A Cal Fire firefighter protects a home on the left from catching fire on Randon Way in Coffey Park, Monday Oct. 9, 2017 in Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat)

Six weeks out, post Tubbs fire.

It seems like a year.

I realized the other day I’d not traveled outside the Tubbs fire zone (except coverage for 49ers games and few forays to other fires) in nearly five weeks due to the Press Democrat’s ongoing coverage. Putting it down in words has been the biggest setback and have gone through several drafts. It’s difficult, each one of us at the PD know someone, including our own coworkers, directly impacted by those terrible days of fire. As journalists, we report what happens in our community.  When a disaster of this magnitude hits, we shift in to overdrive to tell these stories.  When it happens, literally in your own backyard, the need to communicate through photographs and words becomes paramount.  The fires have brought our community closer together. I’ve photographed people I’ve not seen in years and made new friends in the fire zone. Each with riveting tales of angst and heroism.  My story isn’t heroic, but rather, a documentation of our community.

Even though this is only my work here, each photographer, writer, page designer, editor, those in online, press operations, carriers to those in our advertising departments, have done their part to tell the story of the firestorm.  The Press Democrat, with our smaller staff compared with the Chronicle, the LA Times, The Sacramento Bee, etc., have amassed a body of work that documented this past six weeks events in great depth and detail.  I’m proud to call them friends and coworkers.  Our families have shown incredible strength and patience as our lives and their schedules have somehow made it all work. Without my wife and son, I would be lost.

Now if you can get through this very long post, I congratulate you for hanging with it.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

When the offshore flow cranks up, it makes every firefighter nervous. A convergence of low relative humidity, drought stressed vegetation, slope alignment and high temperatures make for explosive fire conditions. But…

It was the wind.

Diablo. Sundowner. Santa Ana.

Each coastal region of California has a name for fall foehn offshore wind events. In southern California, it’s the dreaded Santa Ana winds. On the central coast, say Santa Barbara, it’s the Sundowner.  On our North Coast it’s the Diablo.

According to Wikipedia, “The Diablo winds are created by the combination of strong inland high pressure at the surface, strongly sinking air aloft, and lower pressure off the California coast. The air descending from aloft as well as from the Coast Ranges compresses at sea level where it warms as much as 20 °F (11 °C), and loses humidity. If the pressure gradient is large enough, the dry offshore wind can become quite strong with gusts reaching speeds of 40 miles per hour (64 km/h) or higher, particularly along and in the lee of the ridges of the coast range where the higher wind speed aloft acts like a pump, drawing warm, dry surface air from the windward eastern side up and over the ridgelines. This effect is especially dangerous with respect to wildfires as it can enhance the updraft generated by the heat in such fires.”

The National Weather Service had been highlighting fire weather in their forecasts as much as a week out.  By Thursday, October fifth, fire weather watches and red flag warnings were posted to reflect the upcoming offshore wind event.

In our lifetime, we all will look back on the north coast firestorms, remembering what we were doing that day and the frightening memories.

An apartment complex burns along Old Redwood Highway near Cardinal Newman, Monday Oct. 9, 2017 in Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

Relaxing at around three in the afternoon on Oct. 8, dozing off,  I snapped awake when the wind threw leaves on my face.  The familiar disaster pit in my stomach made itself known. The wind event forecast had started to build.  Weather is fascinating, but much like the Valley fire in Lake County during September 2015, I couldn’t shake an unmistakable feeling of dread, no matter what I did.  35 years of shooting fires in California had me on heightened alert.  I checked online weather stations every hour after that, noticing how the winds were backing to the offshore direction as the relative humidity dropped.

At the beginning of our dry season, a firefighter friend quipped that he thought it was going to be a normal fire season. Nothing major.  Fires burned north and south of us, but very few in Sonoma County.  We almost made it without a scratch.

Almost.

