Special Coverage: 2017 Fires

North Bay business briefs: Nov. 15, 2017

Keysight and Medtronic return to Santa Rosa's burned-out Fountaingrove area. Also, Truett-Hurst releases Weight Watchers wine. Santa Rosa Junior College gets $100,000 for fire relief. Sixty bee hives lost in wildfires.

SMART train offering passes to fire victims

Individual Relief Passes will be distributed by several Sonoma County organizations.

North Coast winemakers clear the air on ‘smoke taint’

Unlike 2008, relatively few winegrapes were on the vines when wildfires raged in Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino counties this season, but winemakers are busy trying to clear the air on the emerging science of ‘smoke taint.’

FEMA distributes $10 million, pushes ahead with cleanup

Nearly 1,000 parcel owners of property burned in North Bay fires have filed no claims

Rebuilt homes in Santa Rosa’s fire-leveled Coffey Park by summer?

One developer working with a group trying to rebuild thousands of North Bay homes destroyed by wildfires says the first houses could be completed by next summer. The key is getting homeowners and lenders on board with a mass-build project.

Rush for rentals began as fires raged

Wine Country fires strains a rental market already under pressure in Sonoma County.

North Bay leaders to tackle fire-recovery strategies

Five local and state leaders are set to headline the Project: Rebuild conference in Santa Rosa on Thursday to discuss plans for recovery from the massive wildfires in Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino counties.

Meet the former FEMA director leading a major fire-recovery effort

North Bay Business Journal caught up with James Lee Witt, named to lead Project: Rebuild, formed to help recover from disastrous fires in Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino counties. Witt ran FEMA from 1993 to 2001 under the Clinton administration.

Santa Rosa Vista clinic destroyed by wildfire

Santa Rosa Community Health’s largest campus served 24,000 people annually before it was destroyed by the Tubbs fire.

EPA warns of bogus agents as Napa, Sonoma fire cleanup 75% done

U.S. EPA has surveyed and cleaned up about 5,570 properties in Napa and Sonoma counties so far. The agency warns of bogus agents.

Debris removal aid deadline for Napa County

Government paid removal is available for residential buildings destroyed in the wildfires.

PG&E says someone else’s power line may have started Tubbs fire

In legal filings, PG&E lawyers noted that private power equipment was seized by Cal Fire investigators in the area where the deadly Tubbs fire is believed to have started.

California treasurer offers North Bay burn-zone-recovery aid

California Treasurer John Chiang offered his assistance Wednesday to the North Bay’s fire rebuilding efforts.

Updates on the North Bay fire recovery

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

Federal bill would end tax deduction for future wildfires, earthquakes

A proposed bill in Congress would eliminate the deduction for personal losses from future wildfires and other natural disasters. Victims of the North Bay fires this year would have to report losses by Tax Day or file for an extension.

Visit Wine Country, state tourism group urges

A California tourism group’s $2 million campaign to attract Wine Country visitors after the fires begins this Sunday with a full-page advertisement in The New York Times.

Keysight reopens

Keysight Technologies in Santa Rosa has reopened its campus there after fires.

North Bay fire-recovery conference set for Nov. 16

Former FEMA Director and Rebuild North Bay interim head James Lee Witt and state Sens. Mike McGuire and Bill Dodd will headline the Nov. 16 Business Journal conference Impact Project: Rebuild, focused on North Bay fire recovery.

Questions smolder for North Coast wine business after fires

Those who provide the North Coast wine industry with capital and find homes for its excess fruit and wine are looking toward impacts, though a fraction of the business, that may take a months to uncover.

Free job postings for Sonoma, Napa businesses

Instawork is offering free hospitality-related job posts to businesses in Sonoma and Napa counties to help workers left unemployed by the fires.

SBA fire help center opens

U.S. Small Business Administration opens a business-recovery office in Sonoma County Economic Development Board quarters in Santa Rosa, offering information to fire victims on loans.

Career Advice: How can we get along at work after the fires?

Getting back to work after the devastating fires is not easy, especially for those who lost their homes or are still displaced. But all of us in the Northern California fire region are experiencing collective grief and weariness. Given that stress, how do we strive to get along? Career coach Joan Tabb offers tips for different personalities.

EPA hazardous-waste cleanup one-third done in Sonoma and Napa counties

Thousands of hazardous containers have been collected from thousands of sites in Napa and Sonoma counties since last week. U.S. EPA has done post-fire cleanups before but ‘nothing of this magnitude,’ an official said.

New PG&E reports show equipment problems near fires’ origins

PG&E documented 10 sites with damaged power lines and equipment near where deadly fires started last month in Sonoma and Napa counties, according to reports released by regulators.

After fires, Luther Burbank to reopen

The first new show at Luther Burbank Center for the Arts north of Santa Rosa will run Nov. 9.

Number of PG&E fire lawsuits growing

Lawyers say more than 100 North Bay residents are suing Pacific Gas & Electric Co. over fire-related damage, and the number will reach thousands.

Napa offers more fire-recovery help

County building and planning officials opened another recovery center opened to address permitting related to the 2017 fires in unincorporated areas.

