What & Why
On October 8, 2017, the North Bay fires started which eventually killed more than 40 people, destroyed over 5,000 residences in Sonoma County, and burned nearly 2,600 acres of Sonoma County Regional Parks. The fires burned for many days during which time tens of thousands of people across the County were evacuated or displaced from their homes.
The open space that Regional Parks provided was integral in the control of the fires and protection of more populated areas. The large swaths of land with little infrastructure allowed firefighters to create large breaks in vegetation. The large firebreak in Hood Mountain Park and Preserve prevented the fire from moving north and west into the rest of the park and onto neighboring lands, Rincon Valley and Napa County.
The fires caused damage to six of the Regional Parks, which included both damage from the fire as well as from the fire suppression efforts.
- Hood Mountain Regional Park – approximately 50% of the park burned (the park & preserve re-burned in the 2020 Glass Fire).
- Shiloh Ranch Regional Park – 90% of the park burned (additional fire suppression line dozed in 2018 Kincade Fire).
- Crane Creek Regional Park – 27% of the park burned.
- Schopflin Field (on Old Redwood Highway) – fencing and amenities burned.
- Sonoma Valley Regional Park – 100% of the park burned.
- Tolay Lake Regional Park and Open Space – about 20 acres burned in the southern-most section.
Replacement and repair work is complete on recreational facilities damaged in the 2017 fires.
It will take time for the restoration of the parks to occur. During high winds and large storm events, parks may be temporarily closed due to the dangers of tree failure and debris flow. Additionally, Hood Mountain Regional Park and Open Space Preserve saw extensive fire damage from the 2020 Glass Fire and is currently closed. See Hood Mountain Regional Park and Open Space Preserve for its current status.