Cal Fire firefighters protect a structure at 1108 Bennett Lane and Highway 128 in Napa County close to the origin of the Tubbs fire, Sunday Oct. 8, 2017. The house later burned to the ground. The home was among the first to catch fire. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

At around six, my wife and I went to buy picture frames at Coddingtown.  On our way back home, we drove through Coffey Park, and through our old Windrose neighborhood.  As a family, we would load our son up in his Radio Flyer, leash our chocolate lab and wagon train our way through Coffey Park for daily walk, often winding up at the play structures there.  We have dozens of friends in the fire zone, met through block parties, Easter egg hunts and Mark West Youth Club Little League games, where we spent the better part of 9 years watching our son play baseball. Good friends, good neighbors, strong community. Eventually we moved away but a piece of our hearts still call it home.

A home and vehicle burn in the Coffey Park area of northwest Santa Rosa, Monday Oct. 9, 2017. (Kent Porter/ Press Democrat) 2017

Darkness and wind kept that feeling of dread tightly wrapped, squeezing. We hung family photos but kept the slider open, listening to the wind. More than once my wife and I glanced worriedly at one another as a gust of wind would sweep through the open door.

The Tubbs fire sweeps down a ridgeline as it crosses through Mountain Home Ranch and Porter Creek Road, Sunday Oct. 8, 2017. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

I flipped on my police/fire scanner at around 9:45 and within seconds heard the Tubbs and Atlas Peak fire’s tone out in Napa County. I’ve covered fires in extremely windy conditions and the blazes ended up being contained at under 10 acres, hoped this might be the case. The gnawing feeling stayed though.

Monte Rio Fire Chief Steve Baxman directs an ambulance on Mark West Springs Road near Safari West, Sunday Oct. 8, 2017. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

After some quick goodbyes at home, I drove over Mark West Springs Road, dodging chunks of limbs and trees.  The wind was like a funnel in the canyon and I was extremely worried that a tree might fall in front or on top of my car.  You think about these things happening, but count on the law of averages that it won’t.  My first glimpse of the Tubbs fire was the view coming down the grade in to Calistoga.  Fire always looks bigger at night and the glow was quite pronounced.

The Tubbs fire rips over Mountain Home Ranch Road Oct. 8, 2017. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2017

The fire was not on Tubbs Lane, actually igniting closer to Bennett Lane and Highway 128.  When I arrived, a Cal Fire captain told me to be careful, “This is the type of wind that kills people.”  It wasn’t exactly pandemonium, the firefight was controlled, but after watching the ease in which the fire moved through vineyards and surrounding mountainous vegetation, I got the very real feeling that the Tubbs was going to reach Santa Rosa in a few short hours.  The wind was that strong; and to be honest, menacing.

Cal Fire firefighters protect a structure at 1108 Bennett Lane and Highway 128 in Napa County close to the origin of the Tubbs fire, Sunday Oct. 8, 2017. The house later burned to the ground and  was among the first to catch fire. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

 

Boxed in on Highway 128, additional fire crews, dozers and rescue personnel arrived on scene. I managed to squeeze by a strike team of inmate hand crews as they unloaded.   One wheel in a deep ditch and the other on the side of the road. I made it.  Not sure how.  Driving back through Porter Creek I raced the fire.  It jumped the road in front and behind me and the world at that moment seemed to be on fire. I met up with Monte Rio Fire chief Steve Baxman, who was in the process of evacuating those who refused to leave.  I later learned that he and a crew saved several people, but Baxman got pretty close and got out but not before taking a beating to himself and his rig.

