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407 residences burned to ground in Sonoma Valley; 26 local students lost homes

At a home burned to the ground off of Sylvia Drive in Glen Ellen. (Photo by Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune)

LORNA SHERIDAN,

Fire officials released new data this week that paints a clearer picture of the housing losses in the fires that burned through Sonoma County last month, killing at least 23 people.

Countywide, the wildfires destroyed 5,130 homes, according to Cal Fire officials.

The Sonoma Valley numbers, while still devastating, are lower than initially feared. The Valley total of residences lost is estimated to be approximately 400.

In Sonoma Valley, it is estimated that 183 houses were lost in Glen Ellen, three in Eldridge (near Sonoma Developmental Center), 48 within the Mayacamas district (around Trinity Road and Cavedale) and 33 in Schell-Vista (the east side of town) for a total of 267 residences destroyed in the fire, according to Sonoma Valley Fire and Rescue Authority Chief Steve Akre.

In Kenwood, it is believed that 140 homes burned to the ground.

Additionally, the Sonoma Valley Unified School District conducted its own internal survey of housing losses among students and staff. According to SVUSD, 26 local students lost homes in the fires, as well as four staffers.

During the two weeks that Sonoma Valley public schools were closed because of the fires, school staff at each site stayed busy reaching out to students to get a sense of how many had lost their home or been displaced.

Each principal sent out surveys, and followed up with phone calls to create a clear database.

At the elementary level, four students from Dunbar lost their homes; one from El Verano; two from Sassarini; and one from Prestwood.

At the middle school level, four students from Altimira lost their homes and five students from Adele Harrison.

Nine students from Sonoma Valley High School lost their homes, none from Creekside.

In addition, nine students had homes with significant damage.

In total, three certificated staffers (teachers) across the district lost their homes as well as one classified (support) staffer.

Five staffers had significant damage to their houses.

At Woodland Star Charter School, three teachers and five students completely lost homes.

Firefighters have fanned out across the Valley this week to further assess the damage. The number of houses lost could change.

Email Lorna at lorna.sheridan@sonomanews.com.