north bay fires

Redwood Valley North Bay fires
KZYX

When the fires moved on the Redwood Valley Rancheria on October 8, eleven members of the Little River Band of Pomo Indians stayed behind to fight the flames. Reporter Sarah Reith was at the annual Northern Circle Indian Housing Authority meeting recently, where the men were honored. 

This story originally was heard on KZYX radio in a longer version.

Sarah Tan

With the removal of fire debris moving quickly toward a conclusion, we checked in with EPA official Steve Calanog, who’s been helping oversee the cleanup. He spoke with reporter Sujata Shrivastav.

U.S. Army Corps cleanup Coffey Park, Santa Rosa
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

In the wake of the October fires in Santa Rosa, residents of the Coffey Park neighborhood, which suffered devastating losses, have organized. The group Coffey Strong now numbers nearly 1000 residents who act collectively to pool information and save money.

Jeff Okrepkie represented the group on a recent edition of the KQED program Forum – with Michael Krasny.

James Gore
KRCB/Steve Mencher

From the Doubletree Sonoma Wine Country – we present highlights from the State of the County breakfast, presented by Sonoma County Economic Development Bureau.

The Black Sheep Brass Band kicked off the morning event.

Coffey Strong
Diane Askew

Coffey Park was the subject of a recent edition of KQED’s Forum program with Michael Krasny.  KRCB News Director Steve Mencher has some excerpts from the discussion…

Paradise Ridge Winery
Courtesy of Paradise Ridge website

A new study from the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State describes the effects of the North Bay fires on local vineyards and wineries and related parts of the North Coast wine industry. In addition to surveying stakeholders, the authors also crunched the first available statistics.

Honore Comfort is Executive in Residence at the institute, part of the SSU School of Business and Economics. She talked with KRCB News Director Steve Mencher about the study. 

Governor Jerry Brown
Wikimedia

Thursday morning, KRCB presented Governor Jerry Brown’s last State of the State address. Born into politics, educated by Jesuits, Brown will stand, by any measure, as one of the most important leaders in California history. In Sonoma County, we were listening to hear what he’d say about the traumatic wildfire season – and that came early in the speech. KRCB News Director Steve Mencher listened along…

Supervisors seek public input to guide recovery efforts at three upcoming workshops

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors invites community members to attend and provide input to guide post-fire recovery efforts at three upcoming public workshops. Each workshop will focus on a different topic, including Housing, Natural Resources, Economic Development, Health and Human Services, and Infrastructure. 

Topic areas will be discussed on the following dates:  

Ray Krauss
KRCB/Steve Mencher

The meetings have a clever name – Conversations Around the Fire. The idea? That the recent wildfires might bring together people in the progressive community to work for change during these  post-fire months and years.

Local residents by the hundreds showed up at a town hall Saturday for updates on fire recovery and rebuilding. Local politicians were there, as well as representatives from FEMA, California Office of Emergency Services and the Army Corps of Engineers. KRCB News Director Steve Mencher has more. 

Sonoma County and the City of Santa Rosa run a joint website on fire recovery. Visit SonomaCountyRecovers.org for regular updates.

Rep. Jared Huffman
Congress.gov

At a town hall meeting tomorrow about fire recovery and rebuilding in Sonoma County, officials will present updates and listen to citizens’ concerns. Among elected officials scheduled to attend are members of the Santa Rosa City Council and the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, State Senators Mike McGuire and Bill Dodd, and Assembly Members Jim Wood, Cecilia Aguiar-Curry and Marc Levine.

Representatives Mike Thompson and Jared Huffman will be there – and KRCB News Director Steve Mencher talked with Huffman about the meeting.

Decorations in Santa Rosa neighborhood of Coffey Park
Diane Askew

Yesterday, KRCB News Director Steve Mencher brought us some excerpts from a conversation about rebuilding the North Bay first broadcast on KQED’s Forum program. Today, part two.

One of the callers to the show asked whether unions would play a big part in the rebuilding effort. Keith Woods, CEO of the North Coast Builders Exchange, responded:

Participants in the discussion included:

Coffey Park
U.S. Army/Edward Coffee

Rains will slow construction activities that have started in areas destroyed by the fall fires. But the real slowdown will come from lack of materials and workers as building gears up. A recent episode of KQED’s Forum program hosted by Michael Krasny addressed those concerns, and our News Director Steve Mencher has some excerpts.

  Here's a link to the original program at KQED.

Rains Bring Relief, Worry

Jan 8, 2018
Rain
Stacey Dennick

This winter’s first major rainstorm is expected to bring 1 1/2 to 4 inches of necessary rain to Sonoma County, along with gusting winds. Local rivers are predicted to remain below critical stages, but areas affected by October’s wildfires are at high risk for flash flooding, mudslides and debris flow.

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, director of CAL OES Mark Ghilarducci, and FEMA Regional Administrator Bob Fenton
KRCB/Steve Mencher

A day after visiting fire-ravaged areas of Southern California, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen toured Santa Rosa's Coffey Park and other affected neighborhoods, and met with local government officials, workers and fire survivors.

In her prepared remarks, Nielsen promised help from the federal government for fire recovery and noted that her department "will be here, arms locked, with state and local officials, to help California recover from the fires."

