Hottest Temperatures Ever Recorded in the Bay Area]]>Mon, 04 Sep 2017 07:01:03 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Sun_Heat_Generic_Hot_car.jpg

As the Bay Area bakes during this Labor Day weekend heat wave, San Franciscans can say they lived through the hottest day ever recorded in the city by the bay.

The only other spot to set a new all-time high temperature was Moffett Field (106 degrees on Friday), according to the National Weather Service. Several other cities came close to eclipsing all-time highs, but they checked in just short.

In case you're curious, here's a list of the hottest ever temperatures recorded in some major Bay Area cities, according to the NWS.

Kentfield

All-Time Record High: 112 degrees | July 11, 1913

San Rafael

All-Time Record High: 110 degrees | June 15, 1961

Napa

All-Time Record High: 113 degrees | June 14, 1961

Downtown San Francisco

All-Time Record High: 106 degrees | Sept. 1, 2017

San Francisco Airport

All-Time Record High: 104 degrees | Sept. 1, 2017

Oakland Airport

All-Time Record High: 104 degrees | June 14, 1961

Richmond

All-Time Record High: 107 degrees | Sept. 15, 1971

Livermore

All-Time Record High: 115 degrees | Sept. 3, 1950

Moffett Field

All-Time Record High: 106 degrees | Sept. 1, 2017

San Jose

All-Time Record High: 109 degrees | June 14, 2000

Gilroy

All-Time Record High: 115 degrees | June 15, 1972



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Cooling Off: Bay Area Battles Scorching Heat Wave]]>Sun, 03 Sep 2017 12:39:30 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/UGC2_1.png

Photo Credit: Laurie Miller]]>
<![CDATA[Several Bay Area Cities Set Temperature Records for Sept. 2]]>Sat, 02 Sep 2017 17:46:53 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/07-29-2015-heat-sun-weather-generic-1.JPG

No cities in the immediate Bay Area broke all-time high temperature records Saturday, but a host of spots set records for Sept. 2.

Below is a complete breakdown of areas that recorded new high temperatures for Sept. 2, according to the National Weather Service:

Calistoga: 112 degrees (previous high of 104 degrees in 1998)

Healdsburg: 111 degrees (previous high of 110 degrees in 1950)

Santa Rosa: 110 degrees (previous high of 107 degrees in 1955)

Kentfield: 106 degrees (previous high of 104 degrees in 1955)

Half Moon Bay: 83 degrees (previous high of 76 in 2009)

San Rafael: 105 degrees (previous high of 101 degrees in 1955)

San Francisco: 102 degrees (previous high of 94 degrees in 1991)

San Francisco Airport: 104 degrees (previous high of 93 degrees in 1950)

Oakland Airport: 101 degrees (previous high of 97 degrees in 1950)

Moffett Field: 106 degrees (previous high of 93 degrees in 2002)

San Jose: 107 degrees (previous high of 102 degrees in 1950)

Gilroy: 112 degrees (previous high of 104 degrees in 2002)

Santa Cruz: 107 degrees (previous high of 93 degrees in 2009)

Two of those spots — Calistoga and Gilroy — also witnessed temperatures high enough to break all-time highs for the month of September, according to the NWS.

Moffett Field (106 degrees) and the San Francisco Airport (104 degrees) came close to once again setting all-time records, but they both tied marks set Friday.

Outside of the Bay Area, Salinas set an all-time high mark of 107 degrees, breaking a record previously set in 1971, according to the NWS. King City sizzled at 115 degrees, breaking an all-time high temperature mark of 113 set in 1955.



Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Blistering Temperatures Prompt Excessive Heat Warnings]]>Sat, 02 Sep 2017 10:16:58 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sun-shot.jpg

A sweltering heat wave once again reared its head Saturday as blistering temperatures roasted the Bay Area.

An excessive heat warning for the entire region is in effect until 9 p.m. Saturday, according to the National Weather Service. That warning will continue for inland areas until 9 p.m. Monday.

Several inland areas soared well above the 100-degree mark Saturday, with some locations such as Livermore peaking at 108 degrees, according to weather officials. San Francisco maxxed out at 102 degrees, marking just the third time since 1874 that the city by the bay has witnessed back-to-back days over 100 degrees. Elsewhere, Oakland reached 99 degrees while San Jose topped out at 107 degrees.

The hot weather prompted a number of cities across the Bay Area, including usually cool San Francisco, to open cooling centers for those looking for heat relief.

Folks across the toasty East Bay and Tri-Valley made a beeline for watering holes or movie theaters in hopes of beating the heat.

"The threater, it's going to be cool," Leo Robles of Tracy said. "It's always cool. Out here it's like really burning hot, and it's early in the morning. It shouldn't be like this."

Others in the East Bay flocked to cooling centers to hydrate and stay out of the sizzling sun.


Weather officials are reminding people to properly prepare for the hot weather to both prevent wildfires and heat-related illnesses. Folks should limit outdoor activity during the hottest parts of the day, drink plenty of water and hang out in air conditioned areas. Pet owners should also keep a watchful eye on their companions, making sure their animal friends have adequate water and access to cool locations.

Aside from impacting people's health, the scorching temperatures also forced BART to slow down its trains, triggering major systemwide delays.

Due the hot temperatures and low humidity, a Red Flag Warning remains in effect for coastal mountains and East Bay foothills until 9 p.m. Saturday. People are strongly encouraged to not burn outdoors due to the high risk of potentially sparking a wildfire.

Smoke pouring in from wildfires across Northern California coupled with forecasted high temperatures has prompted officials to declare Spare the Air Alerts for Saturday and Sunday. The moves mark the 12th and 13th Spare the Air Alert days of 2017.

Bay Area residents are asked to limit pollution-causing activities, such as driving and mowing the lawn. Those who are sensitive to unhealthy air are also encouraged to stay indoors.

Hazy skies filled with smoke will likely linger throughout the Labor Day weekend, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.



Photo Credit: NBC10 Philadelphia]]>
<![CDATA[San Francisco Soars to All-Time Record High of 106 Degrees]]>Fri, 01 Sep 2017 23:47:34 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Sun_Heat_Generic_Hot_car.jpg

A blistering heat wave bearing down on the Bay Area Friday broke an all-time temperature record in San Francisco, which joined a host of other cities across the region in etching new high temperature marks in the history books.

Downtown San Francisco sizzled at 106 degrees during the mid-afternoon hours, according to the National Weather Service, breaking a previous all-time high of 103 degrees set on June 14, 2000. For the sake of comparison, the 106 degree mark was just 10 degrees cooler than Death Valley, the hottest spot in the nation on Friday.

"What I miss is the fog now to cool off," Paul Tse of San Francisco said.

Another all-time record-breaking temperature was recorded nearby at the San Francisco International Airport, according to the NWS. The airport peaked at 104 degrees, overtaking a previous high of 103 set on Sept. 14, 1971.

South in Mountain View, Moffett Field soared to 106 degrees, tying an all-time record high of 106 degrees established in 2000, according to the NWS.

Aside from the all-time record-breakers, a number of spots recorded new high temperatures for Sept. 1:

Calistoga: 110 degrees (previous high of 105 degrees in 1988)

Healdsburg: 111 degrees (previous high of 108 degrees in 1950)

Santa Rosa: 110 degrees (previous high of 105 degrees in 1950)

Kentfield: 107 degrees (previous high of 103 degrees in 1955)

San Rafael: 109 degrees (previous high of 103 degrees in 1955)

Richmond: 102 degrees (previous high of 93 degrees in 1955)

Oakland Airport: 101 degrees (previous high of 99 degrees in 1952)

Livermore: 109 degrees (previous high of 109 degrees in 1952)

San Jose: 108 degrees (previous high of 101 degrees in 1950)

Gilroy: 107 degrees (previous high of 102 degrees in 1976)

Santa Cruz: 105 degrees (previous high of 102 degrees in 1955)

Salinas: 103 degrees (previous high of 91 degrees in 2010)

Salinas Airport: 105 degrees (previous high of 96 degrees in 1952)

Some of those spots — Santa Rosa, Kentfield, San Franicsco, the San Francisco Airport, the Oakland Airport, Moffett Field, San Jose and Salinas Airport — also witnessed temperatures high enough to break all-time highs for the month of September, according to the NWS.

EDITOR'S NOTE: A previous version of this article incorrectly indicated the year in which the all-time high temperature mark in San Francisco was set.




Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Heat Wave Peaks, Straining Bay Area Power Grid]]>Fri, 01 Sep 2017 18:06:12 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-76412145.jpg

The Bay Area is in the throes of extremely hot weather.

Temperatures on Friday soared to dangerous levels and will continue to do so through at least Monday, with most of the inland valley bracing for triple-digit temperatures.

Excessive heat warnings are in effect from 11 a.m. Friday till 9 p.m. Monday in many places around the Bay Area. The National Weather Service has also issued a heat advisory from 11 a.m. Friday through 9 p.m. Saturday.

The blistering heat set an all-time high temperature record in downtown San Francisco, according to the National Weather Service, and also set daily records in several cities across the region. Santa Rosa maxxed out at 110 degrees, Richmond topped out at 102, San Jose peaked at 108 and Santa Cruz soared to 105. 

The California Independent System Operator issued a flex alert from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday to avoid power disruptions.

According to PG&E, people may have been inclined to blast their A/Cs when the temperatures began to climb Thursday. The strain on the power grid could prompt some power outages in the Bay Area Friday, but PG&E was prepared with backup transformers, a spokesperson said. 

Meanwhile, a red flag fire warning — the highest alert — was in effect Friday for the North and East Bay hills and Santa Cruz mountains because of hot, dry and windy conditions, according to the National Weather Service.

The alert is in effect until 8 a.m. Saturday, weather service officials said. When red flag warnings are in effect, all residents are urged to use extreme caution because a simple spark can cause a major wildfire.

