Northern California fires — hot and dry conditions Monday, but decreasing winds

At least 40 people have been confirmed dead in Northern California fires.

Above: Map showing the perimeters of the Pocket, Tubbs, Nuns, and Atlas Fires in northern California. CAL FIRE October 15, 2017.

(Published October 16, 2016)

Firefighters in Northern California are having some success on portions of the four largest wildfires near Geyserville, Santa Rosa, and Napa. However winds out of the southwest on Sunday caused the fires to spread on the northeast sides on all of the fires except the Atlas Fire which has been much quieter than the other three for the last two days.

Officials say 102,000 residents were either evacuated or had no homes to return to Saturday and Sunday in Sonoma County. Some evacuations were lifted late Sunday. Less than 2,000 stayed in evacuation centers.

firefighters map california

The fires in Sonoma and Napa counties have destroyed 3,947 structures. Approximately 4,230 personnel are fighting the blazes.

Officials report that 40 people have been confirmed dead in Northern California fires over the last week including fires in Mendocino County and near Yuba City.

  • Pocket Fire: 11,889 acres north of Geyserville. It continues to grow to the east and northeast.
  • Tubbs Fire, 44,481 acres. The most active area of the fire is still the northeastern portion around Red Hill and Mount Saint Helena. It continues to make short uphill runs on the north side of the peaks.
  • Nuns Fire, 48,627 acres. The northern portion 6 miles north of Calistoga grew to the north Sunday.
  • Atlas Fire, 51, 057 acres. It is much quieter than the other three fires.
McClellan Air Tanker Base
Air tankers at the McClellan Air Tanker Base. CAL FIRE photo.

The National Weather Service predicts hot and dry conditions for the Santa Rosa area Monday with a high of 88 degrees, relative humidity in the mid-teens, and west or southwest winds of 2 to 9 mph.

Tuesday should bring better conditions for firefighters; 81 degrees, 28 percent RH, and southwest winds at 3 to 11 mph.

map photo satellite wildfires north of San Francisco
Satellite photo taken during the afternoon of October 15, 2017 showing smoke from wildfires north of San Francisco. The red dots represent heat.

Interview with Josh Brolin about his role in “Only the Brave”

Josh Brolin

If you are having trouble watching the video above, you can see it on YouTube.

Bill Gabbert of Wildfire Today sat down with Josh Brolin in Phoenix about a week before the opening of the movie about the Granite Mountain Hotshots, “Only the Brave”. He explained that he and the other actors felt that the subject of the film was very meaningful.

You might notice that he wore a Granite Mountain Hotshots shirt during the interview.

The film opens nationwide October 20, 2017.

Nuns Fire continues to spread while the Atlas Fire slows

More evacuations were ordered by Santa Rosa officials.

Above: The red lines on the map were the perimeters of the Nuns and Atlas Fires Friday in northern California at around 10 p.m. PDT. The white lines were the perimeters about 24 hours earlier. The yellow and red dots represent heat detected by a satellite on Friday night and Saturday, as late as 12:57 p.m. PDT.

(Originally published at 6:07 p.m. PDT October 14, 2017)

Additional evacuations were ordered Saturday in northern California by Santa Rosa officials for areas endangered by the 46,104-acre Nuns Fire. The new mandatory area is north and south of Hwy 12 between Calistoga Road and Adobe Canyon Road.

Evacuation orders are still in effect for many other areas. Santa Rosa has an interactive map showing which areas are affected.

Friday night and Saturday morning the most active areas on the Nuns Fire were on the northeast side of the huge fire. Overnight winds pushed the fire toward the Oakmont community in Santa Rosa and kept the fire spreading east of Sonoma.

On Friday the Nuns Fire grew by over 4,000 acres.

The Atlas Fire is east of the Nuns Fire, Highway 29, Yountville, and Napa. It was much less active than the Nuns Fire, growing by about 211 acres on Friday to bring the total up to 50,872 acres. Satellites detected much less heat than was seen on the Nuns Fire.

California firefighters will have to battle strong winds again Saturday

The National Weather Service has issued Red Flag Warnings in California, Nevada, Arizona, and Colorado for strong winds and low humidity.

The warnings issued are for many different fire weather areas, the borders of which you can see on the map. Most of the warnings in northern California expire Saturday night, while the southern California areas generally expire at various times on Sunday. The Colorado warnings are valid until Saturday evening.

The map was current as of 9:30 a.m. MDT on Saturday. Red Flag Warnings can change throughout the day as the National Weather Service offices around the country update and revise their forecasts.