Sonoma County Wildfires: Frequently Asked Questions, Useful Numbers and Resources

As the fires continue to ravage Sonoma and Napa counties, we continue to collect and share useful information with our readers. Below is a list of resources for those affected by the fires, organized by frequently asked questions. Please email us with more information. The gallery above is composed of photos and stories from the fires.

Where are the wildfires? 

Find out how close the fires are to you with this continuously updated map showing current hot spots and fire lines: pressdemocrat.com/multimedia/7516058-181/live-map-of-wildfires-burning

Live updates on the latest news about the active fires in Sonoma County, plus news from Mendocino, Lake and other North Bay counties can be found here: pressdemocrat.com/news/7521925-181

Fire containment can be tracked at the top of this page: pressdemocrat.com

Where are evacuations taking place right now?

Get information regarding mandatory and voluntary evacuations in your area directly to your cellphone by texting your zip code to 888-777.

Click these links for updates lists of evacuation areas in Sonoma County:
sonomacounty.ca.gov/Public-Safety/Confirmed-Evacuations
pressdemocrat.com/news/7512171-181/evacuation-information-for-sonoma-county

Where are shelters located?

The following evacuation centers are open and accepting people evacuated:
sonomacounty.ca.gov/Public-Safety/News/Evacuation-Shelters

Please note: Evacuation Centers are not checking immigration status, however they may ask for identification. The purpose of this is to locate missing persons. You do not have to provide identification and you may only share your name if you choose.

How do I report, or receive information about, a missing person? 

On Thursday, October 12, officials said crews are working to find at least 285 people who have been reported missing in Sonoma County. There were originally 600 reports of missing people, but officials said that 315 were located safely. The numbers had been inconsistent while authorities tried to get confirmation.

Register yourself as “Safe and Well”, or search for loved ones at safeandwell.org.

How can I prepare for an evacuation? 

If there’s a chance you might need to evacuate, here are 10 things you can do now:
pressdemocrat.com/lifestyle/7512221-181/10-things-you-can-do

How can I help those affected by the fires?

As the fires continue to ravage Sonoma and neighboring counties, we are heartened by the kindness, compassion, resilience and resourcefulness evident in our community. Calls for help and donations have been answered by thousands of locals eager to support those in need.

Here’s where you can volunteer, donate and support fire victims:
pressdemocrat.com/news/7512190-181/how-to-help-volunteer-donate

A number of fundraising events will be held in support of the fire victims in the coming days and weeks, check this article for updates:
sonomamag.com/fundraisers-for-sonoma-and-napa-fire-victims

Which roads are closed due to the fires? 

For updated information on road closures, go to the County of Sonoma here and the CHP here. A continuously updated list of road closures can be found here: pressdemocrat.com/news/7512184-181/road-closures-due-to-fires

How do I protect myself from the smoke? 

The wildfires have brought with them the worst air quality levels ever recorded in some parts of the Bay Area, according to Bay Area Air Quality Management District. The air quality in Sonoma County now rivals the Chinese capital of Beijing.

Here are some tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on how to protect yourself: cdc.gov/features/wildfires

Where can I receive medical care if I have been evacuated, or my hospital has been evacuated?

If you have been evacuated to a shelter in Sonoma County,  a number of locations offer enhanced services such as mental health and acute medical assistance, including Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds (175 Fairgrounds Drive, Petaluma), Elsie Allen High School (599 Bellevue Avenue, Santa Rosa), Santa Rosa Veterans Building (1351 Maple Avenue), and Sonoma County Fairgrounds Pavillion (1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa). More information here: sonomacounty.ca.gov/Public-Safety/News/Evacuation-Shelters

Kaiser Permanente:
Kaiser Permanente medical centers in Santa Rosa remain closed until further notice. If you live in an affected area, see a complete list of open and closed emergency, primary and pharmacy locations here: kaiserpermanente.org/article/fires-northern-california. For more information, call 1-866-454-8855.

Sutter: 
Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital remains closed. If you live in an affected area, see a complete list of open and closed emergency, primary and pharmacy locations here: sutterhealth.org/for-patients/community-alert. For more information, call 1-866-961-2889.

When will power be restored? 

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. reported 51,000 Sonoma County customers were still without power Thursday morning, October 12, with the largest outage area on the west side of Santa Rosa where about 15,500 homes and businesses are powerless. Some power has now been restored.

