Petaluma opens emergency shelters for fire victims

While no fires were burning in Petaluma, the city opened several shelters for victims of fires across Sonoma County.|

Petaluma has received about 1,275 evacuees from several fires in Sonoma County, according to a news release from city officials. No fires have been reported in Petaluma, although firefighters were battling a 50-acre grass fire on Lakeville Highway at Highway 37 Monday morning.

Ten evacuation centers were open around Petaluma, with capacity for about 2,000 more people around 3:20 p.m. Monday. The Petaluma Veterans Building, at 1049 Petaluma Blvd. South; the Cavanagh Center, at 426 8th Street and the Petaluma Fairgrounds, at 175 Fairgrounds Drive, were still accepting evacuees Monday afternoon, according to a city of Petaluma press release.

The fairgrounds has the capacity to accommodate large animals, recreation vehicles and tents.

Around 1:30 p.m., Mayor David Glass said he’d been busy visiting local shelters. As the community center was filling up, he encouraged evacuees to go to the Veteran’s Center, which has the capacity for about 640 people, or other shelters.

Deborah Dalton, executive director of Mentor Me, the nonprofit that’s housed in the Cavanagh Recreation Center, said her entire staff and about 30 volunteers are on hand to accept donations and up to 500 evacuees.

“It would be really nice for families to come here,” she said. “We have games and toys and play areas and we have entertainment to keep kids calm.”

The Cavanaugh Center was seeking donations of cots, sleeping bags, baby wipes, diapers, feminine hygiene products and non-perishable food, Dalton said.

The Mystic Theatre, at 23 Petaluma Blvd. North, also opened as an evacuation center Monday afternoon. The nearby McNear’s Saloon & Dining House will be providing food.

Additional evacuation centers are open at Cloverdale Citrus Fair, 1 Citrus Fair Drive, Sebastopol Vets Hall, 282 S. High St. and Sonoma Valley High School, 20000 Broadway.

The community center at Luchessi Park, at 320 North McDowell Blvd., is accepting blankets, clothing, or water, according to the news release.

A list of Sonoma County evacuation centers is here.

Mandatory evacuations were in place for Roberts Road, Lichau Road, Pressley Road, and Sonoma Mountain Road.

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