Weather service officials cautioned residents not to mow or trim dry grass, to be sure there is 100 feet of space around structures that is clear of combustible materials, also known as defensible space, and to clear dead weeds and vegetation. Also, people should never pull over their vehicles in dry grass, according to the weather service.

Berkeley's acting fire chief Dave Brannigan had additional suggestions specific to the Berkeley hills. Because of the danger of a rapidly spreading wildfire, Berkeley residents alongside the East Bay hills were encouraged to park in their driveways or garages, making as much space as possible in the narrow streets for emergency vehicles.

Residents are asked to use extreme caution operating barbeques and power equipment. Fireworks are completely forbidden in the city and surrounding areas, Brannigan noted.

Brian Kaminski, a doctor at ValleyCare Livermore Urgent Care, said he is worried that a lot of people will end up in the emergency room amid sweltering temperatures. The biggest concern is for children under 4 years of age and adults over 65, he said.

School children across the Livermore area spent recess indoors amid the sweltering temperatures, marking the first time the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District has ever taken such a drastic move because of blistering conditions. 

"Throughout the district, we are keeping kids and staff indoors," district spokesperson Philomena Rambo said. "We're not doing physical activity classes outside. We've canceled athletic practices."

Heat-related health problems can start subtly with cramps and fatigue, but progress to heat exhaustion, with sweating, headaches, weakness and nausea. Mayo Clinic advises moving out of the heat, drinking cold water and using a spray or sponge to cool down. 

The worst condition is heat stroke, which can bring on a fever, rapid pulse and breathing, seizures and a complete shut down of the body. Patients could find relief if ice packs are placed on their necks and if their bodies are covered in cool sheets. Treatment also includes using a fan while misting with cool water. People are also encouraged to call 911 for help, Mayo Clinic suggests. 

To that end, schools away from Livermore took numerous precautions to keep students safe during the heat wave, including calling off track practices or asking athletes to run in the early morning hours. Some districts also provided ice and bottled water at all their schools, while others installed A/C units or were scrambling to find portable ones.

The heat wave didn't stop Gunderson and Pioneer high schools from kicking off a scheduled varsity football contest, but the players did take additional water breaks. The junior varsity teams were supposed to square off Friday afternoon, but the forecasted highs moved the matchup to Thursday evening.

"It's probably a good thing," Jason Simpson, a former San Jose State University running back said. "Right around that 3 o'clock kickoff time tends to be a little bit difficult. Later in the evening definitely helps a little bit more. As a player, water is your best friend."

At Stanford University, the women's soccer team braved 106 degrees at 4 p.m. to play in its match against Georgetown University. 

"As a parent, you're not only concerned for your player but everybody else on the field," Stanford soccer parent Florence Cook said. "But obviously they took water breaks and they showed the appropriate level of concern for the players."

A round of golf was virtually off the table in the East Bay because of the uncomfortable heat. The Buchanan Fields Golf Course in Concord was lifeless in the middle of the afternoon as the temperature sizzled at 108 degrees. 

In nearby Walnut Creek, the temperature was comparable, but it couldn't keep one happy couple from tying the knot. Christian and Amanda Sendaydiego said their vows under the 108 degree heat.

Spare the Air alerts were issued in the Bay Area for Thursday, Friday and Saturday because hot temperatures, light wind and vehicle exhaust were expected to combine to create unhealthy smog levels, regional air quality officials said.

The consecutive alerts, the 10th, 11th and 12th issued so far for smog in 2017, were because of particularly unhealthy ozone levels expected in the South Bay and East Bay, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

"Extreme heat starting late this week is expected to cause unhealthy air quality in the Bay Area likely through the Labor Day weekend," district executive officer Jack Broadbent said in a statement, noting that the currently burning wildfires will also impact air quality.

Officials recommend carpooling, taking public district or working from home if possible to limit smog levels in the area.

"We need to change how we get around and stop driving alone to reduce our pollution levels and protect our health," Broadbent said.

Bay Area residents are also advised to only exercise in the early morning hours when ozone concentrations are lower. 

PG&E says it is in emergency response mode, preparing to respond to power outages, with replacement transformers and other equipment at the ready.

"We have extra crews and equipment, and resources are ready to go, ready to be deployed," PG&E spokesman Paul Doherty said. "This is probably the largest heat event since 2006."

List of cooling centers around the Bay Area:

  • Benicia: Public Library, 150 E. L St.; Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday-Sunday, noon-6 p.m.
  • Campbell: Community Center, 1 W. Campbell Ave., Room E-44; Thursday to Sunday, 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Closed Monday.
  • Cupertino: Quinlan Community Center, 10185 N Stelling Road, Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed Sunday.
  • Livermore: Livermore Area Recreation and Park District, Friday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Los Gatos: Los Gatos Library, 100 Villa Ave., Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Wednesday-Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Closed Monday (Labor Day).
  • Milpitas: Community Center, 457 E. Calaveras Blvd., Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Barbara Lee Senior Center, 40 N. Milpitas Blvd., Monday–Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Sports Center, 1325 E. Calaveras Blvd., Monday–Thursday, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Morgan Hill: Centennial Recreation Center, 171 W. Edmundson Ave., Monday-Friday, 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Open Labor Day holiday, 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Community and Cultural Center, 17000 Monterey St., Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Mountain View: Mountain View Public Library, 585 Franklin St., Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. CLOSED Monday (Labor Day)
  • Napa: Las Flores Community Center, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Senior Center, Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., This Friday, Sept. 1, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • San Jose: For a list of community center locations in the city of San Jose, visit the city's Department of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services web page.​
  • Santa Clara: Central Park Library, 2635 Homesteads Road, Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.; City Hall Cafeteria, 1500 Warburton Ave., Monday - Friday, 8 am to 5 pm; closed Saturday and Sunday; Community Recreation Center, 969 Kiely Blvd., Monday - Thursday, 8 am to 8 pm; Friday, 8 am to 5 pm; Saturday 9 am to noon; closed Sunday; Northside Branch Library, 695 Moreland Way, Monday - Tuesday, 11 am to 8 pm; Wednesday - Saturday, 10 am to 6 pm; closed Sunday; Senior Center, 1303 Fremont St., Monday - Thursday, 11 am to 8 pm; Friday, 7 am to 5 pm; Saturday, 9 am to noon; closed Sunday​; check website for updates.
  • Santa Clara County: County libraries located in Gilroy, Morgan Hill, Saratoga, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Campbell, Cupertino, and Milpitas; check website for hours and locations.
  • Saratoga: Joan Pisani Community Center: 19655 Allendale Ave., Call for hours: (408) 868-1249; Saratoga Library, 13650 Saratoga Ave., Call for hours: (408) 867-6126
    Saratoga: Joan Pisani Community Center: 19655 Allendale Ave., Call for hours: (408) 868-1249; Saratoga Library, 13650 Saratoga Ave., Call for hours: (408) 867-6126.

Here are some tips on how to stay cool:

  • Drink plenty of liquids
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine and sugar
  • Limit physical activity, especially between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
  • Don't leave people or pets in closed, parked cars
  • Stay in air-conditioned areas, including malls, libraries, movie theaters and community centers
  • Cool off by taking a bath or shower.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing
  • Do not bundle babies or put them in blankets or heavy clothing.
  • Cover your head with wide-brimmed, vented hats or use umbrellas
  • Wear sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Rest in shady areas

Additional tips for people who work outdoors:

  • Ensure that cool drinking water is available.
  • Drink water or electrolyte-replacing sports drinks often; do not wait until you are thirsty.
  • Avoid drinking sweetened drinks, caffeine, and alcohol.
  • Avoid drinking extremely cold water as this is more likely to cause cramps.
  • Allow athletes or outdoor workers to take frequent rests.

Older adults and individuals with chronic medical conditions:

  • During peak heat hours stay in an air-conditioned area. If you do not have access to air conditioning in your home, visit public facilities such as cooling centers, shopping malls, parks, and libraries to stay cool.
  • Older adults and those on certain medications may not exhibit signs of dehydration until several hours after dehydration sets in. Stay hydrated by frequently drinking cool water. If you’re on a special diet that limits liquids, check with your doctor for information on the amount of water to consume.
  • Stay out of the sun if you do not need to be in it. When in the sun, wear a hat, preferably with a wide brim, and loose-fitting, light-colored clothing with long sleeves and pants to protect against sun damage. And remember to use sun screen and to wear sunglasses.

Infants and Children:

  • It is illegal to leave an infant or child unattended in a vehicle (California Vehicle Code Section 15620).
  • Infants and young children can get dehydrated very quickly. Make sure they are given plenty of cool water to drink.
  • Keep children indoors or shaded as much as possible.
  • Dress children in loose, lightweight, and light colored clothing.

Pets:

  • Never leave a pet unattended in a vehicle, even with the windows cracked or open.
  • Outdoor animals should be given plenty of shade and clean drinking water.
  • Do not leave pets outside in the sun.
  • Pets should not be left in a garage as garages can get very hot due to lack of ventilation and insulation.




Photo Credit: Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Smoke From Northern California Fires Drifting Into Bay Area]]>Thu, 31 Aug 2017 20:57:06 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/smoke-0831.jpg

Bay Area residents who think they're smelling smoke are probably right. Smoke from fires elsewhere in California and Oregon drifted into the Bay Area on Thursday, air quality officials said.

Fires in Nevada and Butte counties are generating smoke that's moving into the Bay Area. Also, smoke from Northern California and Oregon fires is coming down the coast and entering the area through the Golden Gate, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

"We expect the smoke to last through Saturday and potentially through the weekend," air district spokeswoman Kristine Roselius said.

Some parts of the Bay Area appear to be experiencing more smoke than others. Marin County is experiencing heavy drift smoke from the Northern California fires, and residents will smell smoke, the Marin County Sheriff's Office tweeted.

