(KRON) — This week marks five years since the Tubbs Fire which killed 22 people and devastated parts of Napa and Sonoma Counties.
One winery owner has since rebuilt his property and is more prepared for fires, but said this time of year is still difficult for him.
It was early morning October 8, 2017, when the Tubbs Fire destroyed Paradise Ridge Winery in Santa Rosa. “I’ve been thinking about it a little bit more, before it was rebuilt and then it was COVID and this year it was kind of sinking in,” said Rene Byck, Co-owner Paradise Ridge Winery.
“I would like to talk about how unfortunately unprepared our community was for this type of natural disaster,” added Byck. Around 6,000 homes burned to the ground. The City of Santa Rosa got the worst of the fire.
The Fountain Grove neighborhood was hit hard by the Tubbs Fire. The community virtually wiped out and homes are still being rebuilt five years later.
The Tubbs Fire cost more than $1 billion in damages. Some 20,000 people were displaced from their homes.
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Today, Byck spends more time creating defensible spaces around his winery. ” Unbeknownst to us we kind of set up a blueprint in place for how communities deal with natural disasters, the communication that goes out, you know how early, how often,” said Byck.
This Sunday Byck and Sonoma County Supervisor James Gore will be hosting a commemoration ceremony at Paradise Ridge Winery for fire survivors and first responders. “We’re prepared for something like this now and we can’t stop a fire, but we can prevent the huge amount of damage it can cause and that is what it’s about,” said Byck.
There will be other remembrances this weekend to talk about the lessons learned from the Tubbs Fire.