Valley Fire in Lake County

Valley Fire in Lake County

By now you have likely heard about the devastating Valley Fire in Lake County, a neighboring county about an hour from where I live in Sonoma Valley.

What began as a laid-back weekend for us quickly turned into a whirlwind Saturday afternoon when my husband was called out to help fight the fire. He got word that a fast-moving wild land fire had started and four firefighters had been burned and required hospitalization.

Since details are constantly changing and accessible online, I thought I would skip them and instead share some images with you that my husband took from the front lines .

When I first saw this photo, my stomach dropped. I have seen this sign, know where it is (was) and seeing it ablaze was disturbing and gut-wrenching.


You may have seen this image elsewhere. It has made the rounds and even ended up on CNN late Saturday night which was a bit of fun news to pass along to my husband.


Bill was stationed in Middletown that afternoon and throughout the night. He continued to periodically sent videos and photos to me which encouraged me to stay awake into the early morning Sunday. I watched the news online, waited for communication from him, and worried, of course. I try not to worry but it’s next to impossible.




The next morning, daylight revealed the massive destruction. Here are more images, taken Sunday morning in Middletown.


This was once a two-story, three building apartment building.

Valley Fire Middletown Apartments

Valley Fire



There were some positive images too. During the night, my husband and his crew were able to save some homes in this neighborhood. Notice the home burned to the ground between two homes that are still standing. I don’t know much about firefighting but my guess is that it took a lot of skill and a lot of effort to save those two houses in those windy, treacherous conditions. I am so proud of my husband and his crew.


Another positive image showed up on the Press Democrat website last night. A young girl thanked firefighters, including my husband on the right, with a grateful hug.

Bill Shubin

If you would like to help those impacted by the Valley Fire, visit the Redwood Credit Union site and make a donation. Or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.


If you are local, there are donation sites throughout the area. Sonoma Market and Glen Ellen Market are both taking non-perishable food, diapers, pet food, towels, blankets, batteries, toiletries, etc.


And my friend, Letitia of ARS Roofing has organized a huge collection at her office in Santa Rosa. Visit her Facebook page to get more details.

When disasters like this hit close to home it puts things in perspective and makes you see things with better clarity. It’s made me incredibly grateful for the things I often take for granted like a roof over my head, safe and healthy family, friends and pets, a cozy bed and hot meal. I do hope it won’t be too long before those displaced can once again enjoy those little things that really aren’t so little at all.

Make it a rich day ~




  1. September 14, 2015 / 11:28 am

    Hi there,
    I am a producer at ABC7 News/KGO in San Francisco. We are so very sorry about what’s happening in Napa and Lake Counties. As you know, your husband’s photo of the Middletown sign has gone viral. It took us a while to trace it back to you and we would love to air it in our newscasts and post it on our website and social media pages with your permission.
    Could we use some of your other photos, as well?

    • Adrienne Shubin
      September 14, 2015 / 11:46 am

      Hi Heather,

      Thank you so much for asking permission and taking the time to track down the source of that photo. Yes, you you have my permission to use my photos on this blog post.


      • September 14, 2015 / 11:52 am

        Thank you, Adrienne. And give our thanks to your husband — one bright spot is seeing the bravery of those who put their lives on the line for so many others.

  2. Linda Salazar
    September 14, 2015 / 5:59 pm


    I just saw the horrifying fire footage on the NBC news…I heard half of Middletown’s homes have been wiped out. I hope that they can get this fire under control before it gets to any more more populated areas, but it sounds like it’s going to take quite a bit of effort. Poor Bill and all of those firefighters…they are so brave. I love the photo of the girl hugging them! That probably made their day.

    I’m going to make a donation to the Red Cross tonight.


  3. September 15, 2015 / 1:04 pm

    We hear about these fires here in Europe and see footage of fires all along. But these pictures depict the tragedy a lot better.
    I hope the fires will go out and that your husband and his fellow fire fighters will come home safe and sound to their families!
    All the very best to all of you! 🙂

  4. September 15, 2015 / 10:52 pm

    The wildfires have been so devastating all along the West Coast this year. Your husband does such important work – and you are so brave to send him off and try not to worry. I’m hoping that cooler temperatures and some rain will give everyone a break.

  5. September 16, 2015 / 1:35 am

    I still can’t believe how bad this Valley Fire is and HUGE thanks to Bill and all the firefighters. When my mom told me about it and seeing the black smoke come over to Ukiah Saturday night it was so scary. And then I actually saw your pic first of the burning Middletown sign (before I knew it was your pic) and couldn’t believe it! 🙁 We used to go to Konocti every summer growing up and just seeing so much of Lake County burn is so sad for their community. Hopefully it’s out soon. Thanks for posting all of this and crazy to see your pic up on CNN.


  6. Kathy
    September 16, 2015 / 8:02 pm

    A bright side effect that a photo that Bill took went viral. The photos are so upsetting though, particularly the ones that show the devastation during the day. I know you try not to worry, but of course that’s virtually impossible. Bill does amazing work, and I feel grateful for him and all of the firefighters out there working in such difficult conditions to save lives and homes.

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