October 2017 Wildfires

Last October

City Employees, Leaders Reflect on 2017 Wildfires in Documentary

Last October
is a 50-minute documentary film that captures experiences during and following the Sonoma Complex Fires from the perspective of several current and former City employees and officials who served as first responders, disaster service workers, and community leaders. These individuals recount both their professional and personal experiences, the critical participation of mutual aid agencies, and the overwhelming selfless support and heroism of the community during and following one of the most destructive wildfires in state history. The film provides a firsthand glimpse into the breadth of the City’s response and what it was like to work as a public servant during the fires, such as a recreation employee operating an emergency shelter, a City mechanic hearing of the loss of his own house while working to keep public safety vehicles in service, a CityBus worker transporting evacuees, police officers and firefighters on the front lines, and more. In many instances, employees reported to duty not yet knowing the fate of their own homes or of their families who were evacuated.

Read full press release from August 22, 2019

Upcoming FREE public screening events

 September 5, 2019 at 6:30 p.m.

Finley Recreation Complex, 2060 West College Avenue, Santa Rosa

Screening of the film will take place in conjunction with a special art reception that kicks off opening of a new temporary exhibit — Sonoma County Residents Reflect on the 2017 Northern California Wildfires — featuring the art works of nearly 100 Sonoma County artists of all ages and experience levels. The exhibit will be on display through October 10, 2019.
5:00 to 7:30 p.m. Drop-in public art exhibit reception in the Person Senior Wing
6:30 p.m. Film screening in the adjacent Person Auditorium 

September 12, 2019 at 6:00 p.m.
Third Street Cinemas, 620 Third Street, Santa Rosa
Presented in partnership with Santa Rosa Cinemas 

September 17, 2019 at 6:00 p.m.
City Hall Council Chambers, 100 Santa Rosa Avenue, Santa Rosa
Screening of film will take place in conjunction with the art exhibit Sketching Fire Stories on display at City Hall thru October 3, 2019. Sketching Fire Stories is a year-long project of watercolor sketches that tell compelling stories of destruction and recovery in the aftermath of the October 2017 wildfires. The sketches were done on location by Susan Cornelis, Carole Flaherty, and others.

Partnering with Sonoma Community Resilience Collaborative for screening events

The City is pleased to partner with the Sonoma Community Resilience Collaborative who will have trained representatives lead attendees through a closing breathing exercise at the end of each film screening event to help process the experience.

About the Sonoma Community Resilience 
Spearheaded by Santa Rosa Community Health, the Collaborative is working in partnership across our community and with The Center for Mind-Body Medicine, whose curriculum is the foundation for the program. The vision for the Collaborative is to develop our local capacity for healing, empower lay people with comprehensive tools, build the social connections that are the predictor of community resilience, and prevent the progression of stress and trauma into more serious social, mental, and physical impacts. The Collaborative offers free workshops for community member where attendees will experience evidence-based self-care tools for effectively addressing personal and professional stress after the fires, network with peers, and learn an evidence-based model to self-healing and coping skills. Learn more at