Weather conditions help firefighting efforts

Napa County firefighter Jason Sheumann sprays water on a home as he battles flames from a wildfire Monday, Oct. 9, 2017, in Napa, Calif. More wastewater has been discharged into the Niagara River in the latest in a series of overflows since a discharge blackened water near Niagara Falls in view of summer tourists. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)


Wine country was shrouded in a thick layer of smoky haze here Tuesday as firefighters continued to battle wildfires that have left at least 15 people dead, including 9 fatalities in Sonoma County, and have damaged or destroyed more than 1,500 structures, including wineries, homes and resorts.

Fire Monday night into early Tuesday flared-up in some Santa Rosa areas already burned and caused new threats – including in the Sonoma County community of Oakmont, where a force of firefighters and engines were holding back flames from reaching homes.

At least eight fires continue burning in Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and Lake counties totaling more than 80,000 acres. Only two in Lake County have any amount of containment.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said early Tuesday that firefighters were expected to make some progress. Officials were encouraged by improved weather conditions. The winds, which had pushed the flames rapidly and in an unpredictable manner, had died down significantly, said Daniel Berlant, an assistant deputy director with the department.

But all 17 fires remained active, and several of the largest had not been contained as of Monday night.

Berlant said that those included the Tubbs fire in Sonoma and Napa counties, which had burned at least 27,000 acres; the Atlas Peak fire, which had burned 25,000 acres; and the Redwood Complex fire in Mendocino County, which had burned 19,000 acres.

Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino and Yuba counties as well as others throughout the state.

Here’s a partial list of businesses affected:

-- Sweet T’s, the comfort-food eatery on Stagecoach Road off Fountaingrove Parkway in Santa Rosa, was destroyed.

-- Willi’s Wine Bar and Cricklewood restaurant on Old Redwood Highway in Santa Rosa both burned down.

-- Buildings at the Paradise Ridge Winery were damaged

-- The luxury 124-room Fountaingrove Inn and the nearby historic Fountaingrove Round Barn in Santa Rosa were destroyed.

--The Hilton Sonoma Wine Country, a 250-room hotel, also was destroyed, as were the buildings at Paradise Ridge Winery.

-- In the Kohl’s shopping center in Santa Rosa, three eateries were reduced to burning rubble. They included McDonald’s, Applebee’s and Arby’s.

Schools affected by the fire:

-- Hidden Valley Elementary Satellite in Santa Rosa, which serves about 80 primary grade students, was destroyed.

--About half of Cardinal Newman High was destroyed by fire. The library, main office and portable classrooms were burned, according to principal Graham Rutherford.

He estimated that 15 to 18 of the school’s 35 classrooms are likely destroyed. Rutherford said the process of determining what is still usable on the Old Redwood Highway campus will dictate how officials proceed.

Roseland Collegiate Prep, on the former Ursuline High School campus that borders Newman, also sustained damage.

--Redwood Adventist Academy on Mark West Springs Road was destroyed.