Opinion: Health care provider housing needed after fires

With so many of their homes destroyed by fire, medical professionals in Sonoma County need solutions to house and retain them, writes Dieter Thurow of Healdsburg.

Vine Notes: 3 steps to maximizing business fire coverage

If your winery, vineyard or other wine-related business has sustained a fire loss, here are steps for you to take in working with your insurers to ensure that you receive the maximum benefits, write three experts.

Sonoma County OKs private cleanup option for destroyed homes

If they opt out of the free government cleanup, homeowners will need to fill out an alternate application along with a work plan to county health officials.

Fires now costliest in US history

The total of insured losses from Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and Lake counties has totaled $3.2 billion so far, surpassing the 1991 Oakland Hills fire, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

Fires destroy marijuana crop at harvest time; millions in taxes at risk

The Northern California fires affected all sectors of the burgeoning industry including cultivators, manufacturers and distributors.

After burning twice in 53 years, should Santa Rosa’s Fountaingrove even be rebuilt?

Some are asking whether it’s wise to rebuild Fountaingrove as it was before the Tubbs fire, given that it has now burned to the ground twice in 53 years and wasn’t built according to city hillside rules to begin with.

North Bay business briefs

Local prosecutors are alerting property owners to bogus applications for Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster help. SNAP (CalFresh) EBT cards can be used for hot and dine-in foods for a short time.

Napa, Sonoma hotels adapt after fires

After housing evacuees and firefighters, lodgings in Napa and Sonoma counties are prepared to welcome tourists back and are planning to add 3,450 rooms.

Editorial: In the aftermath of the fires, buy local

We lost businesses and hundreds of jobs, firms were shut down for several days and normal spending patterns were disrupted. All this means there are likely fewer dollars than normal circulating in the community.

California OK’s fire disaster loan guarantees, microloans

At the urging of the Sonoma County Economic Development Board, the state investment bank approved the extension of the Jump Start loans to devastated small businesses in declared disaster areas.

North Bay business briefs: Oct. 23, 2017

North Bay prosecutors are on the lookout for fire-related price-gouging by businesses. Other North Bay business news from Zentiv Agency, TIV Inc., Santa Rosa Junior College and Buttitta Design.

Char-broiled burgers at Carl’s Jr. meant for first responders start fire

Carl’s Jr. on Industrial Drive in Santa Rosa survived the Tubbs fire while other buildings around it were destroyed. It was not so lucky Thursday.

Airbnb offering free temporary housing for fire victims

About 1,000 Airbnb hosts have signed up to house displaced fire victims in their homes for free through a special temporary program.

Debris removal at locked-down Santa Rosa senior care facility under investigation

Santa Rosa and Sonoma County officials say workers entered a locked-down fire zone in Santa Rosa and began demolishing a Fountaingrove senior care facility before the ruins had been searched for bodies and toxic materials.

Burning Man camp repurposes shipping container shelters for Sonoma fire victims

The seven shipping containers have been converted into living spaces and will house 75 people.

Santa Rosa Kaiser hospital reopens after fire

The hospital and emergency department are operational after a dramatic evacuation while flames devoured a mobile-home park next door on Oct. 9–10.

Fountaingrove Center scrubs air ducts, struggles to reopen

The three large office buildings in north Santa Rosa could open by Oct. 30.

Sonoma Co., Santa Rosa OK measures to improve housing availability

The moves are meant to make rapid progress on one of the fire disaster’s most immediate and far-reaching consequences.

Former FEMA director to lead North Bay fire-recovery group

James Lee Witt ran the Federal Emergency Management Agency for eight years and has guided recovery efforts for wildfires, earthquakes and hurricanes.

New housing policies may help county, Santa Rosa speed up fire recovery

The idea is to make it easier for residents to find a new place to live after thousands of homes were lost in a market where options were already in short supply.

Santa Rosa contractor steps up in a big way with tiny homes for fire victims

The houses will go to to people without insurance left homeless by the fires. Here's how to help.

Bank of Marin comes through fires unscathed

Three branches closed during the conflagration. In other news, the Bank of Napa acquisition nears completion.

Groups, businesses respond to North Bay fire recovery

Here are some of the organizations and firms that are pooling resources to help residents, employees and other businesses bounce back after the wildfires in Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and Lake counties.

HR leaders take care of fire-stricken workers

Companies in Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino, Solano and Lake counties are helping employees with cash, jobs and emotional support.

Tourists to Sonoma, Napa: ‘We’ll be back’

After the air clears from the fires, visitors will return to the region, say experts.

Santa Rosa small business rises from ashes

While the Janowskis’ wedding-formals business may not come back, their entrepreneurial spirit is lighting up other business opportunities.

Million pounds of food for fire victims

‘The devastating fires in our region have resulted in increased demand for food assistance,’ says a Redwood Empire Food Bank official.

DIY fire cleanup could cost you a lot

As mandatory federal environmental inspections of fire-damaged properties begin Oct. 23, officials in Napa and Sonoma counties caution property owners about rushing to do their own cleanup.

