The Tubbs Fire was one of the worst in California history, destroying nearly 7,000 structures and affecting over 110,000 acres.
At its worst, the fire swept through Santa Rosa neighborhoods like Coffey Park, Larkfield, and Fountaingrove, making it the most damaging and costly conflagration in state history.
At least 19 people died in the Tubbs Fire, making it the third deadliest California fire according to a count by the Los Angeles Times, behind the Oakland Hills Fire in 1991 (25 casualties) and a Los Angeles blaze that killed 29 in 1933.
Describing the Tubbs Fire (named for nearby Tubbs Lane, the Calistoga street near California’s Old Faithful Geyser) in October, the San Francisco Chronicle noted that its aggressive spread took Santa Rosa and nearby communities almost entirely by surprise:
It wasn’t until after 1:30 a.m. Monday [October 9] that Sonoma County officials began to evacuate neighborhoods in and around Santa Rosa. Some had only minutes to escape before flames engulfed their homes, while others didn’t make it out.
And authorities didn’t anticipate the fire would breach Highway 101 about 2 a.m., forcing a hurried evacuation of homes on the west side of the six-lane freeway.
Fewer than 150 Cal Fire personnel remain working on the blaze. Note that containment does not necessarily mean that the fire is yet under control.
According to the National Park Service’s fire terminology glossary, containment means that “a fuel break around the fire has been completed. This break may include natural barriers or manually and/or mechanically constructed line.”
Control only happens upon “the complete extinguishment of a fire, including spot fires.” A contained fire might sometimes still be able to spread with the help of strong winds, but properly constructed fire breaks mean it can’t continue spreading out overland.
Cal Fire’s latest fire map indicates that the smaller Pocket Fire north of Geyserville is also still burning but fully contained.