By Andrea Nakano

HEALDSBURG (KPIX) — Many residents on the west side of Healdsburg had evacuated by late Thursday night, as the Walbridge Fire quickly advanced.

Roads in the Mill Creek area became impassable as a raging fire scorched the mountainside. Flames were seen shooting up the sides of the majestic redwoods, burning wildly out of control.

Jason Passalacqua, who lives off Mill Creek Road said, “It’s scary at the end of the day and it’s out of anybody’s control.”

Passalacqua has been working all day and night on what he can control. “We trimmed back trees, put sprinklers on the roof and, most importantly, I have friends that have showed up that have offered to help.”

Air tankers worked as late as they could to try to knock most of the blaze. Residents say the fire has been erratic, especially with the winds picking up.

Gail Pippi said “It starts on one end and goes another. They don’t know what to predict right now.”

Firefighters have been dealing with abnormal weather conditions. Paul Lowenthal, the Walbridge Fire public information officer, said “Depending on what part of the fire we’re on we’ve had increase in winds and fire behavior anywhere from that 9, 10, 11 o’clock hour to 3 in the morning.”

Firefighters say that, as of Thursday night, they have been able to contain the fire to west of Highway 101, away from the town of Healdsburg and they hope to keep it north of the Russian River.

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