Travel Alerts Expanded For Deadliest Wildfires in California History

Flights have already been delayed or canceled because of no fewer than 15 wildfires which are currently raging in California, which have resulted in at least 35 confirmed fatalities; greater than 450 people are currently missing; at least 5,700 structures are destroyed; tens of thousands of people were forced to evacuate; and a minimum of 221,754 acres of land are already scorched.

Travel Alerts Expanded For Deadliest Wildfires in California History

Entire neighborhoods are gone, with little more than smoke and burnt trees remaining; and many major thoroughfares — such as United States Highway 101 — are still closed to traffic. Power and gas is out in many areas — one reason because strong winds have knocked down trees, taking down power lines with them…

Wildfires

Source: Golden Gate Division of the California Highway Patrol.

…and because power is out in many areas, water cannot be pumped to help extinguish the fires.

The situation is so critical that officials expect the numbers you just read to continue to increase — and they predict that rebuilding could cost at least $85 billion and take years as a result of what are now considered the deadliest wildfires in the history of California. Greater than 8,000 firefighters are trying to fight the wildfires; but the areas are still a substantial way from being contained at this point — and some of the firefighters have also lost their own homes while attempting to save others.

Crews from as far away as Australia have arrived to help battle the wildfires, according to this “tweet” from KGO-TV Channel 7 News in San Francisco.

Meanwhile, yet another earthquake with a magnitude of 4.0 occurred three kilometers northwest of Redwood Valley.

Hotels Closed Due to Wildfires

The Hilton Sonoma Wine Country hotel property is amongst the 5,700 structures which have burned down or been destroyed. A message in pink at the top of the official Internet web site of the hotel property now proclaims that the hotel is “Closed due to Forest Fires impacting the Napa Valley region. We encourage guests with existing reservations to contact 1-800-HILTONS.”

Cancellation fees are expected to be announced by lodging companies — such as Marriott International, Incorporated — for guests who are impacted by this dire situation.

Additionally, the following hotel and resort properties are closed at the time this article was written until further notice — and this list is most likely incomplete:

  • Auberge du Soleil
  • Aurora Park Cottages
  • Bergson
  • Best Western Plus Stevenson Manor
  • Brannan Cottage Inn
  • Calistoga Spa Hot Springs
  • Carneros Resort & Spa
  • EuroSpa & Inn
  • Hilton Garden Inn Napa
  • Hilton Garden Inn Santa Rosa, Napa Airport
  • Indian Springs Resort
  • Las Alcobas
  • Lavender Inn
  • Maison Fleurie
  • Meadowood Napa Valley
  • Motel 6 Napa
  • Napa Valley Marriott Hotel and Spa
  • North Block Hotel
  • Poetry Inn
  • Silverado Resort & Spa
  • Solage
  • Southbridge Napa Valley
  • SpringHill Suites by Marriott — Napa Valley
  • Trailside Inn
  • UpValley Inn & Hot Springs

Flight Waivers, Delays and Cancellations

If you are traveling to Northern California, expect delays and cancellations of flights. According to this alert from the official Internet web site of San Francisco International Airport, where as many as 25 percent of all flights have been delayed or cancelled:

North Bay wildfires and weather are impacting some flights

The devastating wildfires in Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino, and Solano Counties are causing unhealthy air quality conditions, reduced visibility, and wide spread smoke and haze. As a result, SFO is experiencing some delays and cancellations.

Please check with your airline for your flight details.

To see the latest US Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality Index for the Bay Area, please visit airnow.gov 

For health tip and recommendations on dealing with poor air quality, please visit sfdem.org

The official Internet web site of Sonoma County Airport lists flights — more of which have been canceled than operating — as well as the following statement:

Please check with your airlines prior to heading to the airport, several commercial flights have been cancelled due to nearby fires. Stay indoors if possible, evacuate when told, and be safe.

Keep up to date on the latest information pertaining to the wildfires which may adversely affect your travel plans. Better yet, postponing or canceling your trip might be a better option — no matter which mode of travel you plan on taking.

If you have a flight scheduled, your flight may be delayed or canceled — and you may be eligible for a waiver of a fee to change your itinerary. If you are driving in any of these areas, watch out for deteriorating weather conditions due to thick smoke and traffic problems — including road closures.

Here are eight airlines which have issued travel alerts as a result of these wildfires:

  • Alaska Airlines has issued travel alerts for Santa Rosa, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland for Monday, October 9, 2017 through Friday, October 13; and Tuesday, October 17, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • American Airlines has issued travel alerts for two airports in total:
    • Santa Rosa for Monday, October 9, 2017 through Sunday, October 15; and Friday, October 20, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
    • San Francisco for Wednesday, October 11, 2017 through Sunday, October 15; and Friday, October 20, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • United Airlines has issued travel alerts for Santa Rosa, Arcata/Eureka and San Francisco for Wednesday, October 11, 2017 through Sunday, October 15; and Friday, October 20, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Delta Air Lines has issued a travel alert for San Francisco for Friday, October 13, 2017 through Sunday, October 15; and Friday, October 20, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • JetBlue Airways has issued travel alerts for Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose for Thursday, October 12, 2017 through Sunday, October 15; and Friday, October 20, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Hawaiian Airlines has issued travel alerts for Sacramento, Oakland, San Jose and San Francisco for Monday, October 9, 2017 through Sunday, October 15; and Friday, October 20, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Air Canada has issued travel alerts for Santa Rosa, Arcata/Eureka and San Francisco for Wednesday, October 11, 2017 through Sunday, October 15; and Thursday, October 26, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has issued a travel alert for San Francisco for Friday, October 13, 2017 through Sunday, October 15; and Friday, October 20, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.

Summary

I checked the weather forecasts for both Santa Rosa and San Francisco; and sure enough, they have thankfully changed: no precipitation is expected until Thursday, October 19, 2017 at the earliest — and although any drop of rain would certainly help, the precipitation event itself is not expected to be of significant impact to help extinguish the wildfires. I hope that the precipitation which is expected to arrive next week to these areas of California is greater than anticipated.

Be sure to contact your hotel or resort property, airline or transportation provider for the latest information pertaining to your travels — if they are adversely affected — and please: travel safely.

The official Internet web site of Sonoma County contains detailed updated information pertaining to the wildfires for visitors and tourists — as well as ways with which you can help. Additionally, closures of hotels and businesses are also listed at the official Internet web site of Visit Napa Valley; and a statewide fire summary is available from the official Internet web site of the state of California.

The Sacramento office of the National Weather Service of the United States has created this video which contains critical updates pertaining to the wildfire situation.

As I mentioned in articles posted earlier this month, these wildfires remind me of the ones which devastated Fort MacMurray during May of 2016; and my thoughts and prayers are with the people in Northern California — especially in the North Bay area — as I hope that corporate entities will assist them as WestJet did with the residents and businesspeople of Fort MacMurray…

Source: Golden Gate Division of the California Highway Patrol.

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