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Shady Fire Update: 'Nothing Short Of A Miracle;' No Overnight Evacuations; Blaze Advances In Area Unburned In Massive 2017 Tubbs Fire

SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) -- The destructive advance of the Shady Fire -- a wildfire included in the Glass Fire Complex -- slowed Tuesday morning but not before its massive cloud of hot, wind-whipped embers had left behind a random path of burned homes and vegetation in the Skyhawk and Oakmont neighborhoods.

By Tuesday morning, the combined fires had grown 42,560 acres with zero containment. Hundreds of homes, businesses, resorts and wineries have been damaged or destroyed by the flames. At least 28 homes have been destroyed in Sonoma County.

Cal Fire Incident Chief Billy See said at a Tuesday morning briefing that the current blaze was rolling through an area saved from the devastating Tubbs, Nunn and Abode fires in 2017.

"It's sitting in a wildland interface area," See said. "Here in California with all those interface areas these fires become very disastrous with the amount of structures and populous that's impacted. Currently, we have multiple priorities in this incident -- not only in the Napa Valley where we are trying to keep it out of the Pope Valley as well as trying to protect the city of Santa Rosa the best we can and limit the spread of the fire."

See said the firefighting work done in the area in 2017 was still helping fire crews today.

"We are actually utilizing some of those control lines on the outer edge to fight this fire," he said. "This land has no fire history that's recorded. This is burning in the acreage that we saved in 2017. So when it came over the ridge into Sonoma County, into Santa Rosa, this is all unburned vegetation that did not burn in 2017. It's created a problem for the firefighters."

FIRE EVACUATION MAPS: Sonoma County | Napa County

The randomness of destruction also has not been lost on the thousands of residents who were forced to flee their homes as the fire hop-scotched its way to Santa Rosa from the Napa-Sonoma County line.

The Shady Fire roared to life to the west of St. Helena hours after the Glass Fire was already burning homes, damaging or destroying wineries and sending hundreds fleeing its path on Sunday. It has since been folded into the Glass Fire as part of a wildfire complex that also includes the much smaller Boysen Fire.

Evacuation Order Information:

There were no new evacuation orders issued in Sonoma County overnight as winds began to calm and humidity levels rose. A Red Flag warning for the region expired late Monday night.

"No new evacuation orders overnight," the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department posted on its Facebook page Tuesday morning. "Considering the way the first day went, that's nothing short of a miracle. There's still plenty of burning occurring, so were not out of the woods yet. This is the first time in our recent fire history we've had a good night this early into the disaster."

During the chaotic hours Monday with the fire raging, burning homes, deputies raced through neighborhoods with explosions echoing from the burning structures.

"While our deputies evacuated the neighborhoods around the fire, the sounds of propane tanks exploding were a regular occurrence," the post read. "More often the explosions were the BBQ sized tanks; not the larger residential tanks. An explosion is an explosion, though, and all explosions can send deadly shrapnel through the air."

The post also contained a photo of a fire whirl -- also known as a firenado -- during the height of the firefight.

Officials said at least 68,000 Sonoma County residents had been evacuated from their homes on Sunday and Monday. On Tuesday, fire crews were attacking blaze with the help of air support in Annadel State Park in Santa Rosa.

Evacuation Order Information:

On Monday, Sonoma County Sheriff's Sgt. Juan Valencia said deputies were forced to stage rescues during on Monday along Los Alamos Road after residents initially refused to evacuate.

"We want to remind people when you get the Nixel (alert) and you hear that high low siren and you get the knock on the door, deputies or law enforcement officers telling you its time to leave -- it's time to leave," he said during a Zoom news conference. "Unfortunately, we did have some people that stayed behind and might have been burned in some areas."

"It's better that they leave that way we can sit there and do our jobs and not have to go back and rescue people which deputies had to do last," he added. "They were going back up to Los Alamos Road after people were refusing to leave and rescuing people out of their homes."

As of early Tuesday morning, officials have not released any information about injuries or deaths in the Shady Fire portion of the Glass Complex fire.

But the scenes that unfolded in the Skyhawk neighborhood early Monday have become all too familiar to wine country residents over the last five years.

The fire has come over the hills into the Sky Hawk and Oakmont areas," Santa Rosa Assistant Fire Chief Paul Lowenthal told KPIX 5 Monday. "It's on both sides of Highway 12 to the east of Skyhawk...We evacuated 6,500 homes as quickly as possible."

The smoke, flames, blowing embers and frantic evacuations recalled memories for many Santa Rosa residents of the 2017 Tubbs Fire. The October blaze burned 36,810 acres, destroyed entire neighborhoods and claimed at least 22 lives in Sonoma County.

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