Thousands of North Bay fire evacuees return home as wildfires more than 1/3 contained

As Bay Area fire evacuees get the all-clear to return home, others will not turn the page so easily.  

"I'll just say that was one part of my life and I'll start a new life," said Marcia Ritz, 77, gazing stoically at the rubble that was her Napa County home.

Ritz is a resident of the Spanish Flat Mobile Villa mobile home park, where only a few of the 40 mobile homes survived. 

The park was leveled last week by the Hennessey Fire. 

Ritz is an artist, heartsick she lost irreplaceable work of her own and other artists. 

But she also knows she is lucky. 

"We got on a pontoon boat with about 9 other people and sat on the water for about 5 hours," said husband Jerry Rehmke.

The couple was at the Spanish Flat Marina, helping move boats as fire approached when Lake Berryessa became their only escape.   

"Fire was burning all around us on all sides," said Ritz, "and what we were seeing was horrendous everywhere."

For thousands of evacuees, Tuesday brought relief, and a return to homes in Napa, Sonoma, and Solano counties. 

By Wednesday evening, the LNU Lightning Complex Fire had burned about 360,868 acres and was 33 percent contained, after burning for nine days. 

"I'm very grateful to go home and grateful to my son and his wife for hosting us for a week," said Kay Barnes, an evacuee from the Sonoma Coast. "We left last Tuesday afternoon, and here it is Tuesday, coming home." 

National Guard troops also began arriving and were seen early Wednesday in Calistoga. Authorities said 250 troops will provide support on the front lines of fires in Sonoma, Napa and Lake counties. 

On Tuesday, Cal Fire mounted an aggressive air attack and lit back-fires in Lake County, aiming to steer the Hennessey Fire away from Middletown.  

In Sonoma County, outside Healdsburg, air and ground offensives sought to keep the Walbridge Fire from encroaching on Lake Sonoma or invading the Alexander Valley. 

"This is going to be a long time firefight and long time with smoke in the air and firefighters staffing the line," said Cal Fire Division Chief Ben Nicholls at an late-afternoon briefing. 

"Conditions are in our favor and we're going to maximize them while we've got them." 

With re-population, attention turns to recovery. 

"If you lost a home, we are so sorry, " said State Senator Mke McGuire," at the same briefing. 

"We know it's incredibly emotional and overwhelming, but please report the loss to your insurance company immediately." 

Added Sonoma County Supervisor Shirlee Zane:

"Being strong also means admitting how much we need one another, and these disasters have shown us we can't do anything without one another." 

Every county plans to open Local Assistance Centers, one stop shops to streamline the process so survivors can navigate first steps after suffering losses. 

"I feel sorry for so many people here," said Ritz, noting that many of her neighbors in the mobile home park were on fixed-incomes or uninsured. 

As newlyweds, she and her husband were in the process of combining households.

His home in nearby Berryessa Highlands survived so, so at least they have a place to live.  

But in the Highlands,  an estimated one-third of the homes burned.  

"No wonder people die from the heat, because it was so intense," said Ritz, recalling their time on the water, watching the horrific scene.   

She even captured some of it on her cell phone, including a white flash she believes was the mobile home park exploding in flames. 

But she and Rehmke are undeterred about lake life. 

Ritz runs the general store at Spanish Flat, and says even now, she wouldn't live anywhere else.

"It's a wonderful place to be, peaceful and small, and everyone knows each other, " said Ritz. 

"It's awful that this happened, but it will come back, it's just going to take years."


