Fifth anniversary of the deadly Tubbs fire is this weekend

Saturday, Oct. 8 marks the fifth anniversary of the deadly Tubbs fire

The fire killed 23 people in Sonoma County. It burned 36,807 acres and destroyed 6,957 structures, reducing to ash scores of homes in the Coffey Park and Fountaingrove neighborhoods in Santa Rosa and in the community of Larkfield-Wikiup, north of Santa Rosa. 
The Tubbs and Nuns fires sent 4,900 people to 39 shelters in Sonoma County. They are the largest fires in California history with loses estimated at $3 billion.

Danielle Bryant remembers waking up in the middle of the night exactly 5 years ago to the sound of howling wind and the smell of smoke.

"There was just this sense of doom and I don’t think I’ve ever had an experience like that before," Bryant said.

She lived in Santa Rosa’s Coffey Park neighborhood. A wildfire was racing toward this residential area, strong, erratic winds pushed the flames. The Tubbs fire was one of a series of deadly fires that started in 2017 and destroyed thousands of homes.   

"It seems like it was yesterday, there’s a lot of memories that are still vivid," said Bryant. "At the same time I feel like we’ve come a long way toward healing what happened with the trauma and devastation."

Officials say in Santa Rosa, more than 90-percent of homes burned have since been rebuilt, are in construction, or have been approved to break ground.

"Slowly but surely we are starting to see our community return," said Sonoma County Supervisor James Gore.

An event to mark the somber anniversary was held in Coffey Park. Organizers said it was important to remember what was lost, to celebrate how far the community has come, and to thank everyone who has offered support along the way.

SEE ALSO: Berkeley firefighter's dramatic video shows scene on night of Tubbs fire in Santa Rosa

"We will never stop working hard until the physical and psychological scars in our community have healed and that every single fire survivor who wants to, finds their way home to Sonoma county," said Gore.

It took Bryant two and a half year to finally rebuild. And the process was challenging. But she said despite it all, there was no question she wanted to stay in such a resilient and close-knit community.

"There is something very special about this neighborhood," she said. "Everybody just banding together and communicating, that was an incentive and drove us all closer."