Evacuation Orders Lifted for Santa Rosa, Windsor, Healdsburg

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Five days after it began, the largest mass evacuation in Northern California history ended today when 150 thousand county residents forced out of their homes by the Kincade fire were told they could return.

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office made the announcement just after 2PM, lifting all restrictions within the city limits of Santa Rosa, while downgrading the mandatory evacuation order to a warning for Windsor and Healdsburg.

Two days ago, residents of West Sonoma County including Sebastopol, Guerneville, Forestville, Bodega Bay and Jenner were allowed to return home.

As the last in a series of 4 Red Flag Warnings in three weeks expired, Cal Fire and state and county officials determined that fire lines had held around the western and southern sides of the 77 thousand acre Kincade Fire, and with 5 thousand firefighters now assigned to the blaze, that it would be safe to allow almost all evacuated residents to return home.

The announcement came one week after the Kincade Fire roared out of the mountains above Geyserville, forcing the first evacuations of Geyserville and the Alexander Valley, a mass exodus that would expand greatly just three days later on Saturday as an unprecedented wind event bore down on the North Bay.  The evacuations of Windsor and Healdsburg that day would be followed shortly after by the evacuation of the Mark West Area of Santa Rosa, and finally by the north and west sides of the city and almost all of western Sonoma County.

The forced displacement was made all the worse as power was shutoff Saturday by PG&E to 3-400 thousand Sonoma County and North Bay residents, and more than 3 million statewide in the latest Public Safety Power Shutoff event.

On Wednesday, that power was slowly being restored across the county, a process that could take until Friday for rural areas of Sonoma County.

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