Evacuation Order:

Napa County:

OES Info:

Evac Info:

Napa County Information Line: (707) 253-4540

Highway 128 between Monticello Dam and Moskowite Corners (SR128/121 intersection)

Wragg Canyon

Markley Cove

Pleasure Cove

Highway 121 (Monticello Rd) Between Moskowite Corners(SR128/121 intersection) and Longhorn Ridge Road

Highway 128 (Capell Valley Road/Sage Canyon Rd) from Chiles Pope Valley Road to Hwy 121 (Monticello Road)

Steel Canyon Road

Community of Berryessa Highlands

Chiles and Lower Chiles Pope Valley Roads

Berryessa-Knoxville Road from Hwy 128 (at Turtle Rock) to Lake County Line

Community at Spanish Flat Loop Road

Community of Berryessa Pines

Both sides, including resorts and recreational areas of Lake Berryessa, Knoxville

Atlas Peak Road from 3683 Atlas Peak Road (Circle R Ranch) to the dead end

Deer Park Road from Silverado Trail, east to Howell Mountain Road

Community of Deer Park

St. Helena Hospital

Howell Mountain Road, east to Pope Valley

Community of Angwin

Pacific Union College

All of Pope Valley Road and connecting roads

Pope Valley Cross


Aetna Springs Road

James Creek Road

All of Butts Canyon Road and connecting Roads in Napa County of Napa

Snell Valley Road

Stagecoach Road

Community of Berryessa Estates

Properties on roads east of Silverado Trail between Rosedale Road and Deer Park Road

Glass Mountain Road

Crystal Springs Road

Lommel Road

Dutch Henry Road

Pickett Road

Clover Flat Road

Properties on the east side of Highway 29 between Silverado Trail and Lake County line

Old Lawley Toll Road

Palisades Road

Evacuation Warning:

Silverado Trail south from Deer Park Road to Highway 128 (Sage Canyon Road) to include the areas of Fawn Park, Madrone Knolls, Meadowood, Howell Mountain Road including roads off of Howell Mountain Road up to and including Conn Valley Road, Taplin Road, Rutherford Hill Road, and Long Ranch Road.

Highway 128 (Sage Canyon Road) will be placed under the Evacuation Warning up to Chiles Pope Valley Road.

Soda Canyon from Loma Vista to 3700 Soda Canyon Road (Dead End)

Atlas Peak from 2462 Atlas Peak Road (Bubbling Wells Pet Cemetery) to 3683 Atlas Peak Road.

Highway 121 (Monticello Road) to Longhorn Ridge Road, to include the Circle Oaks sub-division, along with the communities of Wooden Valley and Gordon Valley to the Napa/Solano County line This will include Wooden Valley Road, Wooden Valley Cross Road, Gordon Valley Road, and all connecting roads.

EAST ZONE Napa County Evacuation Center:

Crosswalk Community Church

2590 First Street

Napa, CA 94558

EAST ZONE Napa County Road Closures:

SR-121 at Circle Oaks – closed East bound

SR-128 at Napa/Solano County Line - No traffic West bound

Butts Canyon Rd at Guenoc

SR-128 at Silverado Trail.

Atlas Peak Rd at Circle R Ranch

Howell Mountain Road

Deer Park is closed at Silverado Trail

Glass Mountain Road and Silverado Trail

Crystal Springs at Silverado Trail

EAST ZONE Napa County Animal Evacuation Center:

Napa County Animal Shelter: 942 Hartle Court, Napa, CA 94559

Valley Brook Equestrian Center: 1132 El Centro Ave. Napa 55 horses

Napa Valley Horseman's Association: 1200 Foster Road Napa 61 horses

Ag 4 Youth 1200 Foster Rd, Napa 62 Ruminants


Lake County:

Evacuation Map: HERE

OES Contact:

(707) 262-4090

Sign Up for Lake County Alerts:

If you are in need of shelter please proceed to a Temporary Evacuation Point (TEP) listed below.

Evacuation Orders:

Hidden Valley Lake / Jerusalem Valley Areas

North of Butts Canyon

South of Hofacker Ln. to Morgan Valley Rd.

East of Hwy 29

West of Lake / Napa County line

East of Middletown Area

East of Hwy 29

North of Lake / Napa County line up to the intersection of Hey. 29 and St. Helena Creek (Across from Twin Pine Casino)

St. Helena Creek Rd

South of Butts Canyon Rd.

Lower Lake Area (South)

East of Hwy. 29

South of Morgan Valley Rd.

West of Lake / Napa County line

North of Hofacker Ln. extending east to Morgan Valley Rd. Lower Lake Area (North)

North of Morgan Valley Rd.

