SANTA ROSA, Calif. - Santa Rosa, which has been devastated by wildfires over the last few years, received some welcome news on Monday. Fire officials announced an end to the 2021 wildfire season.
"There’s absolutely the potential for fire activity to occur in what could be a dry winter, but at this point in time, given how much rainfall we’ve had, given how much rainfall we’re currently experiencing and scheduled to get, we feel comfortable that that threat has been significantly minimized here," said Santa Rosa Assistant Fire Marshall Paul Lowenthal.
The Santa Rosa Fire Department made the call after last weekend’s atmospheric river finally delivered the rainfall that the Bay Area has so desperately been waiting for.
In the wake of the news, the City of Santa Rosa is suspending weed abatement inspections, but asked homeowners to begin fire mitigation work on their properties ahead of next year’s fire season.
The early end to the season is being viewed as a blessing for the city, plagued by wildfires over the last few years. In 2017 devastating fires killing 9 people and destroyed more than 3000 homes, many in the community of Coffey Park. Then in 2020, the fast moving Glass Fire destroyed another 34 homes.
"We all know people, who know other, people who have lost homes. It’s been pretty devastating," said John Byers of Santa Rosa.
It’s why so many in this community welcomed yet another rainy day to the region on Monday.
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"My personal reaction is every time there’s a potential for rain in Sonoma County we all get excited and it’s like a little drizzle," said Rene Byck, owner of Paradise Ridge Winery.
Byck’s family owned winery was all but destroyed in 2017.
"The winery burned down, our production facility burned down, we lost three homes on the property and all those tenants you know fled in the middle of the night," said Byck.
Surrounding neighborhoods and the winery are now rebuilt. Paradise Ride is looking forward to welcoming visitors free from fire fears this season.
But fire officials warn, weather related hazards remain. There is still real concern about the burn scars left by the wildfires and the potential for future flooding, something fire officials say they will be keeping a close eye on during future storms.