Evacuees hope firefighters can control Walbridge Fire, but possible lightning strikes could pose setback

SONOMA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- There was some relief in the North Bay where some evacuation orders were downgraded Sunday for parts of Forestville and the Dry Creek Valley, but danger from the Walbridge Fire has far from passed.

A driving tour showed the path of destruction from the Walbridge fire in western Healdsburg.

The fire was still smoldering on Wallace Creek Road. By morning, there was thick, heavy smoke across the region.

RELATED: What we know about LNU, CZU, SCU complex fires in Santa Cruz, Napa, Sonoma, San Mateo counties and beyond

By Sunday afternoon, CAL FIRE was back in the air with choppers making water drops, after fire was spotted in canyons above the Dry Creek Valley.

On Chemise Road, a home was destroyed by the fire nothing left but the metal roof.

But down the hill, a grove of olive trees was still standing, spared by the flames.

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A new weather threat from winds and lightning could be a huge setback for fire crews.

RELATED: Fire tornadoes, charred horses, chaos: Inside one chilling evacuation from the LNU Lightning Complex fires

"The winds will be light, however erratic gusty winds up to 65 mph may occur and lightning could start new fires," said CAL FIRE Division Chief Jeremy Rahn.

"We're going to be watching the potential lightning storm tonight," said Windsor Mayor Dominic Foppoli.
Foppoli is concerned about the weather, but is confident fire crews will gain the upper hand. Still, residents should be prepared to go if necessary.

"We've gone through this before, those not in warning zones, are ready to go, some have already left," said Windsor Vice-Mayor Esther Lemus.

Kristie Leitstein from Guerneville is one of thousands of evacuees, out of their homes.

RELATED: LNU, SCU Lightning Complex fires among the biggest in state history: See list of top 10

She's hoping to get some assistance to help pay for the hotel where she and her family could be staying for a while

"We hope to get some assistance, we may spend $4,000 on a hotel for two weeks," she said.

Sonoma County officials said it was working with the Red Cross to provide hotel vouchers to evacuees.

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