Largest evacuation in Sonoma County history underway – Santa Rosa Press Democrat

“The Pocket Fire was threatening, but not like this,” Cook said.

Ben Garcia has lived in north Healdsburg for 15 years, but he’s been in Sonoma County all his life. He said he’s worried because of the forecasts for wind, but he hasn’t done much to prepare his house.

“If it’s gonna burn, at this point there’s not much you can do,” he said.

Garcia was putting gas in his truck before heading to stay with his sister in Santa Rosa. He said he’s glad he has a place to stay instead of relying on a public shelter.

Kathryn Huck has spent the past couple of days hosting her son and his friends, who evacuated from Geyserville.

This morning, Huck realized they would all have to leave after mandatory evacuation orders came down for a wide area surrounding the Kincade Fire, including Healdsburg.

Still, Huck said she’s not too worried.

“I live in a vineyard where I watered and I’m sure the vineyard watered before, so I don’t feel really threatened,” she said.

Still, she said she agreed with the early evacuation order. Huck plans to stay with family in Santa Rosa. She picked a first aid kit, clothes, blankets, medicine and food.

3:05 p.m.

The Minaglia family has lived along Bailhache Avenue in Healdsburg for about five generations, going back to 1897.

John Minaglia Jr., his father John Minaglia and brothers Francis, Paul and George don’t plan to leave anytime soon.

John Jr. was checking up on the property about 2 p.m., opening gates to some 400 acres of rangeland for easier access for firefighters. He’s aware of the evacuation order, but he has a different plan.

“Tough it out; fight like hell if I have to,” John Jr. said.

His mom and sister went to Santa Rosa. John Sr., 96, refused to go.

“He said, ‘No, I don’t think I’m gonna do that,’” John Jr. said. “I’d just as soon die right here if I have to.”

The family runs Minaglia Vineyard and Minaglia Ranch along Bailhache Avenue, a narrow, winding passage that dead-ends, offering just one way out of the area for those risking their lives to stay.

John Jr. said he plans to put out spot fires and do his best to save the house, but he didn’t seem too concerned, either.

“It’s gonna have to jump the Russian River to get here,” he said. “These winds, they can’t be anything I’ve experienced if it’s gonna be that bad. You’d think the apocalypse is upon us.”

2:36 p.m.

Santa Rosa Junior College announced that all campuses will be closed through Sunday because of the evacuations and power outages across the county.

2:35 p.m.

In Healdsburg, not everyone is heeding the evacuation order. Lupe Medrano was rigging a makeshift sprinkler system at about 1:30 p.m. outside his front door on Bailhache Avenue in Healdsburg.

The road was soaked, but so was the house. Medrano said he’s planning to stay.

“We’re going to try to save it,” he said.

A couple of nephews will stay with him. His wife and granddaughter were en route to the shelter in Santa Rosa.

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