PETALUMA, Calif. - The destructive Kincade Fire has led to the largest evacuation in Sonoma County history. Due to the changing conditions, even some of the evacuation centers were forced to evacuate.
The Petaluma Community Center has space for about 350 cots. It is filled to capacity. It's been difficult these past few days and lives have been disrupted.
"It's really hard. Sorry, I haven't cried yet. It's been really hard," said Victoria Pech.
Pech and her extended family of 17 people, five cats, three dogs, and a hamster all got the word to evacuate their homes early Sunday.
"It was like 10 minutes. They said you are in Zone 10. It's time to get out now," said Pech. They came here to the center, but were told there was no more room.
The family all slept in their cars in the parking lot overnight.
"They said overnight they would keep the doors open. And there would be bathrooms, but that was pretty much it."
As we met them they had just caught a break. A nearby church had room for all of them.
Still, the grown-ups worry about the homes they had to leave, but not nearly as much as they worry about how their kids are handling this.
"We just don't want any of them to get scared or have to sleep in a car. We're just doing what we have to," said Pech.
When the Kincade Fire broke out last week, Healdsburg became the closest evacuation center. Then, all of Healdsburg and Windsor were forced to leave. Now Petaluma has become a focal point.
"Petaluma is having a lot of folks and we are at capacity all over," said shelter manager Drew Halter.
George Wiget evacuated from his home in Bodega Bay Saturday. He's angry that his power was shut off, angry at the whole situation.
"I'm concerned about my refrigerator and freezer. I've got a lot of food in there. I'm on a fixed income. How am I going to replace it?" said Wiget.
We found many people asking themselves the same question: If yearly power shutoffs, evacuations, and the fear of fires is the new normal. Is it worth staying?
"I don't want to go through this every year. I don't want to go through this again," said Judy Borberly.
"If I had the money I would move from California tomorrow. Tomorrow," said Wiget.