wildfires

A sign is posted on a tree in front of a burned home in the Coffey Park neighborhood on November 13, 2017 in Santa Rosa, California

Pictures of Santa Rosa’s Coffey Park became some of the most memorable images from the devastating North Bay Wildfires in October: the middle class neighborhood lost more than 1,300 homes. As part of Forum’s series on rebuilding after the fires, we take a close look at Coffey Park as construction begins on the first house to be rebuilt since the Tubbs fire tore through the subdivision. We want to hear from residents of Coffey Park — do you plan to return? Why or why not?

Hawaii and Japan both experienced false alarms about nuclear missile strikes in recent days. Such errors are raising questions about the reliability of emergency warning systems and how notification of a nuclear attack would unfold in California. Recent wildfires and landslides have exposed weaknesses too, leaving many people wondering if they will be adequately notified when danger strikes. Forum discusses California’s emergency alert system with the director of the state’s Office of Emergency Services, Mark Ghilarducci.

machinery in place to clear debris after mudlsides in a residential area

At least 17 people have died and 43 remain missing after heavy rain caused massive mudslides in Santa Barbara County on Tuesday. The slides also destroyed at least 50 homes and damaged 450 more in Santa Barbara County. We’ll get the latest on the disaster and find out how burned out areas of the North Bay can avoid a similar catastrophe.

A CalFire firefighter uses a hose to monitor hot spots during a firing operation while battling the Tubbs Fire on October 12, 2017 near Calistoga.

Close to 15,000 homes were damaged or destroyed in the fires that ravaged the North Bay in October. As residents decide whether or not to rebuild, many are facing a daunting crisis: a shortage of contractors and construction workers, who were stretched thin even before the fires. Forum talks about the Bay Area’s overburdened construction industry and what it means for the speed and cost of new construction in the fire zones, and throughout the area.

Guests:
Robert Eyler, professor of economics; dean, School of Extended and International Education, Sonoma State University
Keith Woods, CEO, North Coast Builders Exchange
Tim Leach, chair, Build and Rebuild Initiative, Habitat for Humanity Sonoma County
Kathy Goodacre, executive director, CTE Foundation

Related:

CTE Foundation: Construction Corps Training Program
KQED’s wildfire coverage
North Coast Builders Exchange: What You Need to Know Before Hiring a Contractor

 

An out of control wildfire approaches Gundlach Bundschu winery on October 9, 2017 in Sonoma, California

Naturalist, travel guide and Sonoma County resident Michael Ellis first heard about the North Bay fires at 3:30 a.m., when his son called from India and told him to evacuate. He joins Forum to discuss how the region’s unique woodlands and grasslands are recovering after the devastating fires. He’ll also talk about his 2017 adventures, which included trips to Bhutan and Tanzania. And we’ll hear about this summer’s influx of humpback whales into San Francisco Bay.

Guests:

Michael Ellis, naturalist

Related:

Michael Ellis: Fire and Landscape

A view of homes in the Coffey Park neighborhood that were destroyed by the Tubbs Fire on October 23, 2017 in Santa Rosa, California.

More than $3 billion in insurance claims have been filed for damages from the recent wildfires in Northern California, yet many people who lost homes are either uninsured or underinsured. Meanwhile, some wealthy homeowners benefited from the protection of private firefighters provided by their high-end insurance policies. Forum talks with a consumer advocate about the issues faced by North Bay residents and takes your fire insurance questions.

Host: Michael Krasny

Guests:
Amy Bach,
executive director and cofounder, United Policyholders
Janet Ruiz, California representative, Insurance Information Institute

More Information:

KQED’s Complete Fire Coverage

UnitedPolicyHolders.org

Religious statues are seen among fire damaged buildings at Cardinal Newman High School on October 10, 2017 in Santa Rosa, California.

The fires that swept the North Bay earlier this month left behind a swath of destruction: at least 5,700 homes and buildings were destroyed and most significantly, at least 42 people have died, with 27 others still unaccounted for as of Wednesday. Many people in the region have lost their homes, their place of employment or have been significantly impacted by the fires in some way. In this hour we’ll talk with faith leaders from Sonoma County about how their religions or practices are helping their communities get through the challenges and emotions brought on by the historic wildfires. If your faith is helping you cope in the wake of the North Bay fires, please tell us how. And if you’re not active in a religious or spiritual practice, where are you finding solace?

Guests:
Rachel Boughton,
roshi and director, Santa Rosa Creek Zen Center
Dale Flowers, pastor, First Presbyterian Church of Santa Rosa
George Gittleman, rabbi, Congregation Shomrei Torah in Santa Rosa
Sameh Hussein,president, Islamic Society of Santa Rosa
Mandeep Nagra, spokesperson, Sikh Temple of Santa Rosa

Renee Hernandez looks over the remains of her Coffey Park home that was destroyed by the Tubbs Fire on October 23, 2017 in Santa Rosa, California.