Monte Rio Fire Chief Steve Baxman puts on his nomex jacket fire gear on Mark West Springs Road near Safari West, Sunday Oct. 8, 2017. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

Now understand, the wind seemed to evolve. As many big fires do, the Tubbs seemed to pulsate.  It would lay back for a minute, then surge forward ripping through dozens of acres in seconds. It was surreal.  At about this time, I called Ted Appel, our managing editor, about the fire.  At first he wasn’t sure about the scope of the blaze.  But after updating him every five minutes and sending pictures, Ted realized just how bad things were becoming.  I reinforced the idea that staff should start coming in to report on the fire. I was anxious, but calm, this was shaping up to be the biggest disaster in Sonoma County’s history.  As journalists do, we needed to be in the thick of it to report first hand.

Being out in a disaster as it unfolds is heartbreaking, unnerving and amazing all at the same time.  Nature moves with such power and unbelievable ferocity. It takes no prisoners, only consumes at it’s free unrepentant will.

I rolled up the backside of Fountaingrove thinking maybe the Tubbs was going to crest on Foothill Ranch.  Oddly, there was only a slight glow from behind the Ranch.  At about that time, Kenwood and Glen Ellen broke fires and I headed that way thinking that the Tubbs would take a few hours to reach just the outskirts of the city.

 

Homes burn in Kenwood early Monday Oct. 9, 2017. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

 

In Kenwood, a winery worker moves his work truck away from flame, Monday Oct. 9, 2017. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

 

Glen Ellen firefighters work to protect a structure off Dunbar Road, Monday Oct. 9, 2017. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

 

Glen Ellen firefighters work to protect a structure off Dunbar Road, Monday Oct. 9, 2017. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

Narrow but intense strips of fire greeted me while driving through the Valley of  the Moon. The wind? 60mph. I stayed for maybe 45 minutes shooting pictures.

It gets a little hazy here.  I remember seeing houses on fire on Rincon Ridge through thick smoke; single glows here and there. There were reports of the fire jumping Highway 101. I wound up on Skyfarm Drive (did I take Riebli Road to Cross Creek?) as fire was blowing through, nearly every home was on fire. I  maneuvered over center line markers, all the while being calm, ember cast all around, pushed by relentless wind.

A home burns on Skyfarm Drive in Fountaingrove during the early hours of the Tubbs fire in Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

I also made photos on Cross Creek Drive and some other streets near the Fountaingrove Golf Course.

A home burns in Fountaingrove, Monday Oct. 9, 2017 in Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

 

A home burns in Fountaingrove, Monday Oct. 9, 2017 in Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

 

A home burns in Fountaingrove, Monday Oct. 9, 2017 in Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

Carefully, I made my way down to the Round Barn, the ember wash and smoke thick. Some places along the way were just to dangerous to stop and make pictures. Newsman yes, stupid, no.

The Historic Round Barn burns in Santa Rosa, Monday Oct. 9, 2017. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

I’d heard that there were guests staying in the Hilton Hotel that were in need of evacuation, but only found a couple, turning on to Round Barn Blvd.

Guests of the Hilton Hotel in Fountaingrove, Monday Oct. 9, 2017 evacuate from the Tubbs fire in Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

 

The hazardous view from my car window as the Tubbs fire blows through the Hilton Hotel in Fountaingrove. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2017.

At the bottom of Fountaingrove, I found Journey’s End Mobile Home Park nearly engulfed by fire.  The image looks like a desert of fire. Fir trees at the Mendocino over crossing were exploding, making it hazardous to cross Highway 101. Puerto Vallarta Restaurant was in flames along Cleveland Ave., as was most of the vegetation around it.

The Journey’s End Mobile Home Park is reduced to ashes along Mendocino Ave., Monday Oct. 9, 2017 in Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

 

The Tubbs fire jumps Highway 101 at the Mendocino over crossing in Santa Rosa, Monday Oct. 9, 2017. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

 

Along Cleveland Ave. in Santa Rosa, Puerto Vallarta Restaurant burns to the ground, Monday Oct. 9, 2017. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 201

Going as far as possible down Old Redwood Highway towards Larkfield I came across Willies Wine Bar which was involved, as was the apartment complex next door (see photo at top of this post). I couldn’t see if Cardinal Newman High School was on fire, but homes on Ursuline drive were beginning to catch fire and I was worried about the power lines and poles, so erred on the side of safety.

