The Fire

On Sunday night, October 8, 2017 the wind was really blowing... with gusts like a hurricane at times. I went to bed at 11PM and at about 1:30AM I heard a loud "boom".

Looking out my bedroom window I saw fire about 100 yards behind the vineyards in my back yard... just beyond the houses.

By the time I got dressed, and went into the backyard, the fire was already consuming the homes and had spread to other structures on three sides of me. I grabbed the lawn hose and began to spray everything I could... Embers flying and landing everywhere around me... Gust of wind almost strong enough to knock me down.

A large branch of the Cherry tree snapped and almost fell on me... close but it missed me by inches...

Then my electricity went out... and the water...(from a well on the property)

So, no power, no lights, no water and no phone...

I managed to douse a few embers with the six gallons of water I had stored in a cabinet... But, that didn't last long.

I loaded my truck with my computer and some backup files... I didn't even think about the art or clothing or much of anything else.

At 3AM, the police arrived and told me to get out immediately ... there was fire throughout the area and roads were being closed and everyone was scrambling to get out of Sonoma Valley as fast as possible.

So, I locked up the house and left... drove a short distance to the home of friends and sat in their driveway in my truck waiting for daylight.

At 6AM I returned to my home... the wind had died down and the fires were less threatening... I began to clean up the wind damage outside my house... the house was still OK.

However, much of the neighborhood was toast.

For the next two days, I managed to refill my water jugs, and expected power to be restored soon.... eventually I realized the fire was much, much more wide spread... and it had destroyed hundreds of homes through the entire county.

Attempting to function normally without water or power proved to be more difficult than expected.

After a short trip to Glen Ellen to refresh my water jugs... the police would not allow me to return home... So, I went to Sonoma and managed to find a room at the El Pueblo Inn owned by friends where I have art in every room.

The Inn provided a room, food and a way to communicate with the outside world... for the next 10 days...

Unlike the larger hotels in Sonoma (most owned by out of the area corporations), the El Pueblo stayed open throughout the fire and even provided free showers and rooms for everyone that needed help.

If you ever visit Sonoma... and need a place to stay... make sure you support the El Pueblo Inn. They are a local family and deserve support for their commitment to the community.

Two weeks after the fires started, I was able to return home... Amazingly, my home survived ... Many of my neighbors did not fare as well.

Here are a few photos of my limited perspective.


this is how my backyard view looked before October 8th.





The view from my bedroom window005

Wind gusting... embers flying and houses burning





and the traffic trying to leave the area



the next morning after returning to my house... Sugarloaf Mountain was starting to burn... it took all day and continued through Tuesday night.



and backyard wind damage




notice the cars on Adobe Canyon Road leaving the area (I was staying for another day at this point)


The view after the first day... notice the missing houses... just the chimneys left




and looking left at Hood Mountain. (first... prior to fire...)


and after the fire...


and more...



my outdoor (car-port) gallery was blown apart by the wind...


by the middle of November, I managed to redesign and rebuild the Car-port Gallery for future use...



and finally... I was very lucky... and now back to normal life again...