Forty-two people are confirmed dead in the wildfires that swept across Northern California this month. In this hour, Forum will remember and celebrate the lives of many of those who died or are still missing. And we invite you to share your remembrances — if you lost a friend or loved one in the North Bay fires please tell us about them. Who were they? What will you miss most about them? What memories will you cherish?

Guests:
Gabe Meline, online editor, KQED Arts
Sukey Lewis, criminal justice reporter, KQED
Dan Brekke, editor and reporter, KQED News
Carl Nolte, reporter and columnist, San Francisco Chronicle

A sortable list of those identified as of Sunday, Oct. 15, as having died in the fires (right click (Windows) or control click (OS X) to access links):


Mentioned on Air:

Residents search for an engagement ring at a burned residence in Santa Rosa, California on October 20, 2017. Residents are being allowed to return to their burned homes on October 20 to grieve and search through remains. Around 5,700 homes and businesses have been destroyed by the fires, the deadliest in California's history.

Northern California lost nearly 5,500 residential properties in this month’s wildfires. Santa Rosa Press Democrat Editorial Director Paul Gullixson has a plea for those who lost their homes: Please don’t leave. “We want you back. We need you back,” Gullixson wrote recently. “We know Santa Rosa and Sonoma County will rebuild. What we don’t know is what we would be or who we would be without you.” Forum talks with Gullixson about his Sonoma County community, and recovery after the devastating wildfires.

Guests:

Paul Gullixson, editorial director, The Press Democrat

Related:

The Press Democrat: Gullixson: Message to fire victims: We need you to come back

marijuana plants

The fires in Sonoma, Lake and Mendocino counties have hit the marijuana industry hard. Farmers along the North Coast were preparing for recreational marijuana’s California debut this January. Instead, an estimated one third of their crops have burned at the peak of harvest season. Federal restrictions on marijuana limit growers’ access to credit and insurance so many farmers saw their cash savings go up in smoke. We’ll discuss the damage and plans to bounce back.

Mentioned on Air:
California Growers Association Wildfire Recovery Fund

More KQED Wildfire Coverage at kqed.org/wildfires

Smoke continues to rise from the Hilton Sonoma Wine Country on October 9, 2017 in Santa Rosa, California.

Though this week so far has brought some good news regarding the containment of the North Bay fires, business is far from usual. Early estimates put the region’s loss of economic output at $200 million, which is expected to rise. In this segment we’ll look at how the fires are affecting the region’s wine and tourism industries, which account for about one in four jobs in Sonoma, Napa and Solano counties.

Guests:
Chris Canning, mayor, Calistoga
Karissa Kruse, president, Sonoma County Winegrowers
Jill Techel, mayor, Napa
Farida Jhabvala Romero, reporter, KQED News
Christopher Thornberg, founding partner, Beacon Economics

More Information:
More of KQED’s wildfire coverage at kqed.org/wildfires
VisitNapaValley.org
SonomaCounty.com

Fire trucks drive by closed businesses on October 13, 2017 in Calistoga, California.

As firefighters continue to contain the devastating wildfires in Northern California, residents are returning to cities and towns that were under mandatory evacuation. Forum checks in with county officials about opening schools when many students and teachers are now homeless. We’ll also hear about the health concerns of returning to fire-stricken areas.

Guests:
Scott Alonso, spokesperson, Sonoma County
Karen Relucio, public health officer, Napa County
Steve Harrington, superintendent of schools, Sonoma County
Robert Giordano, Sonoma County Sheriff
Terence Mulligan, president, Napa Valley Community Foundation
Tonya Mosley, correspondent, KQED News

More Information:

An out of control wildfire approaches Gundlach Bundschu winery on October 9, 2017 in Sonoma, California

We’ll bring you the latest news on the wildfires that have been devastating communities in Sonoma and Napa counties and across Northern California.

Guests:
Bill Dodd, California state senator, district 3
Michael Kodas, deputy director, Center for Environmental Journalism, University of Colorado; author, “Megafire: The Race to Extinguish a Deadly Epidemic of Flame”
Molly Peterson, reporter on assignment, KQED News
Sarah Stierch, Sonoma-based freelance writer

More Information:

A firefighter watches smoke billow as flames approach a residential area in Sonoma in California on October 10, 2017. Firefighters battled wildfires in California's wine region on Tuesday as the death toll rose to 15 and thousands were left homeless in neighborhoods reduced to ashes.

In this hour, we’ll bring you the latest news on the wildfires burning across Northern California. We’ll also hear from elected officials about how their respective communities are faring, how they are providing for the North Bay’s most vulnerable populations and what type of support their constituents need.

Guests:
John Garamendi,
U.S. Representative, California’s 3rd district, Former CA Lt. Governor
James Gore, member of the board of supervisors for Sonoma County’s 4th district
Jared Huffman, U.S. Representative, California’s 2nd district
Mike Thompson, U.S. Representative, California’s 5th district

More Information:

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor

KQED Public Media for Northern CA