2017 Sonoma Fires
So we had a company/team offsite in Sonoma. We came up on Sunday, then woke up Monday (2017.10.08) to 8 fires all around us. I got up at 0-dark-30, and did my normal swim and it smelled like someone was using a pellet smoker. But as I was doing my laps, I could taste it, and it was sort of irritating my lungs a little. Then I went back to my room and watched the news while getting dressed... we were surrounded by fires, and they were all out of control. Time to get outta dodge... (or Sonoma).
|I was like, "game over", back to home, as soon as I was done swimming. I'd packed, loaded the car, fueled up, and was waiting for the others to come down and come to the same conclusion. But Adobe is a consensus culture, and was a lot of collaboration and discussion, "Should we stay or should we go now?"... but within an hour we had the cats herded, everyone got on plan, and we'd caravan out of there.|
Most of the bigger fires were like 10-20 miles away... but a few flare-ups from landing embers, were hitting closer, like 1/4 mile from the Hotel/Resort. And with California shifting and high winds, it was still anyones game.
We were going to play a team event (game) called "Amazing Race" at the park -- but it was near the fire, and choking smoke is a strong deterrent to party games... So we played it anyways. Just a little more realistic than intended, as we fled. This was before mandatory evacuations, but not by much... the message came down as we were already on the road.
Turns out, while getting out, all the roads out had fires, and we were almost blocked in (for a while anyways). But we were able to squeak by one of them. In a couple spots. A burning branch falling into the road as we passed raises the eyebrows.
It sounds more hairy than it likely was. (We were safe...). It was more about difficulty getting out (traffic), and dodging the areas that were blocked off. But we left because tourists are a distraction to resort staff that wanted to tend to their homes and families. And the air quality went to crap. And who knows if it’s going to get worse? It got much worse, but we were long outta there by then. And our Rockstar admins had already setup an alternate site (about 60 miles away), where we did most of the activities and meetings we had planned anyways. But the air quality sucked in the whole Bay Area for a week, and many lost their homes... and a few, their lives.