Willies Wine bar burns, Monday Oct. 9, 2017. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2017

Doubling back, I headed towards Kaiser Permanante, learning the hospital was being evacuated.  There I ran in to reporter Martin Espinoza, who jumped in as we headed back in to Fountaingrove.  By then, photographer Christopher Chung was navigating road blocks to cover other parts of the burning city around Larkfield.  A text tree set up by photographer Alvin Jornada kept us updated to the fires progression as fellow photographer Beth Schlanker and Director of Photography Chad Surmick joined the fray.

Kaiser Hospital is evacuated due to the Tubbs fire early Monday morning in Santa Rosa, Monday Oct. 9, 2017. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

 

Santa Rosa fire station 5 burns on the top of Fountaingrove in Santa Rosa, Monday Oct. 9, 2017. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

 

Bill Stites watches his neighborhood burn in Fountaingrove, Monday Oct. 9, 2017 in Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

After smacking a few curbs in my car because of dense smoke, we headed back down the hill, Espinoza all the while making Facebook live videos, drawing in thousands of people to the firestorm. We wound up in Coffey Park on Santa Rosa’s northwest side and the scene was as unbelievable as the conflagration in Fountaingrove. Firefighters were making a stand along the perimeter of Barnes Road and San Miguel Drive, limiting the Tubb’s progression further to the west and south.

A home burns in Santa Rosa’s Coffey Park, Monday Oct. 9, 2017. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat)

 

Gold Ridge firefighters use a deck gun to protect structures in Coffey Park in Santa Rosa, Monday Oct. 9, 2017. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat)

 

A Coffey Park home burns on Randon Way, early Monday Oct. 9, 2017 in Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat)

 

Gold Ridge firefighters used a deck gun to protect structures in Coffey Park in Santa Rosa, Monday Oct. 9, 2017. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat)

 

An American flag whips in the wind as structures burn in Coffey Park, Monday Oct. 9, 2017 at Randon Way and Hopper Lane. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat)

Houses seemed to explode everywhere we looked.  A Cal Fire crew cooled down the exposure of another home. Above is a series shot within about two minutes. The first frenetic hours of the fire are summed up in this series, man against nature.  So much extreme fire, so little resources.

After dropping Martin off at his car, I went back to Hopper Lane and the surrounding Coffey Park areas, documenting.  Block after block was burning, to the point of being incomprehensible. I came across a fire crew from Cazadero, spread thin up and down Skyview Drive.

An ember wash surrounds a Cazadero firefighter as he attempts to thwart the spread of  fire on Skyview Drive, Monday Oct. 9, 2017 in Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

 

A Cazadero firefighter attempts to thwart the spread of fire on Skyview Drive, Monday Oct. 9, 2017 in Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

 

Coffey Park homes burn early Monday Oct. 9, 2017 in Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat)

It seemed just about everywhere you went, something was on fire…..

 

People photograph Kmart burning Monday Oct. 9, 2017 in Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat)

 

Kmart burns in Santa Rosa, Monday Oct. 9, 2017. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

 

Applebee’s burns off Hopper Lane in Santa Rosa, Monday Oct. 9, 2017.  (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

The first light of day cast an eerie, sickly glow over Coffey Park.  The scope of the disaster was warily apparent.  Eight hours of near hell had led to a very large swath of Santa Rosa being razed.

A resident of Coffey Park moves in to see his burned home, Monday Oct. 9, 2017 in Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2017

 

Sunrise turns the smoke an eerie color at Coffey Park in Santa Rosa, Monday Oct. 9, 2017. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

 

Cars were flipped by fire spin-ups on Hemlock Street near Coffey Park, Monday Oct. 9, 2017. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

 

Gas lines still aflame, residents of Coffey Park returned to their homes to sift and survey the damage Monday Oct. 9, 2017. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2017

 

Residents of Coffey Park returned to their homes to sift and survey the damage Monday Oct. 9, 2017. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2017

Individual home owners began to trickle in to survey what as left of their neighborhoods. It wasn’t until the next day the fire areas became cut off to most residents.