East of Sky High Ridge Rd. extending north to Hwy. 20

South of Hwy. 20

West of Lake / Napa / Colusa County lines

Evacuation Warnings:

Middletown Area

West of Hwy. 29

North and East of Lake / Napa

South of Anderson Springs Rd. / Neft Rd. / Boggs Mt. Rec. Area extending northeast to Hwy. 29 / Hofacker Ln.

Lower Lake Area

East of Big Canyon Rd. / Perini Rd. / Seigler Canyon Rd.

South and west of Hwy. 29

North of the previous evacuation order / warning line of Anderson Springs Rd. / Neft Rd. / Boggs Mt. Rec. Area extending northeast to Hwy. 29 / Hofacker Ln.

EAST ZONE Lake County Evacuation Center(s) and/or Temporary Evacuation Point(s):

Temporary Evacuation Point (TEP)

Kelseyville High School parking lot 5480 Main Street Kelseyville, CA


Evacuation Orders:

Yolo County Zone 1


Sonoma County:

Residents and visitors can dial 2-1-1

You can also view an interactive evacuation map here

Livestock 707-234-7193.

Evacuation Order:

Evacuation Zone - 1B3

East of McCray Ridge Road and Pool Ridge

North of Old Cazadero Road

West of King Ridge Road

South Skaggs Springs Road

Evacuation Zone - 1D5

East of Armstrong Woods Road

North of the Russian River

West of Westside Road

South of Sweetwater Springs Road

Evacuation Zone - 2A3

North of Stewarts Point Skaggs Springs Road to the eastern edge of Lake Sonoma

Everything west of the eastern edge of Lake Sonoma to the western boundary that runs north along the ridge line from the intersection of Stewarts Point Skaggs Springs Rd @ Old Stewarts Point Skaggs Springs Road to the interception of Rockpile Road @ Cooley Ranch Road north to the Mendocino County Line.

Evacuation Zone - 2E1

South of Stewarts Point Skaggs Springs Road

North of Palmer Creek Road and Stewart Point Skaggs Springs Road

West of McCray Road

East of Wallace Creek Road

Evacuation Zone - 2E2:

South of Stewarts Point Skaggs Springs Road

North of Chemise Road

West of the center of Dry Creek (the actual creek)

East of Wallace Creek Road

Evacuation Zone - 2E3

South of Chemise Road

North of Westside Road

West of the Center of Dry Creek (the actual creek)

East of Wallace Creek Road

Evacuation Zone - 2E4:

South of Palmer Creek Road

North of McCray Ridge Road and Sweetwater Springs Road

East of the Dry Creek (the actual creek)

Evacuation Warning:

Evacuation Zone - 2A2

North of the Dry Creek and the norther fork of Lak Sonoma County

West of Dutcher Creek, City of Coverdale city limits and Hwy 128

South of the Mendocino County line

Temporary Evacuation Point

Santa Rosa Fairgrounds: 1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95404

Petaluma Veterans Building: 1094 Petaluma Blvd, South Petaluma, CA 94952

Road Closures:

River Road at River Drive (no traffic West Bound of River Road)

Odd Fellows Park Road at River Road (no traffic on River Road)

Highway 116 at River Road (no traffic on River Road)

Hightway 116 at Old Cazadero Road (no East bound traffic on Highway 116. Old Cazadero Road is open)

King Ridge Road at Sewell Road – Barricade (no traffic on King Ridge Road)

King Ridge Road at Cazadero Highway – Barricade (no traffic on King Ridge Road)

Dry Creek Road at Dutcher Creek Road (no traffic on Dry Creek Road to Skaggs Spring Road)

Dry Creek Road at Yoakim Bridge Road (no traffic west across bridge)

Dry Creek Road at Lambert Bridge Road (no traffic west across bridge)

Westside Road at Hendricks Street (no traffic on Westside Road or West of bridge)

22303 Skaggs Springs Road at Anvil Ranch

Wholer Road at Westside Road (no traffic on Westside Road)