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Rumors spread faster than the Nuns Fire

Brandon McCapes, Deputy News Editor

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Fueled by social media and word-of-mouth, rumors have been spreading through fire-swept Sonoma County, prompting traffic jams and hysteria.

Misinformation regarding the threat of fire to specific regions and the severity of damage caused unnecessary traffic jams in Santa Rosa’s Bennett Valley neighborhood Tuesday as thousands attempted to flee.

On Tuesday a Nixle report informed subscribers that police had implemented a mandatory evacuation for Bennett Valley Rd., Sonoma Mountain Rd. and Bennett Ridge Rd.

Shortly after the evacuation notice, bumper-to-bumper traffic clogged up all major roadways out of Southeast Santa Rosa, although firefighters confirmed no evacuation notice had been issued for the area.

Former Santa Rosa Junior College student and Kenwood resident Ariana Sanchez, 23, said, “I heard that the Nuns fire had gone from Kenwood into Oakmont and that it took out Spring Lake and was coming over the back end of that hill into Bennett Valley.”

Sanchez said, “With Bennett Valley, people were saying that there’s a mandatory evacuation. Then I get the Nixle report that says it’s advisory. I’m just getting a lot of hearsay.”

Spotty internet and cellular access have also limited the public’s ability to access up-to-date information.

SRJC student and Bennett Valley resident Claire Peyton, 27, heard many reports of non-existent fires and exaggerated damage.

“Honestly, at this point I’m treating everything as rumor, except the news, and they’ve been saying the same thing,” Peyton said. “We have no new information.”

“I heard that all the animals had been let loose out of Safari West. Someone even told me all of Larkfield had been leveled and that’s just not true, there is stuff there; we just don’t know what. I heard that Kenwood was gone, that Glen Ellen was burned down.”

Glen Ellen and Kenwood have sustained damage and lost homes but much of the towns remain in tact.

Safari West confirmed that no animals had escaped the fences and a Nixle report debunked the rumor of a fire at Spring Lake.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Rumors spread faster than the Nuns Fire”

  1. Elaine Lowell on October 12th, 2017 8:34 am

    Does anyone have any information on Glen Ellen Estates? Can’t seem to find anything on this community.

    [Reply]

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Rumors spread faster than the Nuns Fire