Wind-whipped fires burned into parts of Santa Rosa and the Sonoma Valley early Monday morning, destroying multiple homes in neighborhoods to the north and southeast of Santa Rosa.
No fires were reported in the Petaluma area early Monday morning, though smoke could be seen over the city. Petaluma Fire Department said that three engines had been sent to Santa Rosa to assist with the blaze and extra personnel was called in to protect Petaluma.
The Petaluma Community Center at 320 N. McDowell Blvd. was full. The Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds was open as an emergency shelter, as was Church of Christ, 370 Sonoma Mountain Parkway, and the Petaluma Veteran’s Building. Mandatory evacuations were in place for Roberts Road, Lichau Road, Pressley Road, and Sonoma Mountain Road.
Petaluma City Schools canceled classes for Monday, as well as Old Adobe, Liberty, Waugh, Dunham, Wilmar and Cinnabar school districts.
The morning commute on southbound Highway 101 was slower than normal as additional cars evacuating the fire were on the roadway. Golden Gate Transit canceled bus routes 72X, 74 and part of 101 southbound and 101X. SMART canceled train service.
Firefighters were also battling a 50-acre grass fire on Highway 37 between Lakeville Highway and Highway 121. Highway 37 was closed in both directions at those points. Lakeville Highway between Highway 37 and Stage Gulch Road was also closed.
In Santa Rosa, the fire burned through the Sky Farm subdivision above Santa Rosa’s Fountaingrove neighborhood and raced down the hill toward the Larkfield-Wikiup area. Homes surrounding Cardinal Newman High School were burned, although the high school survived. Santa Rosa’s historic round barn, at the gateway to Fountaingrove, was also burned, as was the Journey’s End mobile home park to the north of Kaiser Permanente’s hospital in Santa Rosa and multiple homes along Hopper Lane.
Authorities were evacuating Sutter Santa Rosa hospital at 1:30 a.m. Traffic was backed up at multiple intersections in the Larkfield and Wikiup areas. Many people had abandoned their cars in the streets to flee the flames.
By 3 a.m. flames had jumped Highway 101 on the fire’s westward march, as strong winds pushed ash and smoke over a wide area of the city.
Damage was also widespread in Kenwood, where multiple homes were destroyed on both sides of Highway 12.
An emergency evacuation center was full at the Finley Community Center in west Santa Rosa, located at 2060 W. College Ave. Cars filled the parking lot shortly before 3 a.m. Monday and traffic was stopped trying to turn into the center.
Authorities were directing evacuees to the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building, 1351 Maple Ave. The Petaluma Community Center at Lucchesi Park was also opened as an evacuation center. The Sonoma County Fairgrounds is open for people with large animals; access the fairgrounds via Gate 7 on Aston Avenue. Bridge of Faith church, at 920 Link Lane in Santa Rosa, also opened its doors to evacuees.
In the Sonoma Valley, Ramekins culinary school and inn, 450 W. Spain St., was open as a shelter.
Mandatory evacuations were ordered from a wildfire reported between Calistoga and Santa Rosa, to the east of Porter Creek Road and Petrified Forest Road, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office announced shortly after 11 p.m.
Evacuations were ordered along Porter Creek, Petrified Forest, Franz Valley and Mountain Home Ranch roads. Deputies were dispatched to help firefighters and CHP officers with evacuations.