Napa Fires

Dawn broke clear over the Napa Valley on Saturday for the first time in almost a week, giving residents a break from critically bad air quality. Fires continued to burn in many areas, however. This was the scene from Wild Horse Road looking east around 11:40 a.m.

Scott Domecus

Red Flag warnings and wind advisories are still in effect for Napa County, but overnight Friday the winds shifted in our favor. Unfortunately, good news for Napa County meant bad news for Sonoma County.

“It is a very good day for Napa County,” Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Belia Ramos said during a press conference Saturday morning. “This is what we’ve been praying for since Sunday.”

The Southern LNU Complex fire, which started on Atlas Peak Sunday night, was contained at 45 percent Saturday morning. The fire burned 50,383 acres and destroyed 252 structures in Napa and Sonoma counties, according to Cal Fire.

Napa County Sheriff John Robertson said that, in addition to four confirmed deaths in the county, 146 people out of 224 unaccounted for have been located. There are still 74 missing person reports being investigated. If you have made a report but now know the person is safe, please call 707-253-4501. Napa County residents are also being asked to register as “safe” online at safeandwell.communityos.org.

Shortly after Robertson spoke, two more bodies were located at a home on Atlas Peak, bringing the total deaths in the county to six.

“We’re still not out of the woods,” said Napa County Fire Chief Barry Biermann. Although the Atlas Fire has seen little movement, he said, there is a 20-30 acre spot fire in the area of Rector Reservoir, northeast of Yountville and southwest of Lake Berryessa. There are also pockets of fire burning down into the Dry Creek area and down the valley floor. Firefighters’ primary line remains at Dry Creek, he said.

The Central LNU Complex fire – a combination of the Tubbs, Pocket and Nuns fires – has burned a total of 92,370 acres, destroyed 2,017 structures, and killed 17 people.

The Tubbs Fire, which started near Tubbs Lane in Calistoga and swept through Sonoma County, was 44 percent contained Saturday. The most active portion of the fire is the northeastern portion around Red Hill and Mount Saint Helena. At least on the Napa County side, Biermann said, the Tubbs fire is “staying within its current box.”

One of the main problems for firefighters Saturday morning was the Nuns fire, Biermann said.

“Sonoma County has had a very tough morning,” he said.

Overnight winds Friday pushed the fire in two directions – toward the Oakmont community in Santa Rosa and to areas northeast of Sonoma, according to Cal Fire. Moderate fire behavior increased overnight due to winds on the south and western portions of the fire.

Additional mandatory evacuations for eastern Santa Rosa in Sonoma County were announced Saturday morning.

In Napa County, mandatory evacuations remain in place for the Berryessa Highlands, Highway 128 to Moskowite Corner, Circle Oaks and Wild Horse Valley Road. Calistoga remains under a complete evacuation.

Advisory evacuations have been announced for areas east of Soscol Avenue between Silverado Trail and West Imola Avenue, east of Highway 221 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, and west of Highway 29-Oakville Grade to Rutherford Road.

No new evacuations are expected in Napa County, but residents should remain vigilant and continue to look for alerts, Ramos said Saturday morning. The county is still under a wind advisory, she said.

On Friday, Napa County Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Relucio declared a local health emergency throughout Napa County due to the hazardous waste and materials created by the “2017 Napa Fire Complex.”

“This is not a new emergency,” Relucio said Saturday. The declaration, she said, will help bring more resources into the community, she said. Residents should be aware of the poor air quality as well as potential health hazards associated with debris cleanup, she said.

“The public should not attempt to clean up fire related debris” because the debris from burned buildings and homes may be toxic, Relucio said.

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Sen. Bill Dodd said that CalRecycle, Napa Recycling & Waste, and Upper Valley Disposal & Recycling will be in the area on Monday to assist with clean-up.

FEMA will be providing individual assistant grants to fire victims, but residents should file insurance claims first, added Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Napa. FEMA representatives will be on-site soon. People can also sign-up online at disasterassistance.gov.

Ramos said that anyone in need of mental health services or just someone to talk to, should reach out to local services.

“This morning I woke up and I saw blue skies but I can tell you that I’m not the same person I was on Sunday,” she said.

Bilingual mental health services are available 24/7 via the Disaster Distress Hotline at 1-800-985-5990. Text message services are also available by texting “TalkWithUs” to 66746 or, for help in Spanish, text “Hablanos” to 66746.

Napa County Mental Health staff is on site at all evacuation shelters and information centers.

“Normal is going to take a very new meaning here in Napa,” Ramos said.

When it comes to helping out the community, Ramos said that there should be no more “in kind” donations – that means no clothes, no toiletries, no prepared food. Instead, she said, donate money directly to the Napa Valley Community Foundation at napavalleycf.org. To help individuals, Ramos said that $25 Visa, American Express, or MasterCard gift cards can be donated to the Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership located at 433 Soscol Ave. Suite A-100.

Local assistance centers will be opening next week, she said.

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Maria Sestito is the Napa Valley Register public safety reporter. She covers breaking news as well as crime and courts. Maria came to the Napa Valley Register in 2015 after working at as a reporter and photographer at The Daily News in Jacksonville, NC. S