Continuously updated power outage data provided by PG&E can be found on this interactive map: pressdemocrat.com/multimedia/7522448-181/current-pge-outages

Where do I pick up my mail if I have been evacuated?

Santa Rosa residents: The Santa Rosa Post Office will be providing mail pickup on Saturday and Sunday, October 14 and 15, for customers displaced by evacuations and wildfires. Please have proper photo ID on hand to retrieve mail. More information about where and when to retrieve your mail: srcity.org

Residents of Sonoma, Glen Ellen, Kenwood, Eldridge, El Verano, Vineburg and Boyes Hot Springs: The Sonoma Valley post offices are temporarily using the Petaluma Casa Grande Carrier Annex at 1601 Corporate Circle in Petaluma. Pick up service is available 12-6 p.m. Monday through Friday until further notice. Bring photo ID. More information here: about.usps.com/news/state-releases

How do I apply for federal financial assistance?

Sonoma County residents who are wildfire victims are eligible to apply for federal financial assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Small Business Administration. FEMA has opened a relief center on the first floor of The Press Democrat building on 427 Mendocino Ave. in Santa Rosa. This is a one-stop shop for obtaining personal documents, filing insurance claims, obtaining a driver’s license and other items.

Residents — even those who are covered by homeowner, commercial and auto policies at the time of the disaster — are urged to apply online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by phone at 800-621-3362.

Depending on their needs, residents could receive up to $34,000 in FEMA disaster grants to provide for temporary housing, essential home repairs and losses that are not covered under personal property or homeowner policies.

The grants do not have to be paid back and are considered nontaxable income that does not affect eligibility for Social Security, Medicaid or other federal benefits.

More information here: pressdemocrat.com/news/7522592-181/sonoma-county-fire-victims-urged

Where can I get assistance processing home and auto insurance claims?

Representatives from five insurance companies (Allstate, The Hartford, USAA, Liberty Mutual and Safeco) are at Finley Park in Santa Rosa to help residents impacted by fires file and process home and auto insurance claims. The representatives are able to also provide money for living expenses.

Bring insurance information if available and a personal ID. If neither is available, the representatives will be able to help through company information with a customer’s name.

How do I best respond to my child’s emotional needs during this time of crisis?

Thousands of children have been temporarily or permanently displaced by the wildfires, and most of the schools in Sonoma County remain closed. As a parent, remember to take care of yourself. Children depend on the adults around them to feel safe and secure, and are likely to be more affected by your emotional state than by your words.

For more useful tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics on how to support your children during this difficult time, click on this link: healthychildren.org

To offer some relief in this devastating situation, a number of Sonoma and Bay Area museums and activity centers are offering free admission to families affected by the fires: sonomamag.com/free-museums-indoor-activities-for-families-affected-by-the-sonoma-napa-fires

How can I take care of myself, emotionally, during this time of crisis? 

From the Red Cross: Disasters are upsetting experiences for everyone involved. Children, senior citizens, people with disabilities and people for whom English is not their first language are especially at risk and are likely to need extra care and help. But everyone, even the people that others look up to for guidance and assistance, is entitled to their feelings and deserves support throughout the recovery process.

More information about emotional responses, and recovery, here: redcross.org

For local mental health resources during this time of crisis, click this link: recamft.org/local-resources

Which restaurants are open?

Here is a list of restaurants serving the public, evacuees and first responders: sonomamag.com/biteclub/where-to-eat-restaurants-open-and-serving-in-sonoma-county

Public Information: Numbers and Resources

EOC Hotline: 707-565-3856 or call 2-1-1
Santa Rosa Public Information Line: 707-543-4511
Santa Rosa Emergency Information: srcity.org/610/Emergency-Information
City of Santa Rosa Fire Department Facebook Page: facebook.com/SantaRosaFD
County of Sonoma Emergency Information: sonomacounty.ca.gov/Home
County of Sonoma Facebook: facebook.com/SonomaCountyCal
County of SonomaTwitter: twitter.com/CountyofSonoma
Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office Nixle: local.nixle.com/sonoma-county-sheriffs-office (to get notifications, text your zip code to 888777)
SoCoAlert: SoCoAlert.com – click on “Sign Up Today”
Press conferences and public safety briefings are held at 1 p.m and 6 p.m. daily, and are lives streamed here: facebook.com/sonoma.sheriff

Looking for more things to do in Sonoma County? Click here

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