County of Marin - News Releases - Wildfire Assistance

For Immediate Release
October 15, 2017

Wildfire Evacuation Shelter Continues in Marin

Shift in shelter management and locations will aid evacuee transition home

San Rafael, CA (9:45AM) –  After a week of providing hundreds of evacuees’ refuge from the series of wildfires in Sonoma and Napa Counties, the County of Marin is working with American Red Cross to give those displaced continued access to a safe place to stay while mandatory evacuation orders remain in place.

Yesterday, October 14, Red Cross opened a second shelter at The Seminary at Strawberry (201 Seminary Drive, Mill Valley, CA). The space, provided by North Coast Landholdings, was opened to provide adequate shelter space in response to additional evacuations in Santa Rosa and parts of Sonoma County this morning.

“At the request of Marin County officials, we are providing space and facilities at the Seminary in Strawberry to help shelter fire evacuees,” said Charles Goodyear, a spokesperson for North Coast, owner of the Seminary property. “Our thoughts and sympathies are with the victims and we join with everyone in hoping for the fastest resolution possible to this crisis.”

Starting today, the Seminary shelter will become the primary wildfire evacuee shelter in Marin County.  Red Cross will assume management of shelter operations, working alongside the County of Marin in helping Napa and Sonoma Fire evacuees transition home and back to normal life.  

With Sonoma County establishing a Local Assistance Center and other resources for evacuees, in concert with a declining overnight shelter population, shelter services at Marin Center Exhibit Hall will cease Monday evening.

Due to the extraordinary demand for shelters throughout Napa and Sonoma, stretched resources prevented American Red Cross from opening a shelter in Marin when a series of wildfire evacuations took place earlier this week.  The County of Marin filled the gap by designating the Marin Center Exhibit Hall as a temporary evacuation center shelter. The County has managed shelter operations continuously since Monday, Oct. 9, housing anywhere from 300 to 525 people per night.  

The American Red Cross has brought in resources from around the country to help with North Bay Wildfire recovery efforts and is prepared to assume management of the main evacuee shelter in Marin County. The American Red Cross is in the business of managing evacuation shelters and aiding disaster victims in transitioning back to normal life.

 “Considering the urgency of the situation, it made sense for us to fill this necessity for our neighbors in need,” said Matthew Hymel, County Administrator.  “However, Red Cross is best suited to step-in and oversee this process moving forward.”

 Both County of Marin and American Red Cross will work with the evacuees of Napa and Sonoma during this transition to support them in this time of need and to help develop a plan to return home as its determined to be safe for residents to return.  

Despite this shift in shelter management, The County of Marin continues to work in close collaboration with the Counties of Sonoma and Napa on contingency plans and back-up shelter options should additional wildfire evacuations occur.

No donations or volunteers are needed at the Seminary shelter site. American Red Cross is fully staffed and has resources in place to support this shelter. There is no space to accommodate donations.  Please do not bring donations to the shelter or self-deploy to Seminary as a volunteer.  

For the latest updates on County of Marin’s response to the Napa and Sonoma fires, follow us on twitter at @MarinGov, or visit the County’s website at In addition, Marin residents can sign up for emergency alerts from the County for future disasters and emergencies at


County of Marin

Marin County Civic Center
3501 Civic Center Drive
San Rafael, CA 94903