FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: (707) 565-4765
Public Contact: (707) 565-3856
October 22, 2017 at 12:30 PM
Areas of Larkfield and Wikiup Now Open for Limited, Restricted Re-entry of Burned Out Areas
Santa Rosa, CA – As of 12:30 p.m. today, Sunday October 22nd, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office is opening the burned unincorporated county areas east of Larkfield and Wikiup for limited re-entry by residents and property owners. This area includes the burned out areas on Old Redwood Hwy to Angela Dr in the Cardinal Newman area, Pacific Heights neighborhood and Wikiup north to Mayacama.
In order for you to access your neighborhoods, you must check in at a checkpoint where your identification will be verified and you will be issued an area pass, along with safety equipment and an information packet.
These areas will have limited openings until 5:30 p.m. today and will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. tomorrow.
The location of the checkpoint is the Kaiser Medical Buildings (not the hospital) located at 3925 Old Redwood Hwy, Santa Rosa. Note: In order to access this location you must come south on Old Redwood Hwy from Mark West Springs Road. Northbound traffic is still closed on Old Redwood Hwy from Santa Rosa due to PG&E work being completed.
To see if your address is in a reopened area, use the online, up-to-date evacuation map for Sonoma County available at https://tinyurl.com/centrallnuevacs.
Be Safe Upon Re-Entry:
Please be aware that areas you are re-entering may still pose potential risks. Please stay informed and award of conditions of your area. If you see electrical wires on the ground, stay clear and contact PG&E immediately by calling 1 (800) 743-5000. Trees and poles with deep charring, particularly if still smoking, should be considered hazardous. Please drive slowly and yield to emergency personnel in the area. If at any time you feel unsafe, please call 911. There will still be smoke in the respective areas as firefighters continue firefighting operations.
Re-entry is controlled by entry points to ensure that only residents are allowed back in to burned areas. All re-entry notifications will be done via Nixle and Sonoma Sheriff Facebook. Text your zip code to 888-777 to sign up for Nixle alerts.
- There will be controlled points of entry to neighborhoods staffed by law enforcement who will verify identification and addresses. The re-entry notification will include the location of checkpoints and will list specific hours of entry. Some checkpoints will be issuing passes to get to affected neighborhoods. Passes will be issued to an individual car and are designed to get people easily through checkpoints.
- To enter a restricted zone, residents must provide a form of ID. Acceptable forms of ID include a driver’s license or state ID card, passport, utility bill and valid photo ID, or consular ID. School IDs will not be accepted as valid photo ID. Again, IDs are required to ensure that only residents are coming back into neighborhoods.
- If you do not have ID, the Local Assistance Center (LAC) can help you obtain an ID. The LAC is located at the Press Democrat building at 427 Mendocino Avenue in Santa Rosa.
- Your immigration status will not affect your ability to get an ID.
- Residents can have as many family and friends accompany them as they wish, within the one car per residence limit.
- A map that shows available re-entry points will be provided at entry checkpoints.
- The Department of Public Health advises that children under 18 should not be exposed to the sites as there are toxic chemicals that are hazardous to their heath.
- Ash is a toxic material and dangerous to your health. It is highly recommended that you don’t handle this material.
- Pets are also discouraged as they are closer to the ground and can breathe in unhealthy chemicals.
- A change of clothes and plastic bags are recommended so ash and hazardous chemicals don’t go back into your vehicle and contaminate occupants.
Re-Entry Kits and Safety Instructions:
- A re-entry kit with safety supplies will be provided for residents at the checkpoints.
- Safety instructions for protecting against hazardous chemicals and conditions will also be provided and should be followed.
Support services will be available in each neighborhood:
Each neighborhood will have emotional support services, including mental health providers, the faith community, and law enforcement chaplains.
Media Access to Affected Neighborhoods:
We appreciate all the media has done to keep the public informed and provide information to those outside the community about our needs and recovery efforts. Media personnel will be able to access these neighborhoods via the controlled points of entry at the same time as residents. Media credentials will need to be presented to law enforcement at the check points. You will be provided with a media packet with information, similar to what residents will receive.
During re-entry, our focus will be on helping members of our community return to their property, providing them with safe, secure, private time, and making sure they have the support services they need throughout this process. We ask the members of the media be respectful of the privacy of our residents. Not everyone will want to interview or be on-camera as they reunite with family, friends and neighbors, evaluate their losses, and determine next steps.