November 7, 2019
The past few weeks have, without a doubt, been a tremendous challenge for our Department and Public Safety Providers. As part of PG&E strategy to enhance their wildland safety efforts following the 2017 and 2018 wildfires, they instituted Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) plan. In addition, the Kincaid fire stretched our ability to provide a curtain of safety for our local communities and required an “all hands” response to this emergency. Our actions both locally and regionally had a tremendous effect on how we prepare to protect our most vulnerable and support relocation efforts of the surrounding communities. Sonoma County has always been viewed as a blessed and protected natural region: rich in culture, unparalleled beauty, and longstanding history and tradition. Its residents are known for being accepting, generous and philanthropic. That spirit was on display while our local landscape was being ravaged. Seeing the community pull together has been nothing but amazing and inspiring. And that includes the out-pouring of care, concern and goods from outside the area as well. Sonoma County is special; it will recover and the memories that right now seem to be forever lost will return, given time.
I have nothing but overwhelming praise for the members of the Petaluma and Rancho Adobe Fire Departments, as well as our Region 9 partners during this disaster. Much respect goes to each and every member who put their life at risk to protect our communities. It was beyond an “everyone responding” event, sometimes stretching us painfully thin. I am very proud of the manner in which you all conducted yourselves and focused on the community that many of you call home or grew up in. But the collaborative nature in which you all worked together within the County will only strengthen the bonds we have with our Regional neighboring agencies. A lot was experienced; there are, as always, many lessons to be learned. My hope is that we, both as a Department and a County fire service effort, will grow exponentially from this event and use what we’ve learned to become even stronger and smarter.
Petaluma and Rancho Adobe Fire Department, I thank you for your dedicated and courageous service.
Leonard C. Thompson