Updates on Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino fire recovery

Homes reduced to ashes on Flintwood Drive in the Hidden Valley neighborhood of north Santa Rosa, California. October 9, 2017. (Erik Castro / for The Press Democrat)

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Here are short news items about how local governments and organizations are helping with the recovery from the October fires in Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino, Lake and Solano counties.

Fire debris removal

The City of Santa Rosa and County of Sonoma have established the Sonoma County Consolidated Fire Debris Removal Program (Program) to focus on removal of household hazardous waste and other fire-related debris. A Debris Removal Frequently Asked Website: sonomacountyrecovers.org/debris-removal.

SSU to study fires

Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University announced a wildfire impact assessment study that was launched on Oct. 11 to evaluate the immediate and long-term effects of recent wildfires on the North Coast wine industry.

Mendocino County aid

A Disaster Recovery Center, jointly operated by the State of California’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has opened in Mendocino County, to offer residents affected by the devastating October 2017 wildfires a one-stop-shop for disaster assistance.

The center is located at 1375 N. State St. in Ukiah. The center is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week. The center offers a continuation of services from a previous location at Mendocino College.

Damage reaches billions

Damage from the recent North Coast fires has totaled more than $3 billion to date, state Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said . That figure makes them the costliest wildfires in American history in terms of insured loss.

The total from Sonoma County alone has climbed to $2.8 billion so far, which alone surpasses the 1991 Oakland Hills fire, with $1.7 billion in costs at the time, according to the Insurance Information Institute, a national industry trade organization that compiles claims data. The 2015 Valley fire in Lake County had been ranked as the sixth costliest at $921 million in damages.

Appraiser in the field

Beginning Monday, Nov. 6, the Sonoma County Assessor’s office will send teams of two appraisers to the affected fire areas to inspect fire damaged properties. The appraisers’ field work will help process fire damage reassessments and may lead to adjusted property tax bills.

Winery waivers

The federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) will grant payment waivers to wineries that were affected by the recent wildfires.

The agency said it would waive on a case-by-case basis the late filing, payment, or deposit penalties related to excise taxes on wine, distilled spirits and beer products.

The wineries must be located in areas that have been declared a major disaster area by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. All four North Coast counties — Sonoma, Mendocino, Napa and Lake — are under such designation.

Napa opens Pop-Up Center

Napa County Planning, Building and Environmental Services (PBES) has established a Pop-Up Recovery Center (PURC) to address all permitting related to the 2017 Napa Fire Complex within the unincorporated areas.

Information provided includes government or private debris and ash removal programs, assistance with Right of Entry Forms and questions about EPA/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers work, temporary electrical permits, agricultural electrical permits, demolition permits for private debris and ash removal, and building permits for the reconstruction or replacement of structures within the fire areas.

The separate Pop-Up Recovery Center will be open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, in the Auditor’s Conference Room in the basement of the Napa County Administrative Building, 1195 Third St., in Napa.

Wine industry helping

Sonoma County Grape Growers Foundation and the Sonoma County Farm Bureau have established a housing recovery fund for agricultural workers and their families who were displaced from their homes. The John Jordan Foundation/Jordan Vineyard & Winery and American Ag Credit have each contributed $25,000 to the effort.

The Foley Family Charitable Foundation and Foley Family Wines have given $225,000 for relief efforts, divided among the Sonoma County Resilience Fund under the auspices of the Community Foundation Sonoma County, the Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund operated by the Napa Valley Community Foundation, and the Sonoma County recovery fund for agricultural workers.

Trinchero Family Estates in St. Helena has donated $250,000 to the Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund.

Creative Sonoma, a division of the County of Sonoma’s Economic Development Board, has announced that Creative Sonoma Recovery Fund Applications available to members of the Sonoma Creative communit. Eligibility guidelines and applications are available at CreativeSonoma.org

Vacation rental service Airbnb is aiding efforts to find immediate free housing for victims of the North Bay wildfires and exploring ways to use its network to provide long-term shelter for people displaced by a natural disaster that has exacerbated the local housing crisis.

First Federal relief

Personal contributions for fire relief from employees and directors were matched by First Federal Savings of San Rafael were matched by the bank 2:1 resulting in a $15,000 check being presented to the American Red Cross, the company stated.

First Federal also secured an additional $5,000 match from the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco. The match was made available to member banks donating to charities in response to the disaster.

AutoCamp Russian River will be donating 100% of its proceeds from all reservations made until Nov. 7 to the Sonoma County Fire Relief efforts, the company reported.

Rodney Strong Vineyards of Healdsburg has donated $100,000 to the Community Foundation Sonoma County’s Sonoma County Resilience Fund to aid residents who were displaced by the recent wildfires.