Spending Christmas in a FEMA Trailer

Dec 27, 2017
Woman with dog
Stacey Dennick

The holiday season can be a difficult time. That's been especially true for the dozens of people living in FEMA trailers at the Sonoma Fairgrounds RV Park.  

Brenda Cappel lived on Willowview Court in Santa Rosa for 10 years until last October’s firestorms. She’s been in a FEMA trailer since the day after Thanksgiving.

“I loved my home; it was my Xanadu,” Cappel said.  “I had a really hard time getting myself out of my house, because you know in the back of your mind, if you have to leave like that, you’re not coming back.”

Trucks unloading at Mecham Road landfill
Sarah Tan

About two months ago the North Bay wildfires were contained. Most of the toxic debris has been carted away -- like asbestos, burned plastic, and car batteries. Material like ash and everything else left behind is still being cleared. Independent producer Sarah Tan reports on progress at the main county landfill.

Smokestack
NASA JPL

KRCB News Director Steve Mencher began a conversation earlier this week with Assemblyman Marc Levine, who represents Marin and Southern Sonoma Counties. Today they touch on lessons learned from the North Bay fires, and the Assemblyman’s view of what the California legislature accomplished this year, including extension of the Cap and Trade Program. 

Christmas tree, Coffey Park, Santa Rosa
Diane Askew

Ready or not Christmas is coming. After October’s fires in the North Bay, this will be a holiday like no other. April Dembosky of The California Report visited Coffey Park to find out how some fire survivors are marking Christmas this year.

Find April Dembosky's original report here.

More information on free grief counseling at the International Institute for Humanistic Studies.

Marc Levine
Office of Marc Levine

With the year coming to an end, we check in with one of our state officeholders about what was accomplished in 2017 – and what’s on the horizon in Sacramento for 2018.

Woman in red amid Fountaingrove fire damage
Diane Askew

Friday evening at 6:30 join KRCB for our second post-fire TV news special. We’re calling this one “The New Normal” – partly because we’ve heard the phrase so many times as it applies to wildfire danger here in California.

(We'll be simulcasting the program on Radio 91)

Burned patio furniture
KRCB/Steve Mencher

We have two stories today from our partners at The California Report. In a moment we’ll hear about whether there’s a direct link between climate change and the fires raging in Southern California and our own North Bay fires.

First, though we have a story about insurance.

Cynthia Shirley, MSW, from Portraits of Professional Caregivers
Production still

Monday at 9 p.m. KRCB TV 22 will present the documentary "Portraits of Professional Caregivers: Their Passion, Their Pain," about the stresses caregivers and first responders suffer as part of their jobs. News Director Steve Mencher spoke with producer Rodney Whittenberg who started off by describing the background of his filmmaking partner Vic Compher.

Watch the trailer below:

Undocufund slide
KRCB/Steve Mencher

We’re going to make one more visit to the meeting last week where nonprofits heard from groups raising money after the North Bay fires. Susan Shaw of the North Bay Organizing Project realized early on that help from insurance companies and government agencies would likely bypass undocumented community members. What resulted was the UnDocuFund. Shaw began her talk last week with evidence of why the UnDocuFund is needed.

Darius Anderson
KRCB/Steve Mencher

We reported last week on a meeting here in Rohnert Park that brought together funders, government representatives and nonprofits working to coordinate fire recovery dollars.

A Fires Story by Brian Fies
Brian Fies

"Drawing Strength: Building Community Through Creativity" is a fire relief fundraiser scheduled for Dec. 9 at the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center. Dave Eggers, Brian Fies, Christopher Moore, Stephan Pastis, Raina Telgemeier and Judd Winnick will talk about how humor and creativity can help the North Bay recover from the recent firestorms. They'll make sketches, sign books and share wine.

Adrienne Lauby
KRCB/Steve Mencher

Today, we’re returning to a meeting held November 27 that focused on two issues: rental housing and homelessness. At Christ Church United Methodist on Monday, several dozen people, including elected officials and housing advocates, sought solutions to elements of the housing crisis that were made worse by the North Bay fires.

Fire Relief meeting slide
KRCB/Steve Mencher

At a "Resilience Convening" this week, more than 150 community nonprofits gathered in Rohnert Park. They heard from some of the organizations that have sprung up since the North Bay fires to collect and distribute funds for the recovery.

Elizabeth Brown, CEO of Community Foundation, Sonoma County welcomed the attendees– including KRCB news director Steve Mencher–with an insight into what everyone in the room has been grappling with for nearly two months.

The funders represented included:

Kendall Jarvis
KRCB/Steve Mencher

Before the North Bay fires, Sonoma County was in a housing crisis. After the fires – the crisis has become an ongoing catastrophe. Several dozen people met Monday evening at Christ Church United Methodist in Santa Rosa to talk about the fire’s effects on renters and the homeless.

Senior Airman Martin Baglien in Santa Rosa
U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Daniel Phelps

As trucks continue to haul away the remains of homes burned in the North Bay fires, homeowners are beginning to deal with the next big step in recovery – claiming their insurance. KQED’s Sukey Lewis talked with homeowners, insurers and state officials. She started in Lake County, where the Valley Fire destroyed homes in 2015 and some residents are still fighting to get their payouts.

See the original story at The California Report.

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