Thought I'd chime in with some good news, finally. I don't live in the direct path of the fires, so we were never in any danger, but were on the periphery, where we choked on the smoke and heard the ceaseless roar of passing fire engines for days. Things have quieted down considerably.
Most of the fires are contained now, some by as much as 80%. The dreadful air quality that necessitated the wearing of serious environmental masks has drastically improved, and we aren't coughing as much. We got a spot of rain yesterday! Gave the fire fighters a much needed boost.
We get daily bulletins now instead of hourly, the evacuation orders have ceased and some areas, like the town of Calistoga, have allowed residents to come back. Others still are awaiting clearance of dangerously burned trees and downed power poles and lines before they will be allowed access. Some of the regional aid fire fighting teams have gone home, and mopping up continues with local teams. The worst, it seems, is over.
Still, the toll is horrendous. Almost 30% of the Sonoma Valley was burned to the ground! This includes something like 6000 structures, many people lost their lives and others were badly burned during their escape. Livestock and pets were burned as well. Fire fighters said the fire came through one area as a "flashover," and literally burned animals where they stood. They found charred black statues they recognized as sheep, goats and others. Impossible to contemplate something that horrific. Property damage estimates are over one Billion dollars at this point.
What saves everyone from totally being devastated by grief is the continuing recitation of stories of heroic actions, courage in the face of the unimaginable, survival stories against impossible odds, and people as well as businesses opening their doors, their hearts and their pocketbooks to those who have been hurt most. People are at their best under these extreme circumstances.