Santa Rosa residents warned of possible sinkholes and landslides in burn areas amid upcoming rain

Santa Rosa residents were asked to be vigilant of the potential for sinkholes and landslides during upcoming rainstorms.
(Ben Margot / Associated Press)

Santa Rosa officials warned residents Sunday of the potential for sinkholes and landslides in burn areas where plastic pipes melted during the devastating wine country fires, causing cavities underground.

In the city’s Fountaingrove neighborhood, where the Tubbs fire leveled 1,400 homes, officials identified 23 areas where pipes were burned, said city spokeswoman Adriane Mertens. In some cases, the pipes were destroyed for up to a few hundred feet.

Crews were repairing a sinkhole Sunday that opened up 4 feet wide and 7 feet deep in a storm drain easement near Newbury Court. No one was injured.


As the city braced for upcoming rain, residents were told to be prepared to flee in the event of flooding, mudslides or debris flow. Officials went door to door Sunday to 1,176 homes and 56 businesses in Fountaingrove with information on the stormwater infrastructure assessments and risks due to forecasted rain.

“We know the rain is coming; we want the residents to be prepared,” said Deputy Fire Chief Bill Shubin of the Santa Rosa Fire Department. “We’re asking residents to, especially in the Fountaingrove area, to be extra vigilant and to have a plan to leave in the event that it is necessary. If you see evidence of flooding, mud or debris flows, buckling roads or sinkholes in the area, call 911 and avoid that area.”

The Tubbs fire that swept through Sonoma County last month killed 21 people, destroyed 5,643 structures and consumed nearly 37,000 acres.

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