The Napa County Office of Emergency Services and the Lafayette Police Department both said there are no fires in either area, and the smoke residents are smelling is from the Northern California fires.

San Mateo County is also experiencing quite a bit of drift smoke from fires in Northern California and Oregon, county officials said.

Smoke can irritate the eyes and airways, causing coughing, scratchy throats and irritated sinuses. It can trigger wheezing in people with asthma, emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, air quality officials said.

Bay Area residents are advised to limit outdoor activities to avoid unnecessary exposure if they smell smoke, and set air conditioning units and car vent systems to re-circulate to prevent outside air from moving inside, air quality officials said.

Residents can also reduce exposure to smoky air by staying inside with windows and doors closed, if possible, according to the air district. Those who cannot do so should seek out cooling centers in their respective areas.

It's also a good idea to stay tuned to local media for changes in smoke or weather conditions, air quality officials said.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Heat Advisory Across Bay Area as Triple-Digit Temps Loom]]>Thu, 31 Aug 2017 23:56:18 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/heat+wave-0831.jpg

The dog days of summer are upon us. 

Temperatures across the Bay Area are expected to soar to dangerous levels through at least Monday, with most of the inland valley bracing for triple-digit temperatures.

Excessive heat warnings and heat advisories will be in effect from Thursday afternoon through Monday evening, according to the National Weather Service. A red flag warning will also be issued between 9 p.m. Thursday and 8 a.m. Saturday due to hot and dry conditions and northerly wind gusts. 

On Friday, forecasters expect Fairfield to reach 112 degrees Fahrenheit, Concord 113, San Jose 101, Santa Cruz 91, Half Moon Bay 86 and San Francisco 84 . At 115 degrees, Livermore will tie its all-time record that was set in 1950, the National Weather Service said.

The California Independent System Operator has issued a flex alert from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday to avoid power disruptions.

Brian Kaminski, a doctor at ValleyCare Livermore Urgent Care, said he is worried that a lot of people will end up in the emergency room amid sweltering temperatures.

The biggest concern is for children under 4 years of age and adults over 65, he said. Heat-related health problems can start subtly with cramps and fatigue, but progress to heat exhaustion, with copious amounts of sweating, headaches and nausea. The worst condition is heat stroke, which can bring on seizures and a complete shut down of the body, he said.


Schools in the Bay Area are also taking numerous precautions to keep students safe during this heat wave, including calling off track practices or asking athletes to run in the early morning hours. Some districts will also provide ice and bottled water at all their schools, while others have installed A/C units or are scrambling to find portable ones.

Meanwhile, Spare the Air alerts have been issued in the Bay Area for Thursday and Friday because hot temperatures, light wind and vehicle exhaust are expected to combine to create unhealthy smog levels, regional air quality officials said.

The alerts, the 10th and 11th issued so far for smog in 2017, are because of particularly unhealthy ozone levels expected in the South Bay and East Bay, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

"Extreme heat starting late this week is expected to cause unhealthy air quality in the Bay Area likely through the Labor Day weekend," air district executive officer Jack Broadbent said in a statement.

Officials recommend carpooling, taking public district or working from home if possible to limit smog levels in the area.

"We need to change how we get around and stop driving alone to reduce our pollution levels and protect our health," Broadbent said.

Bay Area residents are also advised to only exercise in the early morning hours when ozone concentrations are lower.

PG&E says it is in emergency response mode, preparing to respond to power outages, with replacement transformers and other equipment at the ready.

"We have extra crews and equipment, and resources are ready to go, ready to be deployed," PG&E spokesman Paul Doherty said. "This is probably the largest heat event since 2006."

List of cooling centers around the Bay Area:

  • Benicia: Public Library, 150 E. L St.; Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday-Sunday, noon-6 p.m.
  • Campbell: Community Center, 1 W. Campbell Ave., Room E-44; Thursday to Sunday, 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Closed Monday.
  • Cupertino: Quinlan Community Center, 10185 N Stelling Road, Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed Sunday.
  • Livermore: Livermore Area Recreation and Park District, Friday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Los Gatos: Los Gatos Library, 100 Villa Ave., Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Wednesday-Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Closed Monday (Labor Day).
  • Milpitas: Community Center, 457 E. Calaveras Blvd., Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Barbara Lee Senior Center, 40 N. Milpitas Blvd., Monday–Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Sports Center, 1325 E. Calaveras Blvd., Monday–Thursday, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Morgan Hill: Centennial Recreation Center, 171 W. Edmundson Ave., Monday-Friday, 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Open Labor Day holiday, 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Community and Cultural Center, 17000 Monterey St., Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Mountain View: Mountain View Public Library, 585 Franklin St., Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. CLOSED Monday (Labor Day)
  • Napa: Las Flores Community Center, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Senior Center, Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., This Friday, Sept. 1, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • San Jose: For a list of community center locations in the city of San Jose, visit the city's Department of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services web page.​
  • Santa Clara: Central Park Library, 2635 Homesteads Road, Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.; City Hall Cafeteria, 1500 Warburton Ave., Monday - Friday, 8 am to 5 pm; closed Saturday and Sunday; Community Recreation Center, 969 Kiely Blvd., Monday - Thursday, 8 am to 8 pm; Friday, 8 am to 5 pm; Saturday 9 am to noon; closed Sunday; Northside Branch Library, 695 Moreland Way, Monday - Tuesday, 11 am to 8 pm; Wednesday - Saturday, 10 am to 6 pm; closed Sunday; Senior Center, 1303 Fremont St., Monday - Thursday, 11 am to 8 pm; Friday, 7 am to 5 pm; Saturday, 9 am to noon; closed Sunday​; check website for updates.
  • Santa Clara County: County libraries located in Gilroy, Morgan Hill, Saratoga, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Campbell, Cupertino, and Milpitas; check website for hours and locations.
  • Saratoga: Joan Pisani Community Center: 19655 Allendale Ave., Call for hours: (408) 868-1249; Saratoga Library, 13650 Saratoga Ave., Call for hours: (408) 867-6126
    Saratoga: Joan Pisani Community Center: 19655 Allendale Ave., Call for hours: (408) 868-1249; Saratoga Library, 13650 Saratoga Ave., Call for hours: (408) 867-6126.

Here are some tips on how to stay cool:

  • Drink plenty of liquids
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine and sugar
  • Limit physical activity, especially between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
  • Don't leave people or pets in closed, parked cars
  • Stay in air-conditioned areas, including malls, libraries, movie theaters and community centers
  • Cool off by taking a bath or shower.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing
  • Do not bundle babies or put them in blankets or heavy clothing.
  • Cover your head with wide-brimmed, vented hats or use umbrellas
  • Wear sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Rest in shady areas

Additional tips for people who work outdoors:

  • Ensure that cool drinking water is available.
  • Drink water or electrolyte-replacing sports drinks often; do not wait until you are thirsty.
  • Avoid drinking sweetened drinks, caffeine, and alcohol.
  • Avoid drinking extremely cold water as this is more likely to cause cramps.
  • Allow athletes or outdoor workers to take frequent rests.

Older adults and individuals with chronic medical conditions:

  • During peak heat hours stay in an air-conditioned area. If you do not have access to air conditioning in your home, visit public facilities such as cooling centers, shopping malls, parks, and libraries to stay cool.
  • Older adults and those on certain medications may not exhibit signs of dehydration until several hours after dehydration sets in. Stay hydrated by frequently drinking cool water. If you’re on a special diet that limits liquids, check with your doctor for information on the amount of water to consume.
  • Stay out of the sun if you do not need to be in it. When in the sun, wear a hat, preferably with a wide brim, and loose-fitting, light-colored clothing with long sleeves and pants to protect against sun damage. And remember to use sun screen and to wear sunglasses.

Infants and Children:

  • It is illegal to leave an infant or child unattended in a vehicle (California Vehicle Code Section 15620).
  • Infants and young children can get dehydrated very quickly. Make sure they are given plenty of cool water to drink.
  • Keep children indoors or shaded as much as possible.
  • Dress children in loose, lightweight, and light colored clothing.

Pets:

  • Never leave a pet unattended in a vehicle, even with the windows cracked or open.
  • Outdoor animals should be given plenty of shade and clean drinking water.
  • Do not leave pets outside in the sun.
  • Pets should not be left in a garage as garages can get very hot due to lack of ventilation and insulation.




Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Drives Tesla Into Living Room, Damages Novato House]]>Tue, 29 Aug 2017 19:36:14 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/novatohouse.JPG

A Novato house was badly damaged Tuesday morning when a Tesla driver barraged into its living room.

The incident was reported around 10:30 a.m. on Woodbridge Way, according to fire officials.

The female driver was not hurt, officials said, adding that two adults and a toddler who were home at the time of the crash also escaped without any injuries. 

A building inspector called to the scene deemed the home uinhabitable, fire officials said.

No further information was immediately available.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Braces For Record High Temperatures]]>Thu, 31 Aug 2017 00:19:18 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/188*120/GettyImages-71476967.jpg

Enjoy the last vestiges of cool weather because a brutal heat wave is making a beeline for the Bay Area.

Temperatures are expected to rise between 10 and 15 degrees on Thursday. They will soar to even more dangerous levels Friday, with most of the inland valley experiencing triple-digit temperatures. The coming days could be the hottest so far this summer.

An excessive heat watch will be in effect from Thursday afternoon through Monday evening, according to the National Weather Service. A red flag warning will also be issued between 9 p.m. Thursday and 8 a.m. Saturday due to hot and dry conditions and northerly wind gusts. 

Forecasters expect Fairfield to reach 112 degrees Fahrenheit, Concord 113, San Jose 101, Santa Cruz 91, Half Moon Bay 86 and San Francisco 84 . At 115 degrees, Livermore will tie its all-time record that was set in 1950, the National Weather Service said.

A developing tropical system near Baja, California may transport some subtropical moisture into Southern California on Tuesday and Wednesday. It remains unclear whether the storm will affect the Bay Area.

