Walbridge Fire creeps into historic Armstrong Woods State Park threatening old growth redwoods

ByCornell W. Barnard KGO logo
Tuesday, August 25, 2020
Walbridge Fire creeps into historic CA state park
There is a new focus for firefighters on the Walbridge Fire - protecting a historic grove of California Redwoods in the North Bay.

GUERNEVILLE, Calif. (KGO) -- There is a new focus for firefighters on the Walbridge Fire - protecting a historic grove of California redwoods.

There was fire inside historic Armstrong Woods State Park in Guerneville on Monday.

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"It's been burning all the way down, looks like it'll keep going," said State Parks ranger Mike Lair.

The Walbridge Fire made its way to the floor of the Russian River Valley in Guerneville, slowly creeping into the center of this historic park of old growth redwood trees. Firefighters were close by, watching its progress and ready to protect the grove.

"If it continues to go that way we won't see any damage to the trees, if it becomes an inferno type, we've got concerns," said Lair.

VIDEO: Walbridge Fire 'dodged a bullet' in the North Bay with favorable weather conditions

Cal Fire says the predicted lightning strikes never materialized Sunday night and Monday morning on the Walbridge Fire in Sonoma County, giving them a big break in the firefight.

After almost a week of fighting this fire, crews are slowly making progress. But the fire has been relentless, feeding on dry brush. Several homes have been lost in the hills above Healdsburg.

CAL FIRE feared a weather system with lightning could make things worse.

"We really dodged a bullet on this one, happy to hear the system fell apart and didn't have significant effects on the fire," said CalFire spokesperson Paul Lowenthal.

Several communities along the Russian River remain under mandatory evacuation orders.

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Harry Singh's mini mart is the only place open for miles.

"We're trying to help, we appreciate the sheriff and fire department," he said.

Others wonder when will the threat of fires will end.

"I thought we'd seen the end of it with fires in Lake and Sonoma counties, who knew it would get this bad," said Steve Guastucci.

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