Travel Alerts Expanded For Wildfires in Northern California 2017

“Expect the travel waivers to possibly not only be expanded in terms of duration; but also issued by additional airlines, as the wildfires are not expected to be completely under control over the next day or two.”

Travel Alerts Expanded For Wildfires in Northern California 2017

Unfortunately, that paragraph which I first wrote in this article not only correctly predicted what was going to happen; but additional airports — such as San Francisco International Airport — have been included, as flights have already been delayed or canceled because of no fewer than 21 wildfires which are currently raging in California.

At least 26 fatalities have now been confirmed; greater than 450 people are currently missing; at least 3,500 structures are destroyed; tens of thousands of people were forced to evacuate; and a minimum of 191,000 acres of land are already scorched. 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…

…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 increase — and they predict that rebuilding could take years as a result of what will most likely collectively become the deadliest wildfires in the history of California. Greater than 8,000 firefighters are trying to fight the wildfires; but only three percent of the areas have been 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.

Hotels Closed Due to Wildfires

The Hilton Sonoma Wine Country hotel property is amongst the 3,500 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 until further notice — and this list is most likely incomplete:

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

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 four airlines which have issued travel alerts as a result of this winter weather system:

  • 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.
  • 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

Summary

I checked the weather forecast for Santa Rosa; and no precipitation is expected until Friday, November 17, 2017 at the earliest — and although any drop of rain would help, the precipitation event itself is not expected to be of little impact to help extinguish the wildfires.

No precipitation is expected for San Francisco until Monday, November 27, 2017 at the earliest. I hope that the weather forecasts are wrong and that precipitation arrives to these areas of California sooner.

Because of the dry weather forecasts, I would not be surprised to see the scope of the travel alerts extended further to include more airlines at more airports for extended periods of time — as well as more lodging options closed as well.

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.

As I mentioned in the aforementioned article, 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.

2 thoughts on “Travel Alerts Expanded For Wildfires in Northern California 2017”

  1. henry LAX says:

    “No precipitation is expected for San Francisco until Monday, November 27, 2017 at the earliest.”

    i didn’t know they’re releasing weather forecasts up to 1.5 months later these days.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Here is one source, henry LAX

      https://www.accuweather.com/en/us/santa-rosa-ca/95401/october-weather/327139

      …with a weather forecast through Tuesday, January 9, 2018.

      Like I said, I hope the weather forecast is incorrect…

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