Real cost of rebuilding a home may outstrip fire insurance money

Local architects are warning victims of the fires that what insurance may provide to rebuild could be far less than what it typically costs to construct homes in this area.

Scramble to restore Santa Rosa’s fire-damaged broadband

After flames burned lines and equipment, crews roll in reel of gigabit-capable broadband cable with four miles of cable.

See which structures North Bay fires destroyed or damaged

New map from Cal Fire shows the status of individual damaged and destroyed structures in Sonoma County.

Santa Rosa hotel ‘work family’ find jobs after fire

The day after the Hilton Sonoma Wine Country burned down, many of the 130 employees already had jobs, thanks to a campaign by the HR director.

‘Insurance villages’ pop up for Wine Country fire claims

Thousands of claims are being filed in Sonoma and Napa counties.

Worried about taxes on property lost to fire?

Many are receiving property-tax bills for North Bay properties that went up in flames, but county officials have an answer to that.

Massive fire cleanup planned after ‘unprecedented’ fire damage

Toxic material removal will come first, then scraping properties clear of debris. Residents will have costs covered by the government but will have the option to hire their own contractors.

Wine Country fires spark first lawsuit

The couple alleges Pacific Gas & Electric is responsible for the wildfire that destroyed their Coffey Park home and thousands of others in Sonoma County.

In Santa Rosa, the scramble begins for replacement housing

Tight housing market expected to get even tighter in wake of fires.

Kaiser Permanente back in business after fire

“It’s good. It feels good to be back in my regular building,” said Dr. Kelly Bastoni, a family doctor.

Wineries face harvest headaches after fires

Napa and Sonoma county officials work to ease restrictions so vintners can get back into their wineries and onto their vineyard properties to finish harvest.

Sutter Santa Rosa reopens after fire

Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital was evacuated on Oct. 9 as the Tubbs fire rushed through the city.

Sonoma County Airport flights resume despite fires

All airlines at the Santa Rosa airport are now operating with a semi-regular schedule.

Calistoga picks up the pieces after fire

The business community is assessing damage from the Tubbs fire, looking forward to the return of tourists.

What employers should know about fires and other disasters

California Chamber of Commerce is educating employers about a few things they should know about paying employees, leaves of absences and planning ahead in emergencies.

Fire-recovery resources for businesses and employees

If your business or employees have been touched by the North Bay fires in October, the counties of Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and Lake have these sources for help.

FEMA opens assistance center in Santa Rosa

The local assistance center, on the first floor of The Press Democrat building at 427 Mendocino Ave., is open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Business survivors of Fountaingrove fire

Medtronic, Pisenti & Brinker, O’Brien Watters Davis and many other businesses emerged unscathed by the Tubbs fire in Santa Rosa.

North Bay business briefs: Oct. 16, 2017

Central California wineries pledge a portion of bottle sales to North Coast fire relief funds. Other North Bay business news from State Farm Insurance, The Doctors Company, Grapexchange and Cline Collision Center.

PG&E stock continues plummet after fire-liability questions

Stock went from $69 to $53 in three days

Economic impact of Wine Country fires

While North Bay fires continue to burn, business leaders, bankers and economy watchers have started thinking about recovery and what form it may take in coming weeks and months.

Firestorm’s lasting impact on Santa Rosa business

The fluky flames carved a patchwork of business survivors amid a smoky, blackened landscape of charred remains.

Vintners get fire-relief help from around California

Wine industry leaders have formed a support network to provide immediate assistance and long-term aid to victims of the fires ravaging Northern California.

Fire forecasts turning more optimistic

Growing containment and good firefighting conditions appear to be fueling optimism even as fire continue to burn.

Patients flood Sebastopol hospital during fire

An influx of patients from fire-threatened Santa Rosa hospitals tests Sonoma West Medical Center’s mettle.

Sonoma County Airport flights ‘hit and miss’ during fires

United and American Airlines have halted flights at Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County Airport.

Rohnert Park hotel fills with fire victims, and a few rabbits

Hotel workers listen attentively to heartbreaking stories even though many have their own.

Napa college closes shelter to open school

Napa Valley College will send evacuees to Napa, American Canyon.

Tubbs Fire containment rises to 25 percent, Atlas Fire to 27 percent

Overnight winds fail to materialize as predicted

Before and after photos: Wildfires roar through Santa Rosa

Stunning, devastating before and after photos of the Wine Country wildfires.

Effort started to raise fire rebuilding resources

“It is imperative that these recovery efforts start now,” Rebuild North Bay states.

Fire leads to conference postponement

Business Journal and underwriter Bank of America Merrill Lynch announced decision.

Fire rips through Santa Rosa businesses, spares many

The Fountaingrove area and Keysight Technologies’s headquarters are hit hard by the Tubbs fire that raged from Calistoga through Santa Rosa.

Weather conditions may help firefighting efforts

Fires in Napa, Sonoma counties burns wineries, hotels.

Vineyard owners assess fire damage

Napa Vintners report four wineries reported "total or very significant" losses.

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