SANTA ROSA (KPIX) — After a long, dry autumn, a significant amount of rain has finally fallen in Northern California and, in the North Bay, it officially means fire season is at an end. Residents of Napa and Sonoma counties who have dealt with fires year after year couldn’t be happier to see this rain but the burn areas are now at risk of flash floods and mudslides.
The storm first hit the North Bay and then rolled into San Francisco on Friday afternoon, as sideways rain and wind pelted Fort Funston.
It was a wet Christmas but, in fire-ravaged areas, it was welcome.
“We need water. Water will be like gold,” said George McMahon, a North Bay resident.
The Santa Rosa fire department started transitioning out of fire-season mode last week. Cal Fire is expected to follow next week as a couple of storms are set to arrive this weekend.
“The steady rainfalls that we are seeing, as long as we get those breaks in between, is exactly what we want in the burn scars,” explained Paul Lowenthal with the Santa Rosa Fire Department.
This year, the Glass Fire destroyed roughly 30 homes but affected more than 1,100 properties. McMahon was lucky it didn’t reach his home.
“It was coming towards me as I was leaving the house,” McMahon recalls.
Now the residents are dealing with the aftermath.
You can find warning signs posted in fire-damaged areas about the potential for flash floods and mudslides.
Paul Lowenthal is urging homeowners to be rain-ready and remove any debris from their properties.
“It really has hit us like back-to-back beatings we’ve taken here locally,” Lowenthal said. “Not only the fire departments but the community as a whole have gone through a lot and we’re definitely looking for a break.”
Fire season started earlier and lasted longer this year. There was even a red-flag warning in December.