Meanwhile, a Spare the Air alert has been issued in the Bay Area for Thursday because hot temperatures, light wind and vehicle exhaust are expected to combine to create unhealthy smog levels, regional air quality officials said.

The alert, the 10th issued so far for smog in 2017, is because of particularly unhealthy ozone levels expected in the South Bay and East Bay, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

"Extreme heat starting late this week is expected to cause unhealthy air quality in the Bay Area likely through the Labor Day weekend," air district executive officer Jack Broadbent said in a statement.

Officials recommend carpooling, taking public district or working from home if possible to limit smog levels in the area.

"We need to change how we get around and stop driving alone to reduce our pollution levels and protect our health," Broadbent said.

Bay Area residents are also advised to only exercise in the early morning hours when ozone concentrations are lower.


List of cooling centers around the Bay Area:


  • Benicia: Public Library, 150 E. L St.; Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday-Sunday, noon-6 p.m.
  • Campbell: Community Center, 1 W. Campbell Ave., Room E-44; Thursday to Sunday, 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Closed Monday.
  • Cupertino: Quinlan Community Center, 10185 N Stelling Road, Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed Sunday
  • Livermore: Livermore Area Recreation and Park District, Friday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Los Gatos: Los Gatos Library, 100 Villa Ave., Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Wednesday-Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Closed Monday (Labor Day)
  • Milpitas: Community Center, 457 E. Calaveras Blvd., Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Barbara Lee Senior Center, 40 N. Milpitas Blvd., Monday–Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Sports Center, 1325 E. Calaveras Blvd., Monday–Thursday, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Morgan Hill: Centennial Recreation Center, 171 W. Edmundson Ave., Monday-Friday, 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Open Labor Day holiday, 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Community and Cultural Center, 17000 Monterey St., Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Mountain View: Mountain View Public Library, 585 Franklin St., Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. CLOSED Monday (Labor Day)
  • Napa: Las Flores Community Center, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Senior Center, Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., This Friday, Sept. 1, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • San Jose: For a list of community center locations in the city of San Jose, visit the city's Department of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services web page.​
  • Santa Clara (check website for updates): Central Park Library, 2635 Homesteads Road, Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.; City Hall Cafeteria, 1500 Warburton Ave., Monday - Friday, 8 am to 5 pm; closed Saturday and Sunday; Community Recreation Center, 969 Kiely Blvd., Monday - Thursday, 8 am to 8 pm; Friday, 8 am to 5 pm; Saturday 9 am to noon; closed Sunday; Northside Branch Library, 695 Moreland Way, Monday - Tuesday, 11 am to 8 pm; Wednesday - Saturday, 10 am to 6 pm; closed Sunday; Senior Center, 1303 Fremont St., Monday - Thursday, 11 am to 8 pm; Friday, 7 am to 5 pm; Saturday, 9 am to noon; closed Sunday​
  • Santa Clara County: County libraries located in Gilroy, Morgan Hill, Saratoga, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Campbell, Cupertino, and Milpitas; check website for hours and locations.
  • Saratoga: Joan Pisani Community Center: 19655 Allendale Ave., Call for hours: (408) 868-1249; Saratoga Library, 13650 Saratoga Ave., Call for hours: (408) 867-6126
    Saratoga: Joan Pisani Community Center: 19655 Allendale Ave., Call for hours: (408) 868-1249; Saratoga Library, 13650 Saratoga Ave., Call for hours: (408) 867-6126


Here are some tips on how to stay cool:

  • Drink plenty of liquids
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine and sugar
  • Limit physical activity, especially between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
  • Don't leave people or pets in closed, parked cars
  • Stay in air-conditioned areas, including malls, libraries, movie theaters and community centers
  • Cool off by taking a bath or shower.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing
  • Do not bundle babies or put them in blankets or heavy clothing.
  • Cover your head with wide-brimmed, vented hats or use umbrellas
  • Wear sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Rest in shady areas


Additional tips for people who work outdoors:

  • Ensure that cool drinking water is available.
  • Drink water or electrolyte-replacing sports drinks often; do not wait until you are thirsty.
  • Avoid drinking sweetened drinks, caffeine, and alcohol.
  • Avoid drinking extremely cold water as this is more likely to cause cramps.
  • Allow athletes or outdoor workers to take frequent rests.


Older adults and individuals with chronic medical conditions:

  • During peak heat hours stay in an air-conditioned area. If you do not have access to air conditioning in your home, visit public facilities such as cooling centers, shopping malls, parks, and libraries to stay cool.
  • Older adults and those on certain medications may not exhibit signs of dehydration until several hours after dehydration sets in. Stay hydrated by frequently drinking cool water. If you’re on a special diet that limits liquids, check with your doctor for information on the amount of water to consume.
  • Stay out of the sun if you do not need to be in it. When in the sun, wear a hat, preferably with a wide brim, and loose-fitting, light-colored clothing with long sleeves and pants to protect against sun damage. And remember to use sun screen and to wear sunglasses.


Infants and Children:

  • It is illegal to leave an infant or child unattended in a vehicle (California Vehicle Code Section 15620).
  • Infants and young children can get dehydrated very quickly. Make sure they are given plenty of cool water to drink.
  • Keep children indoors or shaded as much as possible.
  • Dress children in loose, lightweight, and light colored clothing.


Pets:

  • Never leave a pet unattended in a vehicle, even with the windows cracked or open.
  • Outdoor animals should be given plenty of shade and clean drinking water.
  • Do not leave pets outside in the sun.
  • Pets should not be left in a garage as garages can get very hot due to lack of ventilation and insulation.





Photo Credit: Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Californians Asked to Conserve Energy Amid Flex Alert]]>Tue, 29 Aug 2017 19:17:23 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Sun_Heat_Generic_Hot_car.jpg

Californians are encouraged to conserve energy between 2 p.m. and 9 p.m. Tuesday as a heat wave continues to swelter the state.

The Flex Alert, which was issued by the California Independent System Operator Corporation, asks residents to turn off all lights not in use, avoid using large appliances and set air conditioners to 78 degrees or higher during that seven-hour span.

Flex Alerts are issued when the power grid "is under stress because of generation or transmission outages, or from persistent hot temperatures," according to the ISO.

Residents can learn more about conserving energy by visiting flexalert.org.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Napa Teacher Arrested on Drug, ID Theft Charges: Police]]>Mon, 28 Aug 2017 18:45:08 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/handcuffs-generic-on-black2.jpg

A private elementary school teacher and former tutor has been arrested on suspicion of possessing suspected heroin and methadone, a powerful pain medication, and committing identity theft, according to the Napa Special Investigations Bureau.

Delicia Gomez, 36, of Napa, was arrested at her Napa apartment Friday, police said.

Detectives learned early this month that Gomez was allegedly selling heroin in Napa, and during a search of her apartment in the 1100 block of Marina Drive on Aug. 12, they found methadone and a California identification card belonging to someone else, police said.

Gomez was not arrested so detectives could continue their investigation, and they learned she was an elementary school teacher at a private religious school in Vallejo and a former tutor at a Napa learning center, police said.

While Gomez was being booked into Napa County Jail, detectives found three baggies containing suspected heroin in her possession.

Gomez was booked on suspicion of possession of a controlled substance for sale, bringing a controlled substance into a corrections facility, identity theft and possession of drug paraphernalia, police said.

]]>
<![CDATA[Chief UC Berkeley Counsel Killed in Sonoma Co. Hit-and-Run]]>Mon, 28 Aug 2017 12:45:40 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-52237594.jpg

University of California at Berkeley officials Monday morning confirmed campus counsel Christopher Patti was killed in a hit-and-run crash in west Sonoma County on Sunday morning.

"I speak for the Berkeley community in saying how grief stricken we are at Chris Patti's untimely death. He was an extraordinary colleague," Chancellor Carol Christ said in a statement.

Patti began serving as UC Berkeley's chief campus counsel in 2010.

He was riding his bicycle on River Road in west Sonoma County west of Guerneville when he stopped on the right shoulder to look at his cellphone, California Highway Patrol Officer Jon Sloat said.

He was struck around 8:45 a.m. when the BMW driver lost control on a curve and slid across the road, Sloat said.

The driver continued west, turned around and drove back toward Guerneville, but a license plate was found at the scene, CHP officials said.

Jonathan Ritter, 28, of Rio Nido and Monte Rio, is considered a person of interest in the crash, Sloat said.

Russian River Fire Protection District crews responded to the crash and pronounced Patti dead at the scene, CHP officials said.

Patti also worked in the Office of the General Counsel at University of California's Office of the President from 1990 to 2010, specializing in litigation involving academic and student affairs, constitutional issues, class actions and other matters. He is survived by his wife and two sons, according to the school.



Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Excessive Temps Inland as Heat Continues to Blanket Bay Area]]>Mon, 28 Aug 2017 20:14:53 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Sun_Heat_Generic_Hot_car.jpg

Sweltering temperatures will once again blanket several cities across the Bay Area Monday as a heat wave continues to beat down on the region.

The hot weather, which has prompted an excessive heat warning for inland valleys and coastal mountains, a heat advisory for cities hugging the San Francisco Bay, and a third-consecutive Spare the Air alert across the Bay Area, has firefighters on high alert.

Expected highs on Monday are expected to top out around 105 to near 110 degrees in the East Bay valleys, according to the National Weather Service. North Bay locations such as Santa Rosa and Napa will also see high temperatures in the triple digits. 

In the South Bay, San Jose is expected to reach 96 degrees while Morgan Hill should jump over 100 degrees.

Closer to the bay, cities such as Oakland and Palo Alto will hover between the high-80s to low-90s. Temperatures in San Francisco will reach the high-70s in some neighborhoods away from the coast.

For those seeking relief, Half Moon Bay appears to be the coolest Bay Area location with only a forecasted high of 68 degrees.

Firefighters were already out in full force Sunday battling a fire just south of Livermore near Mines Road. The blaze has torched 44 acres and was 40 percent contained as of Monday at 7 a.m., according to Cal Fire.

Another fire also cropped up in Petaluma on Sunday. The blaze scorched about 18 degrees near Bodega Avenue and Nosecchi Road before fire crews were able to gain the upper hand, according to Cal Fire. The fire was 85 percent contained as of Monday morning.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Fire Crews Battling Brush Fire Outside Petaluma]]>Sun, 27 Aug 2017 22:12:48 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/petaluma+fire-0827.jpg

Firefighters were battling a brush fire near Petaluma on Sunday afternoon, according to the Petaluma Police Department.

Cal Fire said the fire had burned about 18 acres and was 60 percent contained by about 4:30 p.m.

Police said they received multiple 911 calls reporting the vegetation fire near the city. The blaze was first reported about 1:15 p.m. in the 5000 block of Bodega Avenue in unincorporated Sonoma County.

The cause of the fire was unknown and under investigation.

Police said there is no threat to the city of Petaluma.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Dangerous Bay Area Heat Brings Advisories, Warnings]]>Sun, 27 Aug 2017 23:12:24 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Sun_Heat_Generic_Hot_car.jpg

Spare the Air alerts were issued for Sunday and Monday in the Bay Area because of an excessive amount of smog expected in the region, air quality officials said.

A high-pressure system over the region, triple-digit temperatures, light winds and smoke from Oregon wildfires are expected to contribute to unhealthy ozone levels in the South and East Bay regions, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management district.

There is no free transit Monday, and there is no wood-burning ban in place, air quality officials said.

The alerts are the eighth and ninth such alerts in 2017.

"Hot temperatures and tailpipe exhaust from Bay Area traffic are expected to cause unhealthy air quality this weekend," air district executive officer Jack Broadbent said in a statement.

During Spare the Air days, air quality officials advise people to limit outdoor activities during the hottest part of the day and to take public transit or carpool instead of driving alone.

A forecast for high temperatures in the San Francisco Bay and Monterey Bay areas has also prompted the National Weather Service to issue excessive heat warnings for some areas.

A warning is in effect until 9 p.m. Monday for the Santa Lucia Mountains, the East Bay Hills and Diablo Range, and interior Monterey County, including Pinnacles National Park and the southern Salinas Valley.

Weather officials said high temperatures of 98 to 112 degrees are expected Sunday and Monday. Lows will mostly be in the 60s and 70s but may not get below the low 80s in the hills.

Another warning goes into effect at 11 a.m. Sunday and ends at 9 p.m. Monday for the North Bay Mountains and the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Highs will reach 95 to 105 degrees both days. Lows will mostly be in the 60s in the valleys and 70s to lower 80s in the hills.

A third warning has been issued for the inland valleys of the East Bay. At 5:05 p.m. Sunday, weather officials upgraded a heat advisory for the area to an excessive heat warning, which went into effect at 11 a.m. Sunday and ends at 9 p.m. Monday.

An excessive heat warning means heat illnesses are likely because of the hot temperatures.

Weather officials suggest residents and visitors drink plenty of fluids, stay in air conditioning, stay out of the sun and check in on relatives and neighbors.

Pets and livestock may require extra care during the heat. Also,the heat increases the risk of human-sourced wildfires, according to weather officials.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Lake County Sheriff's Deputy Dies After Car Crash]]>Wed, 23 Aug 2017 08:53:51 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/8-23-17_Lake_County_Deputy_Crash.jpg

A Lake County sheriff's deputy is believed to have "suffered some type of medical emergency" before his death following a car crash, sheriff's officials announced Wednesday.

Deputy Robert "Rob" Rumfelt, 50, was driving in a patrol car when he struck a tree along Hartley Road near 20th Street, according to sheriff's officials. First responders tried to save Rumfelt at the scene of the crash before he was transported to Sutter Lakeside Hospital. Lifesaving measures were taken once again, but Rumfelt did not survive.

Rumfelt, a lifelong resident of Lake County, began his law enforcement career with the Lakeport Police Department in 1997, according to sheriff's officials. He became a Lake County deputy sheriff in 2014.

Aside from his time mentoring younger deputies, Rumfelt also spent time as an assistant football coach at Clear Lake High School, sheriff's officials said.

Rumfelt is survived by his wife, two daughters, sister, two parents and mother, according to sheriff's officials.




Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[SMART Train Debuts in North Bay ]]>Fri, 25 Aug 2017 18:52:13 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/WEB-SMART-rail.jpg

The wait is over. North Bay commuters celebrated the grand opening of the Sonoma-Marin area Rail Transit District’s full passenger SMART train service on Friday.

A big crowd came together during the opening day celebration to enjoy a free ride and get to know the new route.

The 43-mile rail line includes 10 stations between San Rafael and Santa Rosa. The rail offers 34 weekday trips and 10 weekday runs on weekends. SMART is already planning expansions to Larkspur and Cloverdale.

“This is really setting the example for what we’re trying to do all around the state of California,” said California Secretary of Transportation, Brian Kelly. “You have tough commute corridors like the 101 here and you can’t just continue to build a lane and add more cars.”

The one-way adult fare price through all five zones is $11.50 and $5.75 for seniors, youth and passengers with disabilities. SMART will also be offering adults a $200, 31-day pass with unlimited rides and a $100 pass for seniors, youth and disabled riders.

SMART rail services will be priced at half-off through Labor Day and will return to their full price on Sept. 5.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Three-Alarm Brush Fire Threatening Homes in Vallejo]]>Mon, 21 Aug 2017 19:37:54 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/vallejo-fire-0821.jpg

Firefighters were at the scene of a three-alarm vegetation fire Monday evening in Vallejo, according to fire officials.

The blaze was burning near Lemon and Derr streets, fire officials said on social media at about 6:30 p.m., and structures are threatened.

Further information was not immediately available.



Photo Credit: Vallejo FD]]>
<![CDATA[Highway 1 in North Bay to Reopen in October]]>Wed, 23 Aug 2017 09:45:58 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Highway__in_North_Bay_to_Reopen_in_October.jpg

It will still be months until Highway 1 reopens between Muir Beach and Stinson Beach, according to the Marin Independent Journal.]]>
<![CDATA[More Whales Dying From Boat Strikes Than First Thought ]]>Tue, 22 Aug 2017 08:28:15 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/More_Whales_Die_From_Crashing_into_Ships.jpg

New research says more whales die after being hit by ships than first thought. Researchers say that from 2006 to 2016, 83 whales died off the coast of California, Oregon and Washington, but only 36 washed up on shore. Researchers say the dead whales often sink. Ship collisions are a leading cause of whale deaths.]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Traffic Stops for the Solar Eclipse]]>Mon, 21 Aug 2017 23:58:10 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Solar+Eclipse+Asia.jpg

Bay Area traffic briefly came to a stop Monday to witness the solar eclipse, as millions across the United States halted the start of the workweek to see the moon briefly take away the spotlight from the sun.

For the first time in nearly 40 years, a solar eclipse was visible in the United States, sending astronomy enthusiasts and curious onlookers into a tizzy of astronomical excitement that was brewing for weeks, months and even years.

The Bay Area was not in the path of totality this go around, but folks in the region were able catch portions of the eclipse between 9:01 a.m and 11:37 a.m. with the peak of the eclipse occurring around 10:16 a.m. Roughly 75 percent of the sun was hidden by the moon at that time.

CHP Contra Costa tweeted out a picture of cars parked on the side of a freeway, with people getting out to snap a photo of the sun.

"We truly hope everybody enjoyed their solar eclipse today which was barely visible due to our micro climate herein our Bay Area. But hopefully you were at your home, on a mountaintop, or in a safe location and not one of these people behaving badly. Can you say "Unsafe stop along the freeway for a non-emergency reason," CHP wrote on Facebook. "Wow is all we can say. How many tickets would you have written?!"

Droves of people gathered at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View to soak in the spectacle.

Claire Dulsky, a youngster from San Carlos, had her protective glasses handy as she took a peek at the partial eclipse crossing over the sky.

"I see like a bite out of the sun," she said, staring upward. "It's like a divet in the sun."

Fellow onlooker Angela Wu of Los Altos noticed a similar site.

"I'm seeing some cheese getting bitten by somebody," she laughed.

In the coming weeks, scientists will be able to see how the atmosphere reacted to the solar eclipse, thanks to satellites, test balloons and other monitoring devices sent up by NASA and other agencies. 


Here are some facts about Monday's eclipse:

What is a solar eclipse?

According to NASA, a solar eclipse occurs when the moon moves in front of the sun, creating a barrier between the two orbs. The eclipse this year lasted no more than three minutes in its totality. Along with being able to see the sun completely covered, viewers were exposed to a partial eclipse as well. That phenomenon displays the moon’s movements as it blocks out the sun. 

Where could the solar eclipse be seen?

The total eclipse in America was visible in 14 different states, according to NASA. Although California wass omitted from this list (The last occurrence in California was 128 years ago), those wishing to experience the event travelled to Oregon. Other states where the complete solar eclipse could be seen were Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska and Montana. The last location to be passed through was South Carolina.

People who reached some of the gatherings needed special glasses to view the solar eclipse. Only when the moon was completely covering the sun could spectators remove their glasses.

If looking to grab memorabilia of the event, the US Postal Service has released a stamp set of the total solar eclipse. The exclusive sheet holds 16 individual stamps that reveal the moon when a finger is placed on the image of the eclipse, heating up the stamp. The original photograph will reappear once the stamp has cooled. The reverse side holds the path of the eclipse across the United States. 




Photo Credit: Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Solar Eclipse Brings Near Darkness to Bay Area]]>Mon, 21 Aug 2017 21:39:19 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/170819-Solar-Eclipse-NASA-AMES-11.jpgA rare solar eclipse crossed over the Bay Area on Monday, leaving droves of people staring at the sky hoping to catch a glimpse of the phenomenon.

Photo Credit: Jennifer Gonzalez/NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Labor Market Strongest in SF, San Mateo, Marin Counties]]>Sun, 20 Aug 2017 09:15:07 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/now-hiring1.jpg

The labor market in the San Francisco Bay Area is the strongest in San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo counties, according to data released Friday by the California Employment Development Department.

The unemployment rate was 3.4 percent in San Francisco, 3.2 percent in San Mateo County and 3.4 percent in Marin County.

The unemployment rate in Santa Clara and Napa counties was also below 4 percent while in Alameda and Contra Costa counties the rates were 4.3 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively.

The labor market was the weakest in Solano County where the unemployment rate was 5.4 percent.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Santa Rosa Firefighters Free Kitten Trapped in Car Engine]]>Sun, 20 Aug 2017 20:27:38 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/8-19-17_SR_Kitten_Car.JPG

Firefighters with the Santa Rosa Fire Department on Saturday pulled a kitten to safety after the feline became trapped in a car engine.

The successful rescue attempt occurred around 3 p.m. along Hendley Street, according to the fire department.

Footage from the scene captured two firefighters digging under the car's hood trying to find the feline. As the firefighters pried away, faint meows from the black kitten could be heard.

The kitten was eventually freed, but before it carried on, it posed for a few photos with its rescuers. 



Photo Credit: Santa Rosa Fire Department]]>
<![CDATA[Novato Police Search for ATM Tampering Suspects]]>Wed, 16 Aug 2017 10:33:55 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Novato_Police_Search_for_Suspects_for_Tempering_With_Gas_Sta.jpg

Novato police are looking for three men suspected of installing a suspicious device on an ATM inside a gas station. Surveillance video captured the suspects entering the 76 station on Ignacio Boulevard near Highway 101. Two of the men distracted the store clerk while the third suspect installed the device. The clerk discovered the item after the suspects left. Police did not say what the device does. Anyone who recognizes the men is asked to contact Novato police.

Normal
0




false
false
false

EN-US
X-NONE
X-NONE











MicrosoftInternetExplorer4













]]>
<![CDATA[Home Prices on the Rise in Sonoma County]]>Wed, 16 Aug 2017 10:11:00 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Home_Prices_on_the_Rise_in_Sonoma_County.jpg

The housing market in Sonoma County is making big gains and continues to rebound from the recession. The Press Democrat reported that the county's taxable property is at an all-time high - valued at $85 billion. That is five percent more than last year.]]>
<![CDATA[Massive Tree Die-Off in the North Bay]]>Tue, 15 Aug 2017 09:37:07 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Massive_Tree_Die-Off_in_the_North_Bay.jpg

The Marin Municipal Water District is reportedly conducting a new study on sudden oak death syndrome. The die-off of native tanoak and live oak trees continues to increase fire danger along the Bolinas Ridge, and now the water district is trying to figure out a way to stop it. The Marin Independent journal reported the study will look for ways to remove the diseased trees.
]]>
<![CDATA[Zipcar Reportedly Coming to Santa Rosa]]>Tue, 15 Aug 2017 08:54:14 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Zipcar_Reportedly_Coming_to_Santa_Rosa.jpg

Zipcar is reportedly coming to Santa Rosa. The Press Democrat reported that the city council is working on signing a deal that will allow the company to operate two of its rental cars from city parking lots. One would be at the downtown SMART train station and the other would be next to the Russian River Brewery. City leaders hope the service will be an environmentally friendly option for people trying to get around town.]]>
<![CDATA[Wildfire in Napa County Now 85 Percent Contained: Cal Fire]]>Sun, 13 Aug 2017 15:13:35 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/CalFireCanyonFireSunday.jpg

Firefighters are wrapping up operations at the Canyon Fire in Napa County, and the 114-acre wildfire is now 85 percent contained, a Cal Fire spokeswoman said Sunday.

Firefighters are continuing to strengthen the control lines and work the interior hot spots within the fire perimeter, Cal Fire spokeswoman Suzie Blankenship said.

The firefighters are also doing fire suppression repair, Blankenship said. Cal Fire repairs any damage to property, such as cut fences or gates, or the land, that occurred during the fire, and that's what's going on now, she said in an email.

Firefighting crews will be reduced in numbers as containment continues, Blankenship. At the last report, 164 fire personnel were on the scene, down from more than 300 at one point.



Photo Credit: Cal Fire]]>
<![CDATA[Nearly 1,000 Evacuate From Fire at Sonoma Campground]]>Sun, 13 Aug 2017 15:00:02 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SD-Fire-Engine-Generic.jpg

An early morning fire at a Northern California campground sent nearly 1,000 people fleeing to safety.

The Santa Rosa Press-Democrat reports the fire began just before 1 a.m. Sunday at the Liberty Glen campground near the shores of Lake Sonoma. It grew to about 2.7 acres before firefighters put it out.

A U.S. Army Corps of Engineer park ranger said 886 people were booked at the campground at the time.

One of the campers, Tait Smith, told the newspaper the fire sent people shouting and scurrying to get in their cars, leaving behind shoes and camping gear.

He said it took about 10 minutes before fire crews arrived to the scene.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: Monica Garske]]>
<![CDATA[Rising Number of Sea Lions Treated for Poisoning]]>Sun, 13 Aug 2017 07:49:45 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SeaLionsGeneric.jpg

Marine experts in the San Francisco Bay Area say an alarming number of sea lions are being treated for poisoning linked to toxic algae blooms.

The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito says it has treated 68 sea lions suffering from domoic acid poisoning, compared with 70 in all of 2016.

Michael Milstein, a spokesman for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, says the number "is more pronounced than we've seen in the past few years."

Most of the animals are being rescued from the Central Coast and brought to the center, but experts said domoic acid levels are rising and creeping further up the coast.

The sea lions are exposed to the toxins when they eat surface fish such as sardines and anchovies that consume the algae.


Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Blaze Burning in Napa County 60 Percent Contained: Cal Fire]]>Sat, 12 Aug 2017 12:30:21 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/8-11-17_Napa_Fire_3.jpg

Firefighters on Saturday have reached 60 percent containment as they strive to completely extinguish and control a wildfire burning near Lake Berryessa in Napa County, according to Cal Fire.

The blaze, which ignited just before 1 p.m. on Friday, has scorched 114 acres near Highway 128 and Sage Canyon Road, according to Cal Fire.

Evacuation warnings have been lifted and previously closed roads have been reopened, according to Cal Fire spokeswoman Suzie Blankenship. The evacuation warnings were lifted around noon on Saturday.

The warnings were in effect along State Highway 128 between Turtle Rock and the Somerston Estate Winery, located at 3450 Sage Canyon Road, and between Turtle Rock and Capell Valley Crest.

State Highway 128 was closed at Lower Chiles Road and at Capell Valley Cross Road, but these closures are no longer in effect, Blankenship said.

Nonetheless, Blankenship said, "Please use caution when traveling through the fire area, for firefighters and firefighting equipment will continue to work in the area until the fire is 100 percent contained."

Firefighters are now working on improving the containment and control lines, Blankenship said. There are 15 fire engines, 16 fire crews, two helicopters, two bulldozers and a total of 343 people on hand fighting the fire, she said.

The terrain is rugged, steep and rocky, with heavy dry brush and pockets of timber, Blankenship noted.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[So-Called 'Downtown LA Predator' Moves to Rohnert Park]]>Fri, 11 Aug 2017 22:54:04 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/DanielPatrickCilley.jpg

Police in Rohnert Park on Friday sent out a message to the public informing them that the self-proclaimed "Downtown LA Predator" is settling down in the North Bay city.

Daniel "Dan" Patrick Cilley, 33, was previously convicted of a sexual offense in Los Angeles County, and police consider him to be at a "high risk to reoffend," but Cilley said he's focused on following the law.

"Just don't worry at all," he told NBC Bay Area. "I mean, I did, obviously if you saw the videos that I've made, yeah you think, I mean it is bad to disrespect people if they don't want to be on camera. I'm not going to do that anymore."

Cilley videotaped a number of women, including a girl, while making lewd and harassing comments before posting that material online, according to police. He did not touch a child during his run of videotaping.

For the rest of his life, Cilley is barred from being alone with minors without a parent or guardian present, taking photos or videos of children without consent, and hanging out where young people frequently gather, according to police.

Cilley is on three years of unsupervised probation for annoying a minor. He said he is now focused on moving on and finding a job. 

"I did make mistakes," he said. "I've crossed the line."

Cilley is staying with family at the McDouall Apartments located on College View Drive, according to police.



Photo Credit: Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety]]>
<![CDATA[Blaze Chars More Than 100 Acres in Napa County: Cal Fire]]>Fri, 11 Aug 2017 15:06:43 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/8-11-17_Napa_Fire.jpg

A wildfire burning near Lake Berryessa in Napa County on Friday has scorced 114 acres, according to Cal Fire.

The blaze, which was 25 percent contained as of 9:15 p.m., ignited just before 1 p.m. near Highway 128 and Sage Canyon Road, according to Cal Fire.

Mandatory evacuation orders initially set in place for some areas along Highway 128 have since been lifted, according to Cal Fire. Evacuation orders are now listed as optional.

Further information was not available.

Stay tuned for details on this developing story.




Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Teen Missing Overnight on Mt. Tamalpais Reunited With Father]]>Thu, 10 Aug 2017 12:26:03 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/8-10-17-teenager-missing-16-year-old.jpg

Marin County sheriff's deputies along with search and rescue teams on Thursday found a 16-year-old girl who was missing overnight on Mount Tamalpais.

Sarah Jane Tang and a friend went on a hike on the Rock Springs Trail around 12 p.m. Wednesday, deputies wrote on the Twitter. The pair got separated, but crews found the other girl around 9:30 p.m. because her phone was working at the time. 

Sarah, who was reunited with her father, was also carrying her cell phone, but it died overnight so she wasn't able to call for help.

Around 30 people combed the area starting around midnight, deputies said. However, the darkness and then the fog posed challenges. 



Photo Credit: Marin County Sheriff's Office via Twitter]]>
<![CDATA[Northern California Mountain Lion Kittens Captured on Camera]]>Wed, 09 Aug 2017 16:26:47 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP_17221731375090.jpg

Northern California researchers have taken new photographs of two mountain lion kittens they are tracking.

The Press Democrat in Santa Rosa reports the Audubon Canyon Ranch research team captured pictures of the kittens Aug. 2 in Sonoma County's Glen Ellen, north of San Francisco.

Researchers say the mountain lion, named P1, gave birth to three kittens in April but they believe only two are alive.

The kittens were last photographed when they were just 10 days old.

The kittens are expected to stay with their mother for up to two years before they separate and hunt for themselves.

The team follows P1's movements through her GPS collar.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: Quinton Martins/Audubon Canyon Ranch via AP]]>
<![CDATA[Man Severely Injured in Electrocution, Fall From Tower]]>Tue, 08 Aug 2017 23:39:42 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sr+tower+fall-0808.jpg

A man was electrocuted while climbing a PG&E tower, fell about 80 feet to the ground and ignited a small grass fire in Santa Rosa on Tuesday afternoon, according to the Santa Rosa Fire Department.

About 1:45 p.m., fire crews responded to reports of a grass fire near the Prince Memorial Greenway-Santa Rosa Creek, fire officials said. When they arrived, they found a man lying on the ground near a PG&E transmission tower.

Bystanders had pulled the man away from the burning grass and used fire extinguishers to stop the flames, fire officials said.

Witnesses said the man was about 80 feet up the approximately 100-foot tower when he was electrocuted and fell, fire officials said. He suffered significant burns and trauma, was treated at the scene and then transported to a local trauma center, fire officials said. He was later airlifted to UC Davis Medical Center for further care.

The fire burned a grassy area about 20 feet in diameter, fire officials said.

About 2,200 people were temporarily affected by a short power outage.

Santa Rosa police were investigating the incident.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Marin County Contemplates Transportation Future ]]>Mon, 07 Aug 2017 10:01:02 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/8-7-17-marin-transportation.jpg

Marin County transportation officials are looking to hear from the public as they prepare a plan for the next 25 years. The Marin Independent Journal reported that the plan is called "Getting Around Marin." The goal is to study and analyze current traffic conditions and then look for ways to grow. The public can submit comments to the transportation department until September 22.]]>
<![CDATA[Travis AFB Airman Returns Home, Surprises Family in Vallejo]]>Sun, 06 Aug 2017 23:47:49 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sgt+thomas-0806.jpg

An assistant flight chief from Travis Air Force Base got an early trip home Sunday and surprised his family at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo.

Technical Sgt. Jacob Thomas was deployed to Kuwait in January and made it back to the Bay Area earlier than expected. Discovery Kingdom officials helped Thomas set up a surprise reunion with his wife and four children during the park's dolphin and sea lion show.

With his family sitting in the audience none the wiser, Thomas was called up as a volunteer to meet the dolphins and surprised his wife Kristen and their children: 15-year-old Jacob Jr., 10-year-old Jordyn, 7-year-old Riley and 19-month-old Kayden.




Photo Credit: Six Flags Discovery Kingdom]]>
<![CDATA[SB Lanes of Golden Gate Bridge to Close for Pavement Repair]]>Mon, 07 Aug 2017 10:30:58 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-543435346.jpg

All but one southbound lane on the Golden Gate Bridge will be closed between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m. starting Monday and lasting through the rest of the week for pavement repair, according to bridge officials.

Only one southbound lane on the bridge will be available to drivers beginning tomorrow and ending Friday.

All southbound traffic will be diverted through the toll booth at the far east side of the toll plaza, bridge officials said.

During the nightly southbound lane reduction, Golden Gate Transit buses won't stop at the southbound toll plaza bus stop. Riders should take the nearest bus stop at Richardson Avenue at Francisco Street, according to bridge officials.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[New Details Emerge in Fatal Santa Rosa Police Shooting]]>Sun, 06 Aug 2017 13:16:56 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/8-5-17_Santa_Rosa_OIS.jpg

A Santa Rosa police officer shot a suspect several times and killed him as the suspect allegedly advanced on officers with a knife Saturday, the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office said Sunday morning.

The sheriff's office is investigating the officer-involved shooting that happened Saturday after a call came in to the Santa Rosa Police Department at 5:58 a.m. from a residence on the 2400 block of West Steele Lane.

The sheriff's office today released a statement with additional details about what happened between Santa Rosa Police Department officers and people at the residence.

Two people called Santa Rosa police Saturday morning, one of whom spoke Spanish and used a translation line service, and one of whom was crying and said someone in the home had a small laceration and needed medical attention, the sheriff's office said.

The first Santa Rosa police officer arrived at the home at 6:03 a.m., followed by two others at 6:05 a.m., the sheriff's office said.

At 6:12, officers asked the police dispatcher to send another officer and said that the suspect had a knife. At 6:15, an officer radioed that a Taser was deployed and was ineffective. At 6:17, a patrol sergeant arrived and at 6:18 an officer radioed that shots were fired, according to the sheriff's office.

The residence houses several different families and "numerous residents" were there Saturday morning, including at least two children who were in a different part of the house, the sheriff's office said.

One person there had a laceration, and that person was taken by ambulance to the hospital for treatment, according to the sheriff's office.

Police found an "agitated" resident in a bedroom under a mattress, armed with a 12-inch, sharp kitchen knife, the sheriff's office said.

The officers Tased the man and used pepper spray to try to disarm him, the sheriff's office said.

The sheriff's office doesn't know how many times the Taser was activated or how long it was activated. This information will be downloaded from the Taser and available later.

The officers tried to talk to the man "for several minutes" to deescalate the situation, the sheriff's office said. The man was able to talk to the officers in English.

After several minutes of negotiations, the man advanced on the officers with the knife in his hand, the sheriff's office said. One officer shot the man several times, according to the sheriff's office.

The man went down and officers gave first aid, but the man died at the scene, the sheriff's office said.

A team of about 20 detectives was called in to investigate, and the team canvassed the neighborhood, did witness interviews, wrote and served search warrants, examined the crime scene and collected evidence, according to the sheriff's office.

An autopsy is scheduled for Monday morning. The dead man's identity is not being released at this time, the sheriff's office said.

Santa Rosa police said yesterday that the officers involved would be placed on administrative leave, as is customary in such cases.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Knife-Wielding Man Shot, Killed in Santa Rosa: Police]]>Sat, 05 Aug 2017 16:47:47 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/8-5-17_Santa_Rosa_OIS.jpg

At least one Santa Rosa police officer shot and killed a suspect Saturday morning who, according to police, approached officers with a knife in his hand.

According to a Santa Rosa Police Department press release, a call came in at 5:58 a.m. of a person at a residence on the 2400 block of West Steele Lane who was "acting crazy". Police entered the home and found the suspect hiding under a bed with a knife in his hand.

Santa Rosa police said officers ordered the suspect to drop the knife. The officers tried to subdue the suspect with less lethal measures, including "electronic control devices" and "chemical agents" several times, but the suspect didn't comply with officers' commands.

It was then when the suspect approached officers with the knife in his hands and was subsequently shot. The suspect died at the scene.

The officer-involved shooting, which was recorded on body cameras on officers, is being investigated by the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office. Santa Rosa police said the officers involved will be placed on administrative leave.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Two Armed Men Steal Marijuana, Cash From Distribution Center]]>Fri, 04 Aug 2017 19:24:23 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/8-4-17-pot-robbery.jpg

Police across Northern California are on the lookout for two men accused of robbing a Sonoma County medical marijuana distribution center at gunpoint Thursday evening, sheriff's officials said.

A female employee of the distribution center north of Santa Rosa noticed a red Honda Accord approach her as she walked to her car around 7 p.m., Sonoma County sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Crum said.

The employee got in her car, locked and started it, but a man wearing black clothing and gloves blocked her car with the Honda to prevent her from leaving, Crum said.

The suspect approached the employee's car door with a handgun and demanded the employee take him inside the distribution center, Crum said.

Once inside, another man entered the business and both suspects ordered the female employee to show them the distribution center's vault and open it, Crum said.

The suspects bound the woman's wrists and ankles with zip ties, forced her to get onto the ground and not look at them. The pair left in the Honda with an undisclosed amount of cash and marijuana from the vault, Crum said.

The victim was able to free herself and called for help, Crum said.

The suspects' vehicle was described as a newer, dark red Honda with paper plates and tinted windows, Crum said.

Crum said marijuana was not being grown in the distribution center warehouse which he described as "well established and sophisticated." He said the sheriff's office is investigating whether the distribution center is legal under the state's medical marijuana laws.

Crum said the marijuana robbery is one reason why Sonoma County Sheriff Steve Freitas, who retired Tuesday, was opposed to the voter approved Proposition 64 that legalizes marijuana for adults in California.

There are rules requiring security personnel at dispensaries, and distribution sites are required to present security plans when applying for permits. State law, however, doesn’t give any specific requirements about on-site guards – just recommendations.

The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office says businesses should use more than one employee at closing time each night so that workers are not left so vulnerable to robberies.

NBC Bay Area's Thom Jensen contributed to this report. 



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Ex-Senior Living Facility Payroll Clerk Charged With Theft]]>Wed, 02 Aug 2017 10:55:36 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/120916+cash+money+generic.jpg

A Sebastopol woman has been charged with stealing more than $250,000 from an assisted living facility in Windsor where she worked as a payroll clerk, a Sonoma County sheriff's sergeant said Wednesday morning.

Frances Farias, 59, allegedly created 10 fictitious employee accounts at Oakmont Senior Living at 9240 Old Redwood Highway over three years, Sgt. Spencer Crum said.

The payroll accounts included contractor employees who had done work for Oakmont Senior Living and completely fictitious employees, Crum said.

The employee accounts were directed at four different online banking institutions that detectives determined were actually owned by Farias, according to Crum.

Oakmont Senior Living paid the fictitious employees checks totaling more than $256,000 over three years, Crum said.

The grand theft and identity theft investigation began Jan. 13 when the company's management called the sheriff's office to report Farias, the former payroll clerk, funneled funds to secondary fictitious employees, Crum said.

Farias left the company in May 2016. The new payroll clerk noticed the accounting irregularities, which triggered the investigation, Crum said.

Farias was arrested on a $2 million warrant on July 25 at her home where evidence of the scheme was found. She is being investigated for several other fraudulent schemes that could lead to more criminal charges, Crum said.

Farias was arraigned last Thursday on one count of grand theft and four counts of identity theft. She is being held in Sonoma County Jail under $100,000 bail and is scheduled to enter a plea on Aug. 15.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Man Accused of Abandoning Baby Charged With DUI, Hit-and-Run]]>Fri, 04 Aug 2017 17:43:21 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/197*120/Fairfield-Man-Abandoned-Child-Headshot.jpg

A Fairfield man charged with endangering and abandoning his 16-day-old son last month has also been charged with DUI and hit-and-run causing property damage.

Daniel Mitchell, 18, pleaded not guilty to the additional charges Thursday. His next court appearance is Sept. 14 when a preliminary hearing on all the charges will be set, the Solano County District Attorney's Office said.

Mitchell previously pleaded not guilty to the felony child endangerment and abandonment charges.

The complaint alleges Mitchell, 18, committed the offenses while he was out on bail in another case. He also has been charged with a misdemeanor count of possession of cocaine.

Mitchell allegedly left his 16-day-old son alone in a Suisun City shopping center parking lot on July 24. Employees of a barbershop in the Sunset Center shopping center at 135 Sunset Ave. found the infant in a car seat and called police around 3:15 p.m.

The infant was taken to the NorthBay Medical Center and was transferred to Children's Hospital in Oakland.

Mitchell and his vehicle were recorded on a video surveillance camera in the shopping center, police said. He was arrested on suspicion of DUI and hit-and-run after a traffic collision in Fairfield while Suisun City police were investigating the abandoned infant.



Photo Credit: Solano County District Attorney's Office]]>
<![CDATA[Sweltering Temperatures Blanket Most of Bay Area]]>Wed, 02 Aug 2017 10:38:56 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/07-29-2015-heat-sun-weather-generic-1.JPG

Sizzling temperatures will return to several locations across the Bay Area Wednesday as the region welcomes an uncommon threat: thunderstorms.

An area of monsoonal moisture will move into the southern portion of the Bay Area by the end of Wednesday, packing a chance of thunderstorms and dry lightning strikes. The system will also make for above-average humidity.

Hot temperatures in the inland valleys and locations above 750 feet have prompted the National Weather Service to issue a heat advisory through 9 p.m. Thursday.

Livermore on Wednesday is expected to top the charts at 103 degrees, Concord is forecasted to settle around 102 degrees and Antioch should peak around 101 degrees.

Moving west, Oakland is slated to hover around 80 degrees while San Francisco will max out around 75 degrees.

Areas in and around San Jose as well as locations in the North Bay will flirt with temperatures in the mid-90s.

For those looking for heat relief, the coast is the place to be. Half Moon Bay will peak around 66 degrees while Santa Cruz will enjoy temperatures in the high-70s.



Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Woman, 74, Mistakes Break for Gas, Slams Into Hardware Store]]>Fri, 04 Aug 2017 18:32:32 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/WEB-Hardware-store.jpg

A 74-year-old woman, who mistook her car's brake for the gas pedal, plowed through a wall and ended up inside a Garrett Ace Hardware in Healdsburg Friday morning.

According to police, the driver and her passenger were not hurt, but the vehicle did cause damage to the store. 

In surveillance video, the vehicle is seen crashing through the wall and pushing out a row of Yeti coolers and Weber grills. 

"It was really loud, but luckily no one was standing in the area," Assistant Manager Ryan Scott said. 

Garrett Ace Hardware will not be filing charges. 




Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Voters to Mull Novato Flood Control Tax Measure]]>Wed, 02 Aug 2017 08:19:21 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Voters_to_Mull_Novato_Flood_Control_Tax_Measure.jpg

People of Novato will head to the polls this November to decide if they should pay a flood control tax. The Marin County Board of Supervisors argreed to put the measure on the ballot Tuesday. A single family home would pay $47 per year regardless of the acreage. The county hopes to raise $20 million through the tax measure.]]>
<![CDATA[Students Step Up to Keep Varsity Football Alive at Novato HS]]>Tue, 01 Aug 2017 20:18:37 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0801-2017-NovatoHigh.jpg

Thanks to increased interest in the program, varsity football is back in play at Novato High School.

The move comes after the team previously asked for permission to abort the season because less than 10 students showed interest in suiting up for the upcoming fall season.

Novato High was a football powerhouse 10 years ago when it played Oceanside for the state championship. But this summer's turn out for preseason practice was so low administrators decided they could not field a team.

Players interviewed Tuesday said they never got a fair shot from the assistant principal.

"He gave us a chance and then he totally blew us off out of nowhere," said Eathan Portillo, a junior at Novato High. "I mean it's just not fair."

In Petaluma, former Novato High football player Scott Dennison has started printing T-shirts to help save the season. Parents also started calling the school.

Parents and players started using social media and called local reporters to spread the news of a possible lost season.

On Tuesday afternoon, Assistant Principal Greg Fister was on campus and told reporters the school's decision to withdraw from league play will be reversed.

"We've had excellent parent support the last couple of days," Fister said. "Our goal is to have 20 to 25 juniors and seniors that are ready to play football on Monday for the Hornets."

The school has called for a meeting of student athletes and parents for 6 p.m. Wednesday on campus. The players and their parents are hoping for a convincing turnout.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Heat Advisory in Effect in Parts of Bay Area]]>Tue, 01 Aug 2017 20:51:23 -0700https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/072617+heat+generic+hot+weather+generic.jpg

Temperatures in the inland parts and higher elevations of the San Francisco and Monterey Bay areas will be much hotter than usual Tuesday and Wednesday, National Weather Service officials said.

A heat advisory is in effect until 9 p.m. Wednesday for higher elevations such as the North Bay mountains, mainly around Lake Berryessa, the East Bay hills and Santa Cruz Mountains.

Weather service officials may issue a heat advisory for inland locations in the two areas if forecasted temperatures rise slightly.

A heat advisory means dangerous temperatures are expected, potentially causing heat-related illnesses.

In inland areas and those at high elevations, temperatures are expected to reach 100 to 105 degrees with some areas approaching 110 degrees.

In Concord on Tuesday, De La Salle band members and football players had abbreviated practices in the sweltering heat as the school's athletic trainer closely monitored both groups.

"We have water coolers out here," trainer Doug Bauman said. "There's water on each field."

Band members took frequent breaks and moved much of their practice into the shade. The football team also made modifications.

"We won't have equipment on today," Bauman said. "Sometimes it's a matter of taking off equipment to allow bodies to cool a little better. Sometimes it's a matter of changing when (what time) practice is."

Meanwhile, weather service officials urge residents to look inside their cars before locking them to be sure no pets or children have been left behind.

Temperatures near the coast will be more seasonal and above-average elsewhere. While it may be cooler at the coast, visitors should check for any beach hazards that could make visiting beaches risky.

Weather service officials said prolonged exposure to high temperatures increases the chance that people, especially those with respiratory conditions, will suffer heat-related illnesses.

Also, pets and livestock may need extra care during the hot weather. The chance of wildfires is also higher, according to the weather service.

During the heat, residents and visitors are encouraged to drink enough fluids, stay in air conditioning, stay out of the sun and check on relatives and neighbors.

On Tuesday, several community centers in San Jose offered extended hours to help residents beat the heat.

The community centers, spread across the city, will all be open until 9 p.m. City officials said that the centers act as cooling centers when temperatures reach or exceed 97 degrees.

The locations are Bascom Community Center at 1000 S. Bascom Ave., Camden Community Center at 3369 Union Ave., Mayfair Community Center at 2039 Kammerer Ave., Roosevelt Community Center at 901 E. Santa Clara St. and the Seventrees Community Center at 3590 Cas Drive.

The city of San Ramon also released locations and hours for cooling centers this week:

Tuesday: San Ramon Community Center 8:30 am-9 pm; Alcosta Senior and Community Center 8:30 am-9 pm; Dougherty Station Community Center 8:30 am-5 pm; Dougherty Station Library noon-8 pm; San Ramon Library 10 am-8 pm.

Wednesday: San Ramon Community Center 8:30 am-9 pm; Alcosta Senior and Community Center 8:30 am-7 pm; Dougherty Station Community Center 8:30-5 pm; Dougherty Station Library noon-8 pm; San Ramon Library 10 am-8 pm.

Thursday: San Ramon Community Center 8:30 am-8 pm; Alcosta Senior and Community Center 8:30 am-9 pm; Dougherty Station Community Center 8:30 am-5:30 pm; Dougherty Station Library 10 am-8 pm; San Ramon Library 10 am-8 pm.

Friday: San Ramon Community Center 8:30 am-5 pm; Alcosta Senior and Community Center 8:30 am-7 pm; Dougherty Station Community Center 8:30 am-5 pm; Dougherty Station Library 10 am-5 pm; San Ramon Library 10 am-5 pm.

NBC Bay Area's Jodi Hernandez contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>