Gov. Jerry Brown declared a day of remembrance for the victims of the fast-moving wildfires that raged through Northern California earlier this month, with flags at the state Capitol flown at half-staff on Saturday in honor of the lives lost in the fire.
The governor’s proclamation happened the same day Sonoma County leaders held their own event at Santa Rosa Junior College to honor those who died in the fires, thanking the fire crews who battled the fires, as well as preparing for recovery efforts.
The wildfires first sparked overnight on Oct. 8 and led to the destruction of thousands of buildings and at least 42 deaths so far, Brown wrote in a statement. The youngest of those victims was age 14, while the eldest was 100, he said.
Brown called the event “by far the most lethal and destructive wildfire disaster in the history of California,” describing fast winds that pushed the fires to consume 100 square miles in the first night alone.
The second-most deadly wildfire was the Griffith Park fire, which killed 29 people when it struck in 1933. The more recent 1991 Oakland Hills fire resulted in 25 deaths.
“As we mourn for those we have lost, let us dedicate ourselves first to the aid of the survivors and then to the causes of safety and preparedness in our increasingly fire-prone state,” Brown said.
The tribute also coincided with a visit from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other members of Congress to areas affected by the Northern California fires.
Pelosi was accompanied by Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, who represents the city of Santa Rosa and Sonoma County.
In Sonoma and Napa counties, crews continued to fight multiple fires still burning Saturday morning, most of which were near complete containment. The almost 37,000-acre Tubbs Fire that engulfed parts of both counties and accounted for 22 fatalities was at 97 percent containment, according to Cal Fire.
The Nuns Fire, which burned 56,556 acres in both counties, was also at 97 percent containment, as was Sonoma County’s Pocket Fire. The Atlas Fire in Napa and Solano counties was 100 percent contained after burning 51,624 acres.