CAL FIRE said firefighters are having difficulty putting out spot fires. They expect the wildfires to grow in several directions.
Guerneville and the Russian River region have become a ghost town in what should be the busiest time of year. Or, so we thought. There are residents staying put until word they need to evacuate.
"No, there's hundreds of people there, actually," said Linda Kahrau. She and her brother, Mike, own Ferns Grocery in Monte Rio, the "Vacation Wonderland." As the sign on their door says, "Please do call again."
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Officials said there has been significant structure loss and damage.
Rio Nido, this afternoon.— Wayne Freedman (@WayneFreedman) August 21, 2020
“It’s a party!"
A Bloody Mary mixer with bags packed and ashes on top.
Despite evac orders, 100's along the Russian River remain. “Where we going to go?” asked one. “Shelters and hotels are full. There’s Covid out there.” #abc7now #walbridgefire pic.twitter.com/ugo1TNxQNV
"While there has been spotting, it hasn't been long range enough to be concerned about it getting across the Dry Creek Valley at this point," said Cal Fire Division Chief Ben Nichols on Thursday.
A 'quiet' morning on southern front of #WalbridgeFire. Smoke above Monte Rio is a concern. Evacuation order in effect. Seen burn along Sweetwater Springs Road from a couple of days ago That’s new ash landing on a charred leaf. #abc7now May heat up around 2pm. pic.twitter.com/9aPaPZCs5f— Wayne Freedman (@WayneFreedman) August 21, 2020
"Nowhere to go," said Mike. "Age of COVID. What you going to do?"
Non-evacuees would probably be watching smoke from the Walbridge Fire. In days past, it has raised havoc, burned more than 20,000 acres, destroyed countless homes, and last night, drew an all-out assault from what looked much of the "CAL FIRE Air Force."
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Natural disasters come with the turf out here, we hear.
"Fire, flood, fire, flood. It just keeps going," said Mike.
It's become a mantra.
"Fire, flood, fire, flood, pandemic, fire, here we are....Ha Ha," laughed DeeDee Partridge. We found her along with family and friends in the redwoods of Rio Nido.
They're more of those so-called "non-evacuees" with bags packed and ashes gathering on top.
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