As fire crews continue their fight to contain the 22 separate fires raging across California, with several of the largest in the North Bay, the death toll continues its steady climb, with officials fearing that the number will balloon when excavation of the burned-out areas can finally begin.
The Chronicle has the latest on the death toll, which they say has risen to 23 as of this morning. [Update: As of Thursday afternoon, the death toll stands at 29.] They also go on to say that officials are expecting to see the number rise as the ashes are sifted in the coming days. The Tubbs Fire has clearly been the most deadly out of all the fires, having claimed 11 of the 13 total deaths in Sonoma County alone. A majority of the people reported missing in Sonoma County, however, have been found, leaving 285 of the estimated 600 reported people still missing. Sonoma County Sheriff Deputy Brandon Jones told the Chron, "It skyrocketed [Wednesday], which was phenomenal. A lot of these things resolve themselves. But we don’t want to miss a single update."
The latest Cal Fire report shows that while the Tubbs fire has grown to consume 34,270 acres, it's now 10% contained, meaning that at least the beginning of a containment line has been held. The Atlas Fire now covers 43,762 acres, an increase in over 1,400 acres from Wednesday afternoon, and is still only 3% contained. KRON 4 reports that the Nuns Fire and the Norbbom Fire (both part of the Southern LNU Complex Fire along with the Atlas Fire) have joined together, bringing the total area consumed for both fires to 14,698, with a total of 3% containment.
Below, a map of these fires, with indications of what has most recently been burning.
Regarding evacuation orders, new orders have come in for parts of the city of Napa, and both Calistoga, Geyserville, and Boyes Hot Springs were evacuated Wednesday evening, the latter which was under a voluntary order. Reportedly the National Guard arrived to protect historic downtown Sonoma, possibly from looting.
The Chron reports that fire officials have asked Petaluma residents to be ready to evacuate, though they haven't delivered any firm orders yet. KRON 4 also has a list of updated evacuation areas, which include:
In Napa County, advisories were issued for people living east of Silverado Trail, Soscol Avenue, Highway 221, Highway 29 and north of Jameson Canyon Road.
In Sonoma County, Palomino Lakes as well as parts of Windsor and Healdsburg. In Solano County, north of Jameson Canyon Road and I-80 and west of Suisun Valley Road
Schools farther south have also been impacted by the smoke-polluted air, according to the Chron. They report that all schools in the following districts have been closed on Thursday:
- Vallejo City Unified School District
- Benicia Unified School District
- John Swett Unified School District
- Pittsburg Unified School District
- West Contra Costa Unified School District
- Martinez Unified School District
- Mount Diablo Unified School District
- Antioch Unified School District