Rincon Valley firefighters rescue a dog as a housing complex burns off Mark West Road in Larkfield, Monday Oct. 9, 2017. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

 

A home off Rincon Ridge at Fountaingrove Parkway was gutted, along with all but a few on the east side of Fountaingrove. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

The next several days became a blur.  Each of us worked 15 hours a day documenting unprecedented destruction and sorrow.  With other fires to cover, we spread out county wide.  Cities and towns were being evacuated as nixle alerts kept coming hour after hour. Daily, I would hit the Tubbs fire zone and then branch out to other locations. On Oct. 11, Beth Schlanker and I covered the Sonoma area being evacuated.  I wound up on High Road at the head of the Nuns fire as the wind shifted pushing flames toward homes.

A San Diego Cal Fire firefighter monitors a flare up on a the head of the Nuns fire (the Southern LNU Complex), Wednesday Oct. 11, 2017 off of High Road above the Sonoma Valley. A wind shift caused flames to move quickly up hill and threaten homes in the area. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

 

A San Diego Cal Fire firefighter houses down a structure from the advancing Nuns fire (the Southern LNU Complex), Wednesday Oct. 11, 2017 off of High Road above the Sonoma Valley. A wind shift caused flames to move quickly up hill and threaten homes in the area. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

I wound up at the Pocket fire at sunset the following day, working to get photos of air support building retardant lines around structures at Hawkeye Ranch off Geysers Road.

A Cal Fire air taker makes a drop on the Pocket fire at sunset as the pilot protects structures on the Hawkeye Ranch off Geysers Road above Geyserville, Thursday Oct. 12, 2017. Crews were able to save all the structures. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2017

 

A Cal Fire air taker makes a drop on the Pocket fire as the pilot protects structures on the Hawkeye Ranch off Geysers Road above Geyserville, Thursday Oct. 12, 2017. Crews were able to save all the structures. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2017

 

A Cal Fire air taker makes a drop on the Pocket fire as the pilot protects structures on the Hawkeye Ranch off Geysers Road above Geyserville, Thursday Oct. 12, 2017. Crews were able to save all the structures. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2017

 

Brush in a vineyard burns as it singes grapevines at the head of the Pocket fire in Geyserville, Thursday Oct. 12, 2017. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2017

Each day, a different location…

Amy Jones-Kerr, Superintendent of the Roseland School District, looks over the remains of the Roseland Collegiate Prep High School on the campus next to Cardinal Newman, Friday Oct 13, 2017 in Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

 

Helitanker 743, based out of the Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport drops on a portion of the Tubbs fire on Mt. St. Helena, Friday Oct. 13, 2017. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

 

A home off Glen Eagle Court in Fountaingrove, a victim of the Tubbs fire, Friday Oct. 13, 2017. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

Capping an intense but heartbreaking week, I headed home for family time. Aware, warily, that the National Weather Service had again posted red flag warnings for early Saturday morning in the mountains of Sonoma and Napa Counties. Again, fire broke out near Oakmont, and the Nuns fire burned more structures near Sonoma, the wind being he main culprit.

 

Awoken in the dead of night on an order to evacuate, Skyhawk residents watch the glow of an approaching fire from their Skyhawk Homes near Los Alamos Road in Santa Rosa, Saturday Oct. 14, 2017. They eventually left the area. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2017

 

Zinfandel grapes were burned after several homes burned in the Castle Road area, Saturday Oct. 14, 2017 in Sonoma. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2017

 

Firefighters from Compton but a scratch and wet line around a fire on Lovall Valley Road in Sonoma, Saturday Oct. 14, 2017. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2017

 

King Tut stands guard on History Hill as firefighters monitor a backfiring operation, Saturday Oct. 14, 2017. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2017

Sunday, the rest day. Then back at it.

