Walbridge Fire 'dodged a bullet' in the North Bay with favorable weather conditions, CAL FIRE says

FORESTVILLE, Calif. (KGO) -- 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.

"We really seemed to dodge a bullet. The system approached our area and we did have some reports of cloud to cloud strikes but nothing cloud to ground. It was a huge lift off our shoulders. We were really worried that we were going to end up with a bunch of new starts potentially and/or challenging the existing fires that we have here," said CAL FIRE Spokesperson Paul Lowenthal.

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Lowenthal says there was some wind overnight but their lines held. The fire is 5% contained. Lowenthal says that might not sound like much but he expects to see a lot of progress Monday.

"There's a lot of pieces of containment that have been put into place and it's just a matter of connecting the dots right now. So we are really hoping over the next 24 hours you see those containment numbers go up significantly," he said.

Guerneville resident Jerry Knight was walking around the downtown Monday morning, surveying the situation. Knight broadcasts updates for locals on River Theatre Radio at 95.1. He says Monday's news looks good.

"It's looking pretty good compared to how it was looking. I have been here since the beginning of the fire," Knight said.

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As if the call to evacuate wasn't scary enough, the road out was harrowing. One evacuee in Winters, Calif. recorded this as he drove through the fire while evacuating.



Some evacuation orders were lifted Sunday on the western side of the county. But other parts, like Guerneville, are still evacuated. Firefighters hope to change that soon.

"The goal is to get people home. We are working as hard as we can to get the containment line secure around the fire so we can get people back home," Lowenthal said Monday morning.

Monday morning the Walbridge fire had burned an estimated 54,068 acres.

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