The timeline of the Sonoma Complex fires

The "Follow This Story" feature will notify you when any articles related to this story are posted.

When you follow a story, the next time a related article is published — it could be days, weeks or months — you'll receive an email informing you of the update.

If you no longer want to follow a story, click the "Unfollow" link on that story. There's also an "Unfollow" link in every email notification we send you.

This tool is available only to subscribers; please make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.

Please note: This feature is available only to subscribers; make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.


It was the best of times, until it was the worst of times: Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017 – Cal Fire records show that the first flames broke out around 9:45 p.m. that Sunday night, when a small fire ignited near Tubbs Lane just north of Calistoga. That evening, dry Diablo winds had been blasting through the area at up to 80 miles an hour in 80-degree weather.

The Tubbs Fire spread rapidly through the forests of Napa and Sonoma and headed southwest toward Santa Rosa.

On Oct. 9, California governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency. Eventually, a series of 21 fires ended up burning at least 245,000 acres across Napa, Lake, Sonoma, Mendocino, Butte and Solano counties.

By Oct. 12, smoke from the wildfires had spread nearly 100 miles, with “unhealthy” air quality indices registered all the way to Oakland and San Francisco.

By Oct. 14, the fires had burned more than 210,000 acres while forcing 90,000 people to evacuate from their homes.

Visibility issues spurred the Federal Aviation Administration to implement a ground delay program at San Francisco International Airport, and nearly 280 flights were canceled over a three-day period.

Resources streamed into the region from across Northern California, and eventually more than 5,000 firefighters from more than 350 agencies from across the state and the country assisted with the fires.

The fires killed 44 people in Northern California and hospitalized at least 185, making the week of Oct. 8, 2017, the deadliest week of wildfires in California history.

The Tubbs fire eventually merged with the Nuns fire and the Norrbom, Adobe, Partrick, Pressley and Oakmont fires. In Sonoma Valley, 407 houses were destroyed, including 237 in Glen Ellen, 139 in Kenwood, 48 in the Mayacamas fire district, 33 in Schell-Vista and three in Eldredge.

In total, by the time the fires were announced to be 100 percent contained on Oct. 31, an estimated 8,491 structures were destroyed, including 5,334 homes in Sonoma County.

For more photos from October 2017, visit

Show Comment

Our Network

The Press Democrat
Petaluma Argus Courier
North Bay Business Journal
Sonoma Magazine
Bite Club Eats
La Prensa Sonoma
Emerald Report
Spirited Magazine