Report from Sonoma CountyBy John Broughton, CDC Gaming ReportsOctober 15, 2017 at 9:10 amPublisher’s Note: John Broughton, our copy editor (as well as my friend for almost 50 years) send us this update from Windsor, CaliforniaJoan and I live in Windsor, a suburban town with a population about 27,000. The town is about five miles north of Santa Rosa, and we live fairly close to the middle of town. The Tubbs Fire, the most destructive fire of all of those burning in Northern California (actually, the worst in California history), probably got within two miles of the edge of Windsor, but only after several days of slowing moving in our direction, and only with spotty fires, since the winds have consistently been blowing in the other direction. So, with respect to fires, we’re in no danger, and haven’t really ever been. But that wasn’t obvious on Monday, when the fire was essentially uncontrolled, except for being blocked where it directly was threatening significant numbers of structures in Santa Rosa and north of the city. There are two major neighborhoods in Santa Rosa (Fountaingrove and Coffey Park) that look bombed out (close to 100% of the structures burned), and one other neighborhood (in the Larkfield-Wikiup area, closer to Windsor) that is similar.Which isn’t to say that we weren’t impacted, other than psychologically (one of Joan’s closest friends – a bridesmaid at her wedding, lost her house completely; she and her husband and her fifteen-year old daughter got out just as flames engulfed their home; they got their two dogs out, but their cat is still missing, and they’ve not been allowed to return to their home). On Monday morning, the utility company turned off gas service to all of Windsor plus perhaps 20,000 other customers in north Santa Rosa and parts north, and we didn’t get that service back until Thursday evening.We lost cable TV around 3 a.m. on Monday morning – we know because Joan had been awakened by a text and phone call about her friend, who had lost her home several hours earlier), and we were watching as the only local news broadcast was struggling to figure out what was happening. (We’d lost Internet about 30 minutes earlier.) We didn’t get those back until Wednesday afternoon, which meant trying to find out what was happening via cell phone – and you can imagine how limited Internet access was via phone. (More than 70 cell phone towers were destroyed in the fire.)The reality today (Saturday) is that there are probably seven or eight thousand families in Sonoma and Napa counties who have lost their homes – perhaps 3 to 4 percent of the homes in those two counties. There are probably ten to twenty additional thousand people who still have homes but can’t get back to them because they homes are in mandatory evacuation areas that haven’t been declared safe, because the vast majority of firefighters and police are still focusing on active fires in the two counties that are (still) destroying or threatening structures as well as more wild areas. So, lots of people in evacuation shelters; lots of people staying with family and friends in Northern California and elsewhere; lots of people in hotels.All of which is taking place in an area with a housing shortage (large numbers of people being forced out because of unaffordability; lots of second homes) and a rental crisis (essentially 99% occupancy). Last year there were 581 permits issued for single-family homes in all of Sonoma County, the highest number since 2007. At that rate, it would take more than 10 years to rebuild housing lost to the fire, since very little of it was apartments, and that ignores the damage done to commercial properties, which also will need construction workers to rebuild.