SONOMA COUNTY -- From urban commercial buildings just off Highway 101, to homes tucked away in the woods, the Tubbs Fire in Santa Rosa was capable, it seemed, of taking down almost anything it touched overnight Sunday into Monday.
And it was one of several Northern California fires stretching crews thin.
“When you add a 50 mile an hour wind throughout many counties, those fires get very large before resources can get at scene and contain them,” Bret Gouvea, Cal Fire division chief, said.
The nearly 30,000 acre fire hit the Fountaingrove Parkway area especially hard.
“When the fire went through, we had deputies pinned down with civilians and they couldn’t get out," explained Sonoma County Sheriff Rob Giordano. "And the fire just went around them, so it’s been quite harrowing for them.”
The death toll from the Tubbs Fire was officially seven as of Monday evening.
“That number is going to change," Sheriff Giordano predicted. "It’s just too early. We can’t even get into a lot of the spots. So I don’t expect it to stay that way very long.”
Monday night, FOX40's crew observed a team from the Sheriff's Office with a coroner van in a neighborhood just north of the Fountaingrove Golf Club. An investigator said they found two additional bodies in the rubble of a home.
Santa Rosa Mayor Chris Coursey shared the frustration of the public while also asking for patience Monday evening.
“I want to know how many people have died, how many people have been injured, how many people are in shelters, how many people have been evacuated, how many structures have been lost," said the Mayor. "It’s frustrating. On the other hand, for the last 17 or 18 hours, our personnel have been out there doing the job of saving lives, and that’s got to come first.”