SONOMA COUNTY (KPIX 5) — Now that the Kincade Fire is out, Sonoma County is inspecting many of the damaged areas, looking for hazardous materials. One of the first to be inspected is the Oak Ridge Angus Ranch, just below the geysers, not far from where the fire started.
Ranch owner Frank Mongini remembers that night in late October. “It was 1,200 acres and in a matter of two hours, it was gone!”
The fire swept across his land. He says the wind was like nothing he has ever seen before. “In a matter of minutes, it was a fire storm, literally. They claim the wind was 92 mph. We were standing outside and embers as big as your head were going by,” Mongini said.
In a nearby field, the flames traveled over the top of 600 cattle’s heads. “They were in open space and they could actually run through the fire! You could tell some of them were on fire, their hair was singed, some were burned but remarkably, very few died,” Mongini recalled.
Three generations have lived on the ranch. Mostly everything was burned to the ground. The county arrived and started inspecting for house hazardous waste.
“Before debris can be removed, we want to be sure that there is not house hold hazardous waste,” said Rohish Lal, Sonoma County Public Information Officer. They are looking for paints, old propane tanks, even asbestos floor tiles, all marked for special handling.
They are also using Geiger counters to look for radiation; a background radiation check is one of the items that must be confirmed. None was detected at the ranch.
The county believes the inspections will be completed in three weeks.
Even after all he and his family have been through, Mongini remains positive. “You’re born into it and it’ll take more than this to beat us down.”