Northern California Wildfires Resources

Last updated 10/16/17 at 11:00AM  - This page will be updated regularly as new information is made available during this active emergency. 

City Updates

As a swarm of wildfires affect Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties initial recovery efforts are starting to take place. Several City of Walnut Creek employees have been deployed to the City of Santa Rosa to support critical services. 

All Walnut Creek Open Space Areas Reopen

As of Monday, October 16th Walnut Creek Open Space areas have reopened.  These areas were temporarily closed due to poor air quality,  but all areas are now fully accessible to the public.   To view a list of Open Space areas visit www.walnut-creek.org/openspace 

City Pools Reopen

As of Monday, October 16th Clarke and Larkey pools have reopen.  Pools were temporarily closed due to poor air quality,  but are now fully accessible to the public. All Arts & Recreation outdoor programming has resumed.  

Health Advisory

Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) has issued a health advisory due to the unprecedented levels of air pollution in the Bay Area.   Much of our region is expected to exceed national health standards for particulate matter pollution. To see real time air quality readings in your area, click here.  Air quality in your area may change depending on current wind conditions, so check the link throughout the day.  

Tips to protect yourself and others:

 

  • Limit outdoor activities to avoid unnecessary exposure if you smell smoke.  Given the current poor air quality in West Contra Costa County, all residents are urged to avoid strenuous outdoor activities.
  • Set home and work air conditioning units and car vent systems to re-circulate air in order to prevent outside air from being drawn inside.  If you can't set the system on recirculate, then shut it down and keep windows and doors closed, if possible.
  • Reduce exposure to smoky air by staying indoors with windows and doors closed, if possible.
  • Check local media for changes in smoke or weather conditions.
  • Don't add to the air pollution -- avoid wood burning, gasoline lawn mowing, and barbecuing; and minimize your driving, if possible.

 A few tips about masks: 

  • Contra Costa Health Services does not recommend using commercially available surgical or dust masks to protect against smoky air – most are not effective at stopping particulate matter from the smoke. Contra Costa Health Services is following the lead of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) on masking recommendations. BAAQMD is only providing N95 masks for folks who are in the fire zones. Masks provide very little protection to people outside of the fire zones and may give people a false sense of security. 
  • If you need to be outside frequently, you can buy an N-95 mask.  Check your local hardware store, drugstore or online to see if they're in stock.  N-95 masks provide some level of protection if properly worn.   They must fit tight on your face (tightly sealed around your nose and mouth).   They are not suitable for children.  Once you take them off, the inside of the mask gets contaminated and you need to use a new one.
  • If you have a respiratory issue, don't automatically use an N-95 mask since they can restrict the flow of air and make it hard for you to breathe.  Check with your health provider first.

Those seeking relief from polluted air can visit these facilities:

  • Tice Valley Gym, 2055 Tice Valley Blvd, Walnut Creek:  Friday 9:00 AM-5:00 PM,  Saturday 8:00 AM - 9:00 PM & Sunday 8:30AM - 6:30PM
  • Civic Park Community Center, 1375 Civic Dr, Walnut Creek: Friday 9:00 AM-4:00 PM, 4:30 PM - 11:30 PM Saturday & Sunday  9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

What you can do to help

The City of Walnut Creek always recommends financial donations over goods or food. Do not call 911 for volunteer or donations questions.  If you wish to volunteer, please contact organizations like the Red Cross or The Salvation Army. These organizations have assignments and infrastructure to support the response and relief efforts. Please do not self-deploy to the fire zone. Doing so will complicate response efforts and put you and first responders at risk.

Currently, Walnut Creek CERT has not been activated to assist. However, individuals may choose to volunteer for another responding organization. In such a case, they are volunteering as an individual, not as a CERT member.

Donations

American Red Cross

Salvation Army

Napa Valley Community Foundation

Volunteer Opportunities

American Red Cross Sign Up Sheet

California Volunteers

Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership

Airbnb has offered up its online short-term rental platform to provide free housing for victims of the fires and rescue workers in need of somewhere to crash. Residents living near the areas affected by the Tubbs fire in Santa Rose and the Atlas Fire south of Lake Berryessa can sign up on Airbnb to donate space in their home from now until Oct. 30.

Connect with Victims

Visit American Red Cross Safe and Well to reconnect with loved ones that might be missing during a disaster.

 

How citizens are notified in case of a declared emergency

The City of Walnut Creek uses multiple systems to communicate with the public in an emergency. For a life threatening fire situation, first responders may be deployed to go door-to-door.  Residents are also informed via digital warnings that come to your phone much like an amber alert, media outlets and social media.

City of Walnut Creek social media sites can be found here. 
Contra Costa County has a Community Warning System, sign up here: https://cwsalerts.com/
We recommend signing up for Nixle for safety alerts: www.nixle.com
Also, visit the Contra Costa Health Services website for updates. 

Message from Contra Costa County Fire Chief on Incident Preparedness

The Contra Costa County Fire Protection District (ConFire) operates 26 companies out of 25 fire stations which are strategically located throughout the Fire District. We recognize our significant potential for a major wildfire within the Fire District, and all of our fire personnel are equipped and trained to fight wildland fires. Additionally, we have equipped 13 of our fire stations with wildland fire engines; we staff a firefighting bulldozer during wildland season; and we cooperate with the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s helicopter program by providing them with a fire captain and firefighting equipment on their helicopter during operation.
 
In addition to ConFire’s capabilities, all Contra Costa County fire agencies cooperate under a “closest resource” agreement. Under this agreement, regardless of jurisdictional boundaries, all emergency incidents get the closest available resource(s). The agreement also provides for pre-authorized movement of resources across all jurisdictional boundaries when additional aid is needed above and beyond what a local jurisdiction can provide.
 
Lastly, ConFire is an active participant in the California Office of Emergency Service’s Statewide Mutual-Aid System. This system is a national model that allows all emergency resources to be moved up and down our state to respond to incidents that have overwhelmed local and regional resources.
 
While our response capability is important, fire prevention is our primary goal.  The Fire District makes a special point of advising the public of two very important prevention strategies: (1) being extra careful with sparks and other fire producing materials, especially during times when there is high fire danger; and (2) clearing brush and debris away from structures which is the best way to prevent loss if a fire does occur.  - Jeff Carman, Fire Chief