Below is an almost daily chronicle that I have been working on.

Phyllis Rogers checks for mail in front of her destroyed home in Larkfield, Monday Oct. 16, 2017. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

 

Alameda County Search and Rescue teams search for a sign of human remains in the Coffey Park area of Santa Rosa, Monday Oct. 16, 2017 in Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

 

The National Guard deploys in to Larkfield, Monday Oct. 16, 2017. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

 

A bird takes advantage of a leaky sprinkler controller in the Coffey Park area of Santa Rosa, Monday Oct. 16, 2017. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

 

Jordan Rossman, left, and Cody Frank of the Dexter, Oregon Volunteer Fire Department put to hot spots in the roots of trees along Franz Valley Road near Calistoga, Tuesday Oct. 17, 2017. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

 

Jordan Rossman of the Dexter, Oregon Volunteer Fire Department straightens out firehose after helping to extinguish hot spots along Franz Valley Road near Calistoga, Tuesday Oct. 17, 2017. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

 

A tent city has appeared at the fire staging area, Tuesday Oct. 17, 2017 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

 

Signs are appearing all over Sonoma County, especially at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa Tuesday Oct. 17, 2017, thanking first responders. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

 

Santa Rosa firefighter Tony Niel and his son Jordon, 13, sift through the debris of their home in Larkfield, Wednesday Oct. 18, 2017. Niel and his family evacuated from their home as the Tubbs fire bore down on their neighborhood last week. After making sure his children and wife were safe, Niel headed in to work to help fight the fires in Coffey Park. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

 

Judy K. Sakaki, President of Sonoma State University is embraced by her husband Jack McCallum and Emily Hinton, left, the student representative to the Sonoma State University Board of Trustees, Wednesday Oct. 18, 2017 prior to a ceremony honoring first responders. Sakaki and her husband were rescued by Santa Rosa firefighters in Fountaingrove during the Tubbs fire last week. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2017

 

Bud Pochini, a volunteer with Knights Valley, lost his home to the Tubbs fire as it crossed through the valley, saving homes elsewhere in the area, Thursday Oct. 19, 2017 near Calistoga. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2017

 

Gordon Easter and finance Gail Hale returned to their homes on Hopper Lane in Coffey Park, Friday Oct. 20, 2017, sharing a moment of thankfulness of being alive. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

 

Lacey Tower returns to her Jenna Place home in Coffey Park, Friday Oct. 20, 2017. The sign was put together by her parents. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

 

Sarah Boryszewski found a collection of porcelain bells given to her by her grandfather after digging for her belongings in the remains of Boryszewski’s home in Coffey Park, Friday Oct. 20, 2017 in Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

 

At Coffey Park in Santa Rosa, Traci Lattie and her partner Wayne Hovey intend to rebuild, and are letting everyone know, Monday Oct. 23, 2017. On Monday they met with their insurance agent. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

 

Rincon Ridge in Fountaingrove, Wednesday Oct. 25, 2017 in Santa Rosa, burned by the Tubbs fire. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

 

Norm and Norma (didn’t want last name used) take their first look of their razed Fountaingrove home, Thursday Oct. 26, 2017. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

 

Natasha and her son Edison Chan bought their Rincon Ridge home in 2003. On Thursday Oct. 26, 2017, the two were searching through the home in the mid day heat. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

 

First grade teacher Leslie Thomas greets her students at Hidden Valley Elementary School in Santa Rosa, nearly three weeks after the Tubbs fire raged Santa Rosa and portions of Hidden Valley. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

 

Second graders head to class at Hidden Valley Elementary School, Friday Oct. 27, 2017 in Santa Rosa, nearly three weeks after the Tubbs fire. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

 

Rincon Valley firefighter Sid Andreis is thanked by Molsberry’s Market part owner Brian Molsberry, Tuesday Oct. 31, 2017 after Andreis and other crews saved portions of Larkfield from the Tubbs fire. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat)

 

Three year-old Austin Altus of Santa Rosa wanted to make his electric vehicle in to a fire truck on behalf of his family’s best friend, Santa Rosa firefighter Travis Berg, Tuesday Oct. 31, 2017 while trick or treating with his mom Erica on McDonald Ave. in Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2017

Windsor and Rincon Valley Fire Protection District fire chief Jack Piccinini talks with Larkfield and Wikiup residents about the Tubbs fire, Thursday Nov. 2, 2017 in the engine bay at the Larkfield fire station. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2017.

 

A crew from Argonaut Constructors of Santa Rosa work in to the night to clear debris from a razed home on Hillary Court in Coffey Park, Monday Nov. 6, 2017, one month after the Tubbs fire roared through Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2017

 

A crew from Argonaut Constructors of Santa Rosa work in to the night to clear debris from a razed home on Hillary Court in Coffey Park, Monday Nov. 6, 2017, one month after the Tubbs fire roared through Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2017

 

Louis Pell plays tetherball with his eight year-old daughter Lilly in front of their burned home on Randon Way in Coffey Park, Tuesday Nov. 7, 2017 in Santa Rosa (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2017

Then it was a trip down to San Francisco to photograph the Band Together benefit concert for north bay fire relief.  The evening was quite warm and the views from the upper deck of the city were amazing. On the field at the Giants digs, there was a lot of smoke in that air.  Ahem.

The San Francisco skyline and the Bay Bridge are aglow during the Band Together benefit concert for north bay fire relief in San Francisco, Thursday Nov. 9, 2017. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat

 

Tim and Lori Sarver, left, and Justin and Hollie Tracy lost their homes in Coffey Park and Larkfield in the Tubbs fire, acknowledging their loss by using their phones during Band Together benefit concert for north bay fire relief in San Francisco, Thursday Nov. 9, 2017. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat

 

Autumn Kavosick of Novato uses the Giants pitchers mound to make a statement during the Band Together benefit concert for north bay fire relief in San Francisco, Thursday Nov. 9, 2017. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat

 

Headliner act Metallica performs during the Band Together benefit concert for north bay fire relief in San Francisco, Thursday Nov. 9, 2017. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat

 

The Cardinal Newman varsity basketball team joins in prayer led by coach Tom Bonfigli before a basketball game against the Analy High School Tigers, Tuesday Nov. 21, 2017. Several of the team members lost their family homes to the Tubbs fire in October. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2017

 

Cardinal Newman teacher and baseball coach Derek DeBenedetti teaches the finer points of math at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Cotati, Thursday Nov. 16, 2017, Newman’s new digs for the senior class after the Tubbs fire destroyed a portion of their school in October.  (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2017

 

Shelly Norby, who lost her Journey’s End home to the Tubbs fire in October, brings a little holiday cheer to The Great Thanksgiving Banquet put on by the Redwood Gospel Mission at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, Wednesday Nov. 22, 2017 in Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017 (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

 

Having lost their home in Coffey Park to the Tubbs fire, Joanne Bartlett holds back tears as she and her husband Byron were given coats at The Great Thanksgiving Banquet put on by the Redwood Gospel Mission at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, Wednesday Nov. 22, 2017 in Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2017

 

A Thanksgiving Day dinner was given to workers clearing lots burned by the Tubbs fire in the Coffey Park area of Santa Rosa, Thursday Nov. 23, 2017 by Ghilotti Construction. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat)

 

Jayme Farmer, left, welcomes Martha Marquez to her family’s Thanksgiving Day dinner, Thursday Nov. 23, 2017 after Marquez and her husband lost their home in Fountaingrove to the Tubbs fire in